Toyota, Honda U.S. sales fall in November

The front grille (L) and rear tail light (R) of the new Honda Civic is seen on a dealer’s lot in Silver Spring, Maryland U.S. June 1, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

(Reuters) – Sales of new Toyota and Honda cars in the United States both fell in November, the Japanese carmakers said on Monday, pointing to an overall dip in U.S. industry numbers last month in the face of rising car prices and interest rates.

Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) sales, which rose 1.4 percent in October, fell about 0.6 percent to 190,423 units last month, due to decreased demand for its Prius and Camry sedans, the company said.

Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T) said its sales fell 9.5 percent to 120,534 vehicles, more than doubling the pace of decline as it was hurt by lower volumes on passenger cars like its Civic.

Overall U.S. car sales dipped 2 percent last year from a record high of 17.55 million in 2016 and are expected to decline further in 2018. However, a fall in November would be the first since 2009 in a month when dealers traditionally offer deals to clear stock ahead of the new year.

Industry watchers have said that interest in replacing older cars is finally waning after nearly a decade of robust new car sales while rising interest rates and trade tariffs have pushed up the costs of buying.

There was progress in talks with China this weekend, but President Donald Trump has still threatened to impose a broad 25 percent tax on cars imported into the United States, potentially inflating prices further.

To make up for slowing sales, automakers have cut jobs and curtailed production of traditional passenger cars, while gradually moving to larger SUVs and trucks, which tend to be more profitable.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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