Honda finished the year with solid sales in December, although the company reported its total sales for 2018 were down slightly compared to the previous year.
The auto maker reported its combined car and truck sales were up about 4 percent last month compared to November, and when compared to December 2017. The company also said its sales for the full year are down about 2 percent compared to 2017, although the company hit an all-time sales record that year.
Honda reported truck sales set new monthly and annual records, and said sales of the Honda CR-V sport utility vehicle were up 13 percent compared to November. The auto maker sold a total of 875,430 trucks and SUVs for the year, up 4.2 percent compared to the previous year.
The company’s domestic sedan sales, including both the Honda and Acura Divisions, were down 12 percent compared to 2017.
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“In 2018, we took advantage of the continued consumer shift toward light-trucks, contributing to another record year for our Honda and Acura light-truck businesses,” said Henio Arcangeli Jr., senior vice president of the American Honda Automobile Division in a news release.
Honda is a major employer in the region. About 1,400 workers from Clark and Champaign counties work for the automaker, and it employs about approximately 14,500 Ohioans overall.
Some of the highlights included in the latest sales figures showed sales of the Accord Sedan, assembled in Marysville, jumped nearly 30 percent from November to December, on sales of 28,627 cars. For the year, Accord sales were down about 10 percent compared to 2017.
The company also reported its strong truck figures were led by solid CR-V sales, which set an all-time monthly record in December on sales of about 42,100 vehicles.
Shoppers are less interested in sedans than in past years. But that segment still makes up about a third of all automotive customers, said Jeremy Acevedo, an analyst for Edmunds, a car shopping and information website. He said that may present an opportunity to gain market share for companies like Honda that have remained committed to that segment.
Ford announced last year it will wind down production of its sedans, except for the Mustang and Focus Active, a crossover. General Motors has also said it will end production of six sedans by the end of 2019 including the Chevy Cruze.
This news organization reported late last year that decision means GM will close production of the Cruze at its Lordstown plant in Northeast Ohio, a move that could impact thousands of workers.
“There is an opportunity in 2019 for Honda to start picking up market share from other auto makers,” Acevedo said.
Acedevo said about 17.2 million vehicles were sold in 2018, and that figure will likely dip slightly to about 16.9 million vehicles in 2019. But he said Honda may fare better than some of its competitors because it has not relied on sales to rental companies and because the company has adjusted well to increasing demand of trucks and SUVs.
“Honda does have the opportunity to buck that trend a little bit,” Acevedo said of an expected dip in sales.