Meantime, rubbing salt into an open wound, Asian manufacturers not only topped their US rivals quantity-wise, they also swept the board on quality criteria, according to the Consumers Union annual Auto Report.
General Motors and Ford Motor Company each reported lower US sales in February, down year-on-year by 2.5% and 4% respectively.
But there was some consolation for GM as its big SUVs - notably the recently-launched Chevrolet Tahoe, the Cadillac Escalade and the Hummer H3 - all recorded robust sales.
Preliminary estimates show total US car and light truck sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual 16.8 million vehicles last month, from 16.3m in February 2005.
The report ranked performance, comfort, safety and fuel economy - basing these on tests of over two hundred models. In all ten vehicle categories Japanese cars topped the list.
Honda is the report's first choice for low and mid-priced cars and minivans, also for pick-up trucks, a segment previously dominated by the three Detroit carmakers.
Honda's luxury brand, Acura, is ranked top among cars priced between $30,000 and $40,000, while the remaining six categories are shared by Toyota, Subaru and Nissan's luxury Infiniti marque. Among the larger SUVs, Toyota's Highlander hybrid won the day.
Honda, meantime, is planning to expand its North American production by 10% in the hope of averting political fallout blaming Japanese automakers for the woes of the indigenous industry. The company attributes its failure to meet the 80% local production target to the success of its latest Civic range - all imported from Japan.
Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff