Keith Chaikin, the general manager of Advantage Nissan in Westbury,...

Keith Chaikin, the general manager of Advantage Nissan in Westbury, stands near the only remaining 2011 Nissan Rogue on the lot. Chaikin says he can’t get enough of the SUVs. (Nov. 30, 2011) Credit: Chris Ware

Japanese carmakers lost 5 percentage points of their once commanding share of the Long Island new-vehicle market in the year ended in September, as Detroit and Korean models won converts and Honda and Toyota dealers continued to struggle with shortages of some models.

At least temporarily, Honda lost its title in September as Long Island's favorite brand -- to Nissan, according to new figures from the automotive data company R.L. Polk & Co. "We quite simply didn't have the product," said owner Lee Certilman of Nardy Honda in St. James.

Japan's share of the local market slipped from 51 percent to 46 percent.

Detroit-based carmakers enjoyed a collective 30 percent increase in September registrations on Long Island. Ford led the way, with a 39 percent increase, followed by Chevrolet with a 28 percent jump and, with smaller volumes, Dodge and Chrysler with increases of 61 percent and 14 percent, respectively.

European brands gained by 4.3 percent on Long Island in September from a year earlier, as a decline by Mercedes-Benz was more than made up for by a 65 percent increase in deliveries of Volkswagens and smaller increases in BMW and Audi registrations.

In all, registrations of new cars and trucks climbed about 9 percent in September from a year ago. They had been trailing year-ago levels since April, the month after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan disrupted production there of vehicles and parts, including many components used in Japanese models built here. Both Honda and Toyota had said manufacturing had returned to normal in September, but in October flooding in Thailand impaired the flow of some components.

The loss of share by the Japanese came despite a 26 percent gain by Nissan. The company did well nationally, as well, during September, with sales up 28.2 percent. General manager Keith Chaikin at Advantage Nissan in Westbury said the Rogue SUV was the single biggest factor in a 10 percent increase in his sales in September. It has surpassed the Altima as his biggest seller. "I can't even get enough of them right now," he said.

Honda's registrations fell by 6.7 percent locally in September, and Certilman doesn't expect full recovery in his inventories and sales until early February. Toyota's decline on Long Island in September was even sharper: 24 percent. Toyota reported sales nationally in October down almost 7 percent, but, locally, general manager Lenny Cafarelli of Huntington Toyota/Scion said his inventory and sales are fully recovered, with sales up 20 percent in November from a year ago. "We'll be up another 20 percent in December," he predicted.

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