According to the American Honda Motor Company, sales for the Japanese-based automaker improved 7.4 percent in April compared to same month last year. The improvement included boosts in sales for the Odyssey minivan, Pilot SUV and Ridgeline pickup truck, all produced exclusively at the Honda Manufacturing Plant in Lincoln. The growing sales are part of general trend of steady improvement for the auto industry that is expected to continue through the year, analysts say.
The sales numbers show Honda sold 11,832 Odysseys in April, a 12 percent increase from the same month last year. Honda also sold 10,613 Pilots, a 20.2 percent increase. Sales of the Ridgeline totaled 1,557, a 47.6 percent increase from April last year.
"It's just kind of in line with the industry," Bill Visnic, analyst and senior editor for Edmunds.com, said of Honda sales. "April is kind of a set up month for the industry."
Visnic said Honda sales will likely stay steady throughout the coming months, but no large increases like it and the rest of the auto industry experienced last year.
"I'm projecting the sales they'll see will be more in line with the overall industry," Visnic said. "We're seeing a little bit of a plateau of what we saw pulling out of the recession in 2011 and 2012."
Dennis Virag, auto industry analyst with the Automotive Consulting Group, agreed.
"Yeah, they're pretty much in line with the rest of the industry," Virag said. "I see a steady increase for the industry through 2013."
The three locally-made models have had some fluctuating sales the last few months though total sales for Honda have increased. For instance, Ridgeline sales decreased 5 percent in February compared to the same month last year while in March, the Odyssey experienced a 2.4 percent decrease in sales.
Visnic said the Ridgeline's big boost in sales last month might be due to special deals or to the lack of small pickup models offered by competitors.
"Ridgeline is maybe starting to pick up some buyers from people who don't want a full-sized pickup truck model," Visnic said. "A couple of Nissan and Toyota models are really your only other choices in that category."
Visnic said that the Odyssey's struggling sales numbers in recent months are due to waning interest in the minivan category.
"There are interesting three-row crossovers now that sort of do the same thing," Visnic said. "While the Odyssey's numbers were up in April, the raw numbers overall for that segment are sort of dwindling."
Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.