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    Subcompact Sales Slide Despite High Gas Prices


    By William Maley

    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com

    April 16, 2013

    With gas prices on the rise, you would think sales of subcompact vehicles would also be rising? No. Wards Auto reports that subcompact sales are off since October, even though the price of a gallon of gas is rising and holding steady at $3.50 to $4.00 across the country.

    So why the drop off in subcompacts? Wards has a couple ideas to explain this. For one, the reason might lie in the boom/bust cycle that comes as a result of new or aging models in each segment. For example, the large crossover class are up a whopping 61% in the same time frame, thanks in part to new models and derivatives. But as Wards points out, most of the subcompact lineup are only two years old or less.

    The more likely reason for the drop off may have to deal with compact cars getting the same fuel economy as subcompacts. Also the difference in price between compacts and subcompacts isn't really there.

    Source: Wards Auto

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    I agree with the compacts getting the same as subcompact gas mileage, but even more is the fact that subcompacts really only meet the needs of a small group of people. As you have a bigger person, they are less likely to buy a subcompact. For me being 6'6" tall I will never have anything below mid size CUV at worst.

    More people now than before are not able to be comfortable in compact or especially subcompact. You can only get so many stuffed like sardines into a subcompact.

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    Too small, too noisy. I can't stand cramped, noisy 4 cyl cars. I try and avoid anything smaller than a midsize in a rental, would never buy a FWD compact or subcompact appliance.

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    From what I can find, the bulk of mini buyers are repeat customers, they have a very low conquest rate of new buyers. I think this trend will continue with the subcompact market. Once you meet the needs of those that can only think sardine in a noisy can work transportation, you have to expect fall off.

    The SubCompact market has been saturated and while there are many high quality auto's out there, I really do not see much future growth for this segment compared to Compact and mid size especially when you have new Hybrid and alternative energy powertrains coming online.

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    Interesting as I would think this segment has been the fastest growing as far as # of models available the last 5 years, at least in North America. Even Buick has one.

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    I have heard the same thing time and again. "I bought such and such little car as a knee jerk reaction to high gas prices but nothing fits in the trunk, it is too small and cramped inside and it's noisy." I hate little cars with a passion. If my legs and knees are smashed up against the center console or door panels that automatically puts it off my purchase list.

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    Exactly, spend all that money for an uncomfortable ride. Quality of Life, Safety and common sense needs to come before the knee jerk reaction of just buying small or subcompact small.

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    Well, I'm not sure about the other sub-compacts, but I wouldn't consider the ride of the Sonic to be uncomfortable, nor would it be unsafe (they are incredibly safe cars)

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    Americans like bigger cars. And, while they are not totally oblivious to fuel economy, that was never and is still not their top priority when shopping for a vehicle. One or two mpg doesn't register as a big reason to choose one model over another. Quite honestly, they are much more likely swayed by a nice alloy wheel design or rear seat headroom than a couple of MPGs. This is especially so with mid-size cars posting more than decent 34~35 mpg highway numbers. There is very little reason to spring for that 38 or 40 mpg sub-compact to save $40 on the annual gas tab -- quite honestly it is immaterial to most people.

    Sure there are those who drink the global warming coolaid or think it's cool to be seen as "green". But those buy Priuses and Model Ses, they don't shop for Sonics or Versas. Those who are REALLY on a tight budget -- one tight enough that $40 matters -- buy $3000 10 year old vehicles. That $15K they saved is much more than enough to make up for the gas savings or increased maintenance. 90% of the aerodynamic drag of any subsonic object is in the ass -- it comes from the low pressure and turbulent volume of air behind it sucking at its stern. The more distance you have to gradually "collapse" the displaced air stream the better your aerodynamic co-efficient is going to be.

    Also, let me let you in on a little secret... Sub-compacts tend to not deliver as much additional fuel economy as their downsizing and weight reductions seem to suggest. The reason is simple... all else being similar, long cars are more aerodynamically efficient than short cars.

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    Exactly, Dwightlooi. I have never, for the life of me, understood why anyone would settle for a subcompact car in the USA ever. There is no point, especially since a three year old used midsize car could handle that and you save yourself a lot of tiny car hassle. BTW, what are the fuel savings of a Chevy Spark vs a Sonic anyways? They don't seem large enough to justify going subcompact. Dropping from a large truck to a midsize CUV or sedan makes far more sense at every level. Subcompacts, no. I am very pleased that customers are increasingly rejecting the false choice that is the subcompact car.

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    Well, part of the problem is, the manufacturers don't seem to put their best technology into their smallest cars.

    Interested in seeing the mileage figures for the 2014 Spark with CVT over the current, outdated 4 speed auto.

    Wish GM would put a 6-speed manual in the car as an alternative to an auto.

    I found my Fiesta to be a perfectly fine small car to drive. All it needed was a 6th gear for more relaxed highway cruising. And it was plenty roomy for me.

    This Beetle suits me to a T (Di). It has plenty of power when I want it, and great economy when I need it. A big part of the entertainment of driving it (aside from that hard to quantify VW "feel") is watching the numbers tumble so far forward on the "average consumption" readout on the dash. It definitely does not feel cheap or compromised in any way to achieve such high MPG.

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    Ocnblu everything will be roomy for a tiny guy like you. For most people subcompact is a no go from the start and I think this market is over built and over hyped. Sweet point is the compact to mid size market for the US. Still I would want GM to have quality products at every sales point.

    I think the subcompacts could really have gone with far superior power-trains. I think they could have done a crazy high mileage diesel as well as a Hybrid. CNG should also be done.

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    every day on the interstate on my daily drive I see quite a few Fiestas lately. I know the basic model Fiestas have been selling quite cheap. I don't know what the real world Fiesta mpg is, but I doubt it's way higher than the Focus. Makes me think though with seeing so many lately that the gas + price of car total cost must be getting cheap on those.

    Fiesta could use a small tiny turbo diesel, like a 1.2l 3 or something. I bet eye popping mpg would commence.

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      Cadillac - Down 8.6% (10,823 Vehicles Sold This Month, 21,121 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Chevrolet - Up 3.4% (164,095 Vehicles Sold This Month, 299,265 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Chrysler - Down 28% (16,730 Vehicles Sold This Month, 30,107 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Dodge - Down 7% (43,878 Vehicles Sold This Month, 83,987 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Fiat - Down 19% (2,145 Vehicles Sold This Month, 4,309 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Ford - Down 4.5% (199,696 Vehicles Sold This Month, 363,523 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Genesis - 
      GMC - Up 17.2% (46,339 Vehicles Sold This Month, 83,663 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Honda - Up 4.3% (110,822 Vehicles Sold This Month, 208,000 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Hyundai - 
      Infiniti - Up 32.5% (13,737 Vehicles Sold This Month, 25,295 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jaguar - Up 130.4% (3,484 Vehicles Sold This Month, 6,423 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jeep - Down 15% (62,345 Vehicles Sold This Month, 120,760 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Kia - Down 14.2% (42,673 Vehicles Sold This Month, 78,299 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Land Rover - Down 10.4% (5,747 Vehicles Sold This Month, 11,910 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Lexus - Down 20.6% (18,338 Vehicles Sold This Month, 33.910 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Lincoln - Up 8.8% (8,744 Vehicles Sold This Month, 17,529 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Maserati - Up 49% (1,087 Vehicles Sold This Month, 26,942 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mazda - Up 5.9% (22,824 Vehicles Sold This Month, 44,522 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz - Up 6.9% (24,522 Vehicles Sold This Month, 50,049 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz Vans - Up 10.8% (2,513 Vehicles Sold This Month, 4,562 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      MINI - Down 24.1% (2,154 Vehicles Sold This Month, 5,264 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mitsubishi - Up 38.8% (10,924 Vehicles Sold This Month, 17,381 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Nissan - Up 1.2% (122,003 Vehicles Sold This Month, 222,764 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Porsche - Up 2.1% (3,637 Vehicles Sold This Month, 8,239 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Ram Trucks - Up 4% (42,785 Vehicles Sold This Month, 80,830 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Smart - Down 17.5% (348 Vehicles Sold This Month, 672 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Subaru - Up 8.3% (45,500 Vehicles Sold This Month, 89,379 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Toyota - Up 5.4% (156,001 Vehicles Sold This Month, 283,447 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volkswagen - Up 12.65% (25,145 Vehicles Sold This Month, 48,655 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volvo - Down 11.6% (4,651 Vehicles Sold This Month, 8,123 Vehicles Sold This Year)

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Maserati North America, Inc. - Up 49% (1,087 Vehicles Sold This Month, 26,942 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mitsubishi Motors North America - Up 38.8% (10,924 Vehicles Sold This Month, 17,381 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Audi of America - Up 17.3% (9,102 Vehicles Sold This Month, 26,942 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jaguar Land Rover North America - Up 16.4% (9,231 Vehicles Sold This Month, 18,333 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volkswagen of America - Up 12.65% (25,145 Vehicles Sold This Month, 48,655 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Subaru of America, Inc. - Up 8.3% (45,500 Vehicles Sold This Month, 89,379 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz USA - Up 6.8% (27,383 Vehicles Sold This Month, 55,283 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mazda North American Operations - Up 5.9% (22,824 Vehicles Sold This Month, 44,522 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      General Motors Co. - Up 4.2% (237,388 Vehicles Sold This Month, 433,297 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Nissan North America - Up 3.7% (135,740 Vehicles Sold This Month, 248,059 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      American Honda Motor Co. - Up 2.3% (121,686 Vehicles Sold This Month, 228,066 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Porsche Cars North America, Inc. - Up 2.1% (3,637 Vehicles Sold This Month, 8,239 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      BMW Group U.S. - Down 2.5% (208,440 Vehicles Sold This Month, 381,052 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Ford Motor Company - Down 4% (208,440 Vehicles Sold This Month, 381,052 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Toyota Motor North America - Down 7.2% (174,339 Vehicles Sold This Month, 317,387 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      FCA US LLC - Down 10% (168,326 Vehicles Sold This Month, 320,544 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volvo Cars of North America, LLC - Down 11.6% (4,651 Vehicles Sold This Month, 8,123 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Kia Motors America - Down 14.2% (42,673 Vehicles Sold This Month, 78,299 Vehicles Sold This Year)

      Hyundai Motor America - 

      Brands:
      Acura - Down 14.9% (10,864 Vehicles Sold This Month, 20,066 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Alfa Romeo - Up 843% (443 Vehicles Sold This Month, 551 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Audi - Up 17.3% (9,102 Vehicles Sold This Month, 26,942 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      BMW - Up 0.3% (22,558 Vehicles Sold This Month, 40,667 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Buick - Down 9.4% (16,131 Vehicles Sold This Month, 29,248 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Cadillac - Down 8.6% (10,823 Vehicles Sold This Month, 21,121 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Chevrolet - Up 3.4% (164,095 Vehicles Sold This Month, 299,265 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Chrysler - Down 28% (16,730 Vehicles Sold This Month, 30,107 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Dodge - Down 7% (43,878 Vehicles Sold This Month, 83,987 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Fiat - Down 19% (2,145 Vehicles Sold This Month, 4,309 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Ford - Down 4.5% (199,696 Vehicles Sold This Month, 363,523 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Genesis - 
      GMC - Up 17.2% (46,339 Vehicles Sold This Month, 83,663 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Honda - Up 4.3% (110,822 Vehicles Sold This Month, 208,000 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Hyundai - 
      Infiniti - Up 32.5% (13,737 Vehicles Sold This Month, 25,295 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jaguar - Up 130.4% (3,484 Vehicles Sold This Month, 6,423 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Jeep - Down 15% (62,345 Vehicles Sold This Month, 120,760 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Kia - Down 14.2% (42,673 Vehicles Sold This Month, 78,299 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Land Rover - Down 10.4% (5,747 Vehicles Sold This Month, 11,910 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Lexus - Down 20.6% (18,338 Vehicles Sold This Month, 33.910 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Lincoln - Up 8.8% (8,744 Vehicles Sold This Month, 17,529 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Maserati - Up 49% (1,087 Vehicles Sold This Month, 26,942 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mazda - Up 5.9% (22,824 Vehicles Sold This Month, 44,522 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz - Up 6.9% (24,522 Vehicles Sold This Month, 50,049 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mercedes-Benz Vans - Up 10.8% (2,513 Vehicles Sold This Month, 4,562 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      MINI - Down 24.1% (2,154 Vehicles Sold This Month, 5,264 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Mitsubishi - Up 38.8% (10,924 Vehicles Sold This Month, 17,381 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Nissan - Up 1.2% (122,003 Vehicles Sold This Month, 222,764 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Porsche - Up 2.1% (3,637 Vehicles Sold This Month, 8,239 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Ram Trucks - Up 4% (42,785 Vehicles Sold This Month, 80,830 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Smart - Down 17.5% (348 Vehicles Sold This Month, 672 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Subaru - Up 8.3% (45,500 Vehicles Sold This Month, 89,379 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Toyota - Up 5.4% (156,001 Vehicles Sold This Month, 283,447 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volkswagen - Up 12.65% (25,145 Vehicles Sold This Month, 48,655 Vehicles Sold This Year)
      Volvo - Down 11.6% (4,651 Vehicles Sold This Month, 8,123 Vehicles Sold This Year)
    • By William Maley
      February Brings More Sales Records for American Honda
      American Honda continues record pace in February for total vehicle and truck sales Honda CR-V raises the bar again, breaking February record with a 26.3 percent jump Honda HR-V also nets a February record, gaining 28.6 percent Acura RDX has its best-ever February, rising 6.1 percent as it continues to pace division TORRANCE, Calif., March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- American Honda Motor Co., Inc. today reported total February sales of 121,686 Honda and Acura vehicles, an increase of 2.3 percent over February 2016 and a new record for the month. American Honda trucks also set a February record, rising 12.2 percent on sales of 63,989. Total Honda Division sales as well as Honda truck sales also set new February marks, with total Honda Division sales gaining 4.3 percent on sales of 110,822 and trucks up 15.3 percent on sales of 56,419 units. Acura Division sales were down 14.9 percent, with 10,864 vehicles sold in February.
      Honda
      The Honda Division continued its record sales streak into the second month of the year, gaining 4.3 percent on sales of 110.882 units to set a new February benchmark. CR-V and HR-V repeated strong January performances, driving Honda trucks to a February record as well. The Fit also gained in February while Civic and Accord held their own in a market tilting toward trucks.
      Honda trucks set a new benchmark in February, gaining 15.3 percent on sales of 56,419. CR-V and HR-V drove truck sales, both setting new February marks; CR-V sales were up 26.3 percent on sales of 31,898, and HR-V up 28.6 percent with 6,354 units sold. Accord and Civic continue to swim against the tide, with sales cresting 23,000 and 27,000 units, respectively. "The new CR-V is exceeding our own expectations with production and deliveries now fully up to speed," said Jeff Conrad, senior vice president and general manager of the Honda Division. "It's clearly hitting a sweet spot in the market and complemented by HR-V at the entry level."
      Acura
      Acura sales continued recent trends, with the RDX enjoying its best-ever February. NSX also remained steady, showing no signs of the winter doldrums that can affect ultra-performance cars. And after a strong first outing at Daytona in January, the NSX GT3 racecar goes to the legendary 12 Hours of Sebring in search of endurance racing glory later this month. 
      Acura's popular RDX set a new February record, gaining 6.1 percent on sales of 4,029 vehicles. Continuing a steady production and sales pace, 46 NSX supercars were sold in February.   American Honda Vehicle Sales for February 2017
            Month-to-Date
      Year-to-Date
            February
      2017
      February
      2016
      DSR** %
      Change
      MoM %
      Change
      February
      2017
      February
      2016
      DSR** %
      Change
      YoY %
      Change
          American Honda Total
      121,686
      118,985
      2.3%
      2.3%
      228,066
      219,482
      3.9%
      3.9%
          Total Car Sales
      57,697
      61,950
      -6.9%
      -6.9%
      106,264
      116,332
      -8.7%
      -8.7%
          Total Truck Sales
      63,989
      57,035
      12.2%
      12.2%
      121,802
      103,150
      18.1%
      18.1%
            Honda Total Car Sales
      54,403
      57,267
      -5.0%
      -5.0%
      100,244
      108,079
      -7.2%
      -7.2%
            Honda Total Truck Sales
      56,419
      48,945
      15.3%
      15.3%
      107,756
      88,380
      21.9%
      21.9%
              Acura Total Car Sales
      3,294
      4,683
      -29.7%
      -29.7%
      6,020
      8,253
      -27.1%
      -27.1%
              Acura Total Truck Sales
      7,570
      8,090
      -6.4%
      -6.4%
      14,046
      14,770
      -4.9%
      -4.9%
          Total Domestic Car Sales
      46,581
      58,489
      -20.4%
      -20.4%
      85,936
      109,939
      -21.8%
      -21.8%
            Honda Division
      43,390
      53,909
      -19.5%
      -19.5%
      80,099
      101,887
      -21.4%
      -21.4%
            Acura Division
      3,191
      4,580
      -30.3%
      -30.3%
      5,837
      8,052
      -27.5%
      -27.5%
          Total Domestic Truck Sales
      63,989
      57,035
      12.2%
      12.2%
      121,802
      103,150
      18.1%
      18.1%
            Honda Division
      56,419
      48,945
      15.3%
      15.3%
      107,756
      88,380
      21.9%
      21.9%
            Acura Division
      7,570
      8,090
      -6.4%
      -6.4%
      14,046
      14,770
      -4.9%
      -4.9%
          Total Import Car Sales
      11,116
      3,461
      221.2%
      221.2%
      20,328
      6,393
      218.0%
      218.0%
            Honda Division
      11,013
      3,358
      228.0%
      228.0%
      20,145
      6,192
      225.3%
      225.3%
            Acura Division
      103
      103
      0.0%
      0.0%
      183
      201
      -9.0%
      -9.0%
          Total Import Truck Sales
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
            Honda Division
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
            Acura Division
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
           MODEL BREAKOUT BY DIVISION
                    Honda Division Total
      110,822
      106,212
      4.3%
      4.3%
      208,000
      196,459
      5.9%
      5.9%
            * ACCORD
      23,455
      25,785
      -9.0%
      -9.0%
      42,991
      46,550
      -7.6%
      -7.6%
            * CIVIC
      27,039
      27,707
      -2.4%
      -2.4%
      50,134
      54,448
      -7.9%
      -7.9%
            CLARITY FCV
      27
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
      69
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
            CR-Z
      118
      128
      -7.8%
      -7.8%
      207
      320
      -35.3%
      -35.3%
            * FIT
      3,764
      3,647
      3.2%
      3.2%
      6,842
      6,742
      1.5%
      1.5%
            INSIGHT
      0
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
      1
      19
      -94.7%
      -94.7%
                                      CROSSTOUR
      3
      190
      -98.4%
      -98.4%
      3
      456
      -99.3%
      -99.3%
            * CR-V
      31,898
      25,250
      26.3%
      26.3%
      61,185
      44,458
      37.6%
      37.6%
            HR-V
      6,354
      4,940
      28.6%
      28.6%
      12,043
      9,117
      32.1%
      32.1%
            ODYSSEY
      6,800
      8,994
      -24.4%
      -24.4%
      13,300
      16,215
      -18.0%
      -18.0%
            PILOT
      8,099
      9,572
      -15.4%
      -15.4%
      15,279
      18,133
      -15.7%
      -15.7%
            RIDGELINE
      3,265
      -1
      -326,600.0%
      -326,600.0%
      5,946
      1
      594,500.0%
      594,500.0%
                                      ***    Memo: Accord FHEV
      1,867
      68
      2,645.6%
      2,645.6%
      3,578
      139
      2,474.1%
      2,474.1%
                    Memo: Civic Hybrid
      8
      143
      -94.4%
      -94.4%
      24
      304
      -92.1%
      -92.1%
          Acura Division Total
      10,864
      12,773
      -14.9%
      -14.9%
      20,066
      23,023
      -12.8%
      -12.8%
            ILX
      739
      1,500
      -50.7%
      -50.7%
      1,432
      2,733
      -47.6%
      -47.6%
            NSX
      46
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
      96
      0
      0.0%
      0.0%
            RLX / RL
      103
      103
      0.0%
      0.0%
      183
      201
      -9.0%
      -9.0%
            TLX
      2,406
      3,080
      -21.9%
      -21.9%
      4,309
      5,319
      -19.0%
      -19.0%
                                      MDX
      3,541
      4,292
      -17.5%
      -17.5%
      6,815
      7,868
      -13.4%
      -13.4%
            RDX
      4,029
      3,798
      6.1%
      6.1%
      7,231
      6,902
      4.8%
      4.8%
                                      ***   Memo: RLX Hybrid
      27
      12
      125.0%
      125.0%
      38
      30
      26.7%
      26.7%
          Selling Days
      24
      24
          48
      48
                **** Hybrid
      2,066
      351
      488.6%
      488.6%
      3,944
      812
      385.7%
      385.7%
                *    Honda and Acura vehicles are made of domestic & global sourced parts
          **   Daily Selling Rate
          ***  Memo line items are included in the respective model total
          **** Hybrid includes FHEV, PHEV, CR-Z, Civic Hybrid, Insight, ILX Hybrid, RLX Hybrid, RLX Sport Hybrid, MDX Sport Hybrid and NSX
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