It's fitting that Honda's Facebook page is touting brand enthusiasts' stories, because the automaker is in the middle of its own comeback story. Yes, it finally seems good to be Honda again.
The brand posted April U.S. sales of 122,000 vehicles today, which was down by about 2 percent from a year ago in absolute-unit numbers. But on a "selling-day" average for the month, Honda sales were up 9 percent over a year ago.
Honda U.S. is now fully restocked with vehicles after last year's disasters, and many of its most important models are moving briskly again off of U.S. dealership floors. Even its long-suffering Acura luxury brand showed some spark during the month, with a 5-percent sales increase over last April.
Meanwhile, American Honda's Japanese parent has forecast record global sales of 4.3 million vehicles for this fiscal year. All of the numbers represent dimensions of the global company's nearly complete recovery from the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011.
The faster-than-expected regrowth of demand in the U.S. is in large part attributable to sales of Honda's remodelled CR-V crossover vehicle, which have jumped by about 24 percent year-to-date compared with last year's version. Even the Honda Accord — the staple of the brand's fleet but considered "old" by industry standards in its current design — sold 26 percent more units in April than a year earlier.
"The quality and value of the Honda Accord continues to win new customers even as we prepare to launch an all-new model this fall," John Mendel, American Honda's executive vice president of sales, said in a press release.
True, another Honda staple, the redesigned Civic, sold worse than last April, before the new version came out. That doesn't say much for one of the mainstays of its product lineup. But Honda has vowed to fix the new version by next year, way ahead of its initial plans for the model's next overhaul.
Acura had an even tougher time than Honda with last year's natural disasters, which also included floods at Honda facilities in Thailand. But Acura sales at least are flat with a year ago, and its all-new 2013 RDX crossover came fast out of the gate, sellilng 48 percent more than last April.
Meanwhile, Acura is preparing for a May 22 launch of its new ILX compact luxury sedan. Like the new Buick Verano and Lexus CT 200h hybrid, ILX represents a concept that is coming to be called "diminished luxury" in the industry — smaller cars with fine amenities but the smaller stature of less-expensive models
If ILX is a hit, it'll add more momentum to Honda's comeback story.