Honda’s US sales drop in its fiscal second quarter, global results for which were announced on Monday (31 October) was the “worst quarterly drop off we have on record” [back to 1991], according to analysts in Los Angeles. US sales in the quarter were off 20.8% to 252,355 units, according to their data.

The Civic redesigned for 2011 [panned by key critics such as Consumer Reports and popular consumer magazines – ed] has just had its worst quarter “in quite some time”, according to Edmunds. Numerous recent reports in the US have said Honda has pulled forward a mid-life refresh of its usually strong selling ‘compact’ (sold as a sedan and coupe in North America rather than the hatchback offered in Europe) to 2013 from the originally planned 2014.

“While Honda market share is down 2.3 percentage points since last year, the average transaction price for a Honda is up 5.8% and the average incentive on a Honda is down 11% year to date. This speaks to the inventory shortages the company has been experiencing since the earthquake,” Edmunds said. 

In the United States, tight inventories meant it took Honda a mere 40 days to sell a vehicle once it arrived at the dealer. Still, Honda didn’t have many vehicles to sell so sales were down nearly 21% at a time when US auto sales in total were up 6%. As a result, Honda dropped 2.7 percentage points of market share.”

“One of Honda’s venerable high-volume leaders along with the Accord, the so-called ‘new’ Civic has been highly criticised by the automotive media and did not make the cut as a candidate for the journalists-awarded North American Car of the Year honours,” noted senior analyst Michelle Krebs.