March 2011 was a solid month for sales of Nissan and Honda vehicles, but the same can't be said of fellow Japanese automaker Toyota. Both Toyota and Lexus recorded year-over-year sales decreases, with the only significant gains attributed to the Scion brand.
March was a record-breaking month for Nissan North America, with 121,141 vehicles sold in the U.S. making March 2011 the brand's best sales month ever. The prodigious sales were an increase of 26.9 percent year-over-year.
The Nissan division itself sold 109,854 units, up 28.4 percent over March 2010. Leading the charge was the Sentra, with sales of 17,851 representing a 104.7-percent jump year-over-year, while the Rogue crossover climbed 68.8 percent, to 14,174 monthly sales. At the other end of the spectrum, the Nissan Cube dropped 28 percent, to just 3035 sales, and Xterra sales fell 28.9 percent, to 1563. The Leaf sold 298 units, bringing the electric car's total U.S. sales to 452 vehicles.
Infiniti also enjoyed a sales boost, moving 11,287 cars, up 13.5 percent year-over-year. The G sedan and coupe continue to be the luxury brand's volume sellers - sedan sales rose 27.3 percent to 5119 cars, while 1890 G coupes were sold, an uptick of 14.5 percent. The EX crossover continues to trail in Infiniti's sales rankings, with just 603 leaving dealer lots last month, down 16.9 percent.
For the sixth straight month Honda sales increased by double-digit percentages. For March, that meant 121,039, up 20.7 percent year-over-year. As is typical, the big movers were the Accord, up 11.2 percent to 33,616 sales, the Civic, which climbed 33.8 percent to 31,213 sales, and the CR-V, which gained 42.7 percent to move 21,998 vehicles last month. Sales of the Odyssey, Pilot, and Ridgeline all dropped, finishing the month at 10,586, 9,608, and 1211 respectively.
Acura's gains were more measured, with a sales increase of 3.6 percent equating to 12,611 vehicles sold. The MDX remains the brand's top seller, climbing 20.7 percent to finish at 4113 sales. Next-best was the TL, although March numbers inched down 1.8 percent to 3995 cars. Wagon fans took home 388 copies of the new TSX wagon - but even that slow pace beats out the RL luxury sedan. Sales rose 17.6 percent, but still accounted for just 199 cars.
Toyota didn't fare as well, with overall sales slipping 10.1 percent from 2010 to 155,540 units. The Camry and Corolla sedans continued to lead the brand's figures, despite overall declines - Camry sales fell 16.4 percent to 31,464 cars, and Corolla sales dropped 1.7 percent to 30,234. The ever-popular RAV4 saw a 39.9-percent year-over-year decrease, accounting for 16,083 vehicle sales, while the Prius hybrid enjoyed a 52-percent sales jump, with 18,605 cars leaving showrooms in March.
Lexus sales took a smaller hit, dropping 1.5 percent year-over-year to 20,682. The hottest seller was the ES sedan, dropping 6.9 percent to 3732 units sold, while the IS sedans saw 2956 monthly sales in spite of a 9.3-percent year-over-year decline. Lexus's new CT200h compact hybrid moved 2199 cars during its first month on sale.
Scion was the only Toyota division to see sales gains, finishing March with 5540 sales, an increase of 57.8 percent. The charge was led by the new Scion tC, with 2841 sales representing a jump of 113.7 percent over March 2010. The xB climbed 16.4 percent, to 1970 cars, and the xD gained 37.4 percent to sell 1089.
Sources: Honda, Nissan, Toyota