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Toyota and Honda car sales fall in September as most rivals gain

October 3, 2011 | 11:17 am

Toyota Camry
Toyota and Honda, the two largest Japanese car brands in the United States, continue to suffer sales declines caused in part by supply disruptions caused by the earthquake that struck Japan in March.

Earthquake damage at auto parts factories slashed vehicle output at assembly plants in the U.S. as well as in Japan, and Toyota and Honda are only now putting those issues behind them.

Toyota said its U.S. sales fell 18% to 121,451 vehicles in September compared with the same month a year earlier.

"In September, production in both North America and Japan returned to normal levels for the first time since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Our plants are now working overtime and dealer deliveries will continue to increase through the remainder of 2011," said Bob Carter, Toyota Division group vice president and general manager.

American Honda Motor Co. said its sales fell 8% to 89,532 vehicles.

"Our U.S. manufacturing facilities are finally up to full production and the results are starting to show with increased CR-V, Pilot and Odyssey sales,” said John Mendel, American Honda executive vice president of sales. "Truckloads of new vehicles began arriving the last week of September."

Kia Motors America said it posted its best-ever September, with sales rising 18% to 35,609 vehicles. With year-to-date sales up 37%, Kia has topped its annual sales volume record in just nine months this year.

"Kia has become one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. ... It is the result of our dramatic brand transformation and our diverse lineup of stylish, well-appointed vehicles that offer modern technologies and outstanding fuel economy," said Byung Mo Ahn, president of the U.S. division of the South Korean auto company.

General Motors, Chrysler and Volkswagen reported earlier Monday that their U.S. sales soared last month. Ford's sales also rose in September.


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Photo: A 2012 Toyota Camry at a news conference in Dearborn, Mich. Credit: Andy Wong / Associated Press