By on October 6, 2011

We had midsized madness last month, as the Altima came within 500 units of unseating the mighty Camry and Sonata came within 500 units of sending the Accord tumbling further down the chart. Of the top ten best-sellers in the D-segment, only half beat their year-ago numbers, including Altima, Fusion, Impala, 200 and Optima. And though the YTD chart, which you can find in the gallery below, reflects the monthly sales order quite faithfully, it’s getting tighter… especially among the major players. Between the Malibu (171,266) and the Camry (229,521) there are six models in a 58,255-unit pack, and in September the Sonata pulled ahead of Malibu to snag fifth place. As we enter the fourth quarter, the competition is heating up…

 

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65 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: Midsized Sedans In September And Year-To-Date...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    With the Panther gone and the Impala producing 302 HP out of its V6 mill with reasonable fuel economy, it will be interesting to see if the sales continue to climb YoY comparison; is it grabbing some Panther market share that is swinging out there? Given that the Impala is for all intensive purposes a fleet queen vehicle that is also available for the 20% or so who actually buy them at retail.

    I know that King County Washington (metro Bellevue/Seattle) are adopting the Impala to replace their Panthers, that would not be a small order.

  • avatar

    Each year the Impala reigns as the best selling GM car. People just like it better than the Malibu and Cruze. Who knew…………………………..

    • 0 avatar
      SV

      Except the Fusion is ahead by 50,000 units year-to-date, and is #3 in all midsize cars.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Cruze is not on this chart and is outselling both the ‘bu and Imp’ handily this year.

      Cruze has a valid crack of being the top selling C-Segment car this calendar year actually.

      • 0 avatar
        tanooki2003

        If I recall this forum is about midsized sedans, not compact sedans. The Cruse being shown on here would be totally irrelevant.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        tanooki2003,
        Technically, the Cruze is a midsize car. But, it is being marketed as a subcompact. But, this comment was in response to GM’s best selling car being the Impala, and noticeably mentioning that people like it better than the Malibu or the Cruze.

        The original post is quite wrong as the Malibu and Cruze will outsell the Impala this year.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      I won’t even rent an Impala let alone think about buying one. If that’s all that’s available I wait a few minutes for something–anything else.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Why the vitriol for the Impala? I drove one for 3 weeks in January while my car was in the shop (New Year’s day a Caddy climbed onto the hood of my vehicle) and I was glad to have it in the blowing snow. It handled great. It was quiet and solid on the highway. Gas mileage was shockingly decent.
        But then I like big, heavy vehicles, not tiny tin cans.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    What continues to amaze is the number of sales for the Sonata! The Altima has done exceptionally well because it steals the show at about $20K a pop. How well the Altima CVT will do after the warranty expires is what keeps the industry spellbound. CVT’s have generally not held up over time as well as Hydraulic/Clutch/Planetary Gear type of automatics.

    There never was any doubt that Camry would continue leading the pack. The number of Camry sold last year was way out of proportion to the rest of the industry. This year it is back to where it should have been all along.

    The Fusion and its sib made in Mexico are indeed world-class mid-sizers and can be favorably compared to the Camry and Accord. The Fusion can also be had for way less money than an Accord or Camry and that is why it is surprising that it isn’t up there with the sales of the Altima, since the Fusion is clearly the better of the two, by far. Maybe the Altima sells better because it does cost less than the Fusion.

    It will be interesting to see how the restored part-supply pipeline from Japan will affect the sales in the coming months. My guess is that as availability and supply become less of an issue, we’ll see more money on the hood of all brands in order to move them.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeolan

      The Fusion is nowhere near as good as the Altima (or Camry, or Accord for that matter.) It’s selling well, but quite frankly it feels a generation behind in terms of everything except driving dynamics (where it still trails the Altima and is about equal with the Accord.)

      Actually, aside from the lame-duck Galant, I can’t think of a mid-sizer with a worse interior than the Fusion aside from the Impala.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        Driving dynamics and chassis engineering are some of the most difficult parts of the car to develop, so the Fusion leading, or being among the leaders, in those segments in no small feat. Fuel economy is competitive with the best in the segment. In addition Sync is still the industry standard against which all other in-car bluetooth/infotainment systems are benchmarked.

        This is the last year for the Fusion on the current platform however. The Camry is all new for this year, and the Accord platform only dates back to ’08.

        Given Ford’s recent success in interior design, as well as ride and handling, the upcoming ’13 Fusion should easily be best in class in those segments, and with the rollout of the 1.6 and 2.0 EcoBoost engines, it should offer class leading power and fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        During the past year I have driven the 2011 Camry, Altima, Fusion and Sonata as rentals. No Accords. Granted, driving a rental is not always indicative of showcasing the best from a manufacturer. But it does give you some idea.

        In all honesty, were I to be in the market for a midsizer, my choice would be the normally aspirated Sonata because of the way it rides, handles and responds to the throttle and brakes.

        I opened up this Sonata on I-15 going North and before I knew it I was hugging 90mph and outpacing the traffic around me. Sure way to draw attention to yourself. The Sonata IMO is just a well executed car all-around and on-par with a Camry 4-cyl automatic, at a much lower price.

        The Altima was like a limousine, very refined and smooth. What gives me pause with an Altima is that CVT. Since the early days of its inception and execution in the Dutch DAF sedans in Europe, later bought by Volvo, CVT’s have a pretty shake record starting at 50K on the clock.

        All that is OK if Nissan foots the bill to repair or replace it when it goes south, but it can be a wallet-shredder if you have to pay to repair it out of your own pocket.

        Maybe Nissan has improved on all that, but I’m not one to experiment with that notion. Better to lease an Altima for three years than to be constantly worrying about that CVT. Yugo anyone?

        The Camry? What can anyone say about the Camry? It is as uninspiring to drive as an appliance on wheels but it is competent, reliable, staid, and solidly built. Who can fault those qualities? It was those Toyota qualities that got me to buy a 2008 Highlander 4X4 and a 2011 Tundra 5.7.

        But the Fusion? Now there was a pleasant surprise! It was just good all around and ran like a bat out of hell. It was quick, it was nimble and it was smooth and quiet. IOW, it was just like a Camry, but with a lot of pizzazz, like a Sonata.

        I’m not pushing Ford or the Fusion, but I’m telling you, I was surprised AND I was impressed. More people should be looking at the Fusion. The Sync system sucked IMO. I quit screwing with it after five minutes and concentrated on driving while listening to the radio.

        My grandson still has not mastered the Sync in his Focus and if a college grad with a BSCS has problems with it, you know that it isn’t ready for prime time and that there must still be improvements and upgrades ahead.

      • 0 avatar

        The Camry? What can anyone say about the Camry? It is as uninspiring to drive as an appliance on wheels but it is competent, reliable, staid, and solidly built.

        Exactly my impressions after renting a 2011 LE for the day a few weeks back in Las Cruces. There was nothing whatsoever inspiring about the Camry, but it was a solid performer in all aspects — including while taking the I-25/I-10 on-ramp a bit too aggressively for the car’s mission. (Speaking of which, I was also rather impressed with the power from the 4-banger.)

        The only truly disappointing aspect was the fit and finish inside; I’d heard how bad the previous generation was in this regard, but I still found the panel fits and plastic flashings on the dash and door panels truly appalling.

        Still, the car left the impression that it would provide years and years of faithful and reliable, if uninspiring, performance. I can count the number of cars I’ve driven on one hand (two fingers, actually) that felt so reassuring. If I were looking only for solid and dependable transportation, odds are my journey would begin and end at the Toyota store.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Rob, initially I was very insecure about buying a Japanese-made 2008 Highlander that my wife had chosen to replace her ’92 Towncar.

        But after having lived with the Highlander for almost three years I was confident enough of Toyota to buy a 2011 Tundra 5.7 for myself.

        In the case of the midsizers, the Sonata impressed the hell out of me. Were I to ever buy a midsizer, the Sonata would handily beat out the Camry in my book.

        But the Sonata is so responsive to driver input that it may overwhelm Camry drivers because the Camry is so forgiving. If you like an interactive drivers’ car, then the Sonata is right up there with the best. It was a refreshing difference in rentals.

        BTW, I know the Las Cruces area well, including the decreasing-radius turn you mentioned. Everyone enters it too fast, including me. No doubt a shortcoming on the part of the planners.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Haven’t driven the Sonata, but reviews I’ve read complained about numb steering, a soft suspension, and an increase in road noise from the prior gen. Sounds like the interior quality has the Toyota beat, though. The fit and finish of the current Camry truly is bad. The reviews aren’t exaggerating.

        I really like the way the 4cyl Altima drives. Steering is sharp and the suspension is spot on for my tastes. And it’s quiet. I share your hesitation about the CVT, though. Don’t like the way it feels, and I worry about longevity.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        I couldn’t do a Sonata. The lack of rear headroom is a deal breaker. I was also not a fan of the steering wheel controls placement. It seems that they wanted big buttons that you could press, but it requires your hands to move too far.

  • avatar

    From the test drives I have taken I would lean towards the 200 over its domestic rivals. It clearly has the highest quality interior. As for it exterior it looks great from the back and front, but still a little odd from the side. Its front resembles the Genesis sedan. The Malibu is out of the race for the simple fact it does not even offer a navigation screen, which is either a standard or option for just about every mid-size car on the market.

  • avatar
    Rental Man

    Fusion has a very nice interior. High volume renters who spend hours in the cars have been very inpressed with it and preffer it to Camry. 200 got a very nice interior. Back seat still crampt and trunk tight.

    Mazda 6. What happened?

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      The last Camry I rented earlier this year seems to have benchmarked the ’92 Buick LeSabre for ride and handling characteristics. My mid-size rental of choice continues to be the Malibu, though the Chrysler 200 I got a few weeks ago was surprisingly not awful; I’d take it over an Impala or Camry.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “seems to have benchmarked the ’92 Buick LeSabre for ride and handling characteristics”

        I’ve driven early 90′s American Buicks and Oldsmobiles, and that’s a bit of an exaggeration. The Camry is soft and numb, but the steering precision and suspension control is light years ahead of those GMs.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    I can’t believe the Impala outsells the Malibu. The Malibu is a much better car yet the dinosaur still sells well. Go figure…

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      I can’t believe the Impala outsells the Malibu

      During MY 2010, 68% of Impala sales and 36% of Malibu sales went to fleet. During that year, Malibu retail sales were more than double the retail sales of the Impala. I would imagine that 2011 results are similar.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        Yeah, the Impala is the rental queen, but a sale is a sale (and most of those rentals will come back in 6-8 months as low mileage used vehicles) and adding the two up puts GM #1 in the ‘mid-sized market.’ Toyota does it for the Matrix, why can’t GM do it for the Impala/Malibu?
        [joking]

    • 0 avatar
      mikey

      @golden2husky….The Malibu vs the Impala? After carefull thought,and a week living with the Malibu, I went with the Impala.

      This is my last new car,and IMHO I believe the Impala offered more value,for the money.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      With the new engine I can see the Impala being pretty appealing. The front seat room is great, and pretty comfortable especially if you opt for one with the center console instead of the bench seat. The rear seat in the Impala is miserable for adults, but if aren’t carrying fully grown people in the back with any regularity I can see the appeal.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Look at YTD sales. Malibu up by 33k.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      “I can’t believe the Impala outsells the Malibu. The Malibu is a much better car yet the dinosaur still sells well. Go figure…”

      You know, GM still outsells Toyota and Honda (in the US).

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        GM outsells Honda by a million units and there’s still another quarter to go!
        Sadly, in Canada, GM is imploding almost as fast as Toyota and Honda. Ford is soundly #1 this year and Chrysler (Chrysler?) is nipping at GM’s heels.
        Heck, the Sierra and the Ram outsell the Silverado here. Scary, very scary.

  • avatar
    threeer

    It will be interesting to see what the redesign of the Camry does for sales.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Hopefully, they leave the ugly stick on the bench and keep it away. Each iteration of the Camry is uglier than the one previous to it. Ten years ago, they were clean, well balanced looking vehicles. Now, Toyota and Nissan seem to be in a race to the bottom to see who can come up with the ugliest vehicles.

  • avatar
    faygo

    it’s a bit of a nit, but only the Impala is D-segment car, the rest are all C/D.

    Taurus, Avalon, Maxima, 300/Charger, whatever Buick is that size are sort of all that’s left in the traditional D segment outside of luxury nameplates.

  • avatar
    morbo

    13,816 Mitsubishi Galants YTD. So, 13,815 Avis rentals and one very sad Mitsu American Executive? (with a single tear rolling down his cheel).

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    First…anybody who seems confused as to why the Fusion does well must not have spent time in it.
    It is off the Mazda6 and THAT is a car that should be on this list.
    Stupid consumers.

    Next…the question for me is WHY the decline in Sonata sales.
    It was blasting apart records last year and this time is off by a few thousand.
    It might be from competition within…the Elantra.
    That car is now showing up like the Sonata did when introduced.
    Or maybe a little Kia competition…except the dealers are not matched together.
    No…I think Hyundai buyers just seeing the smaller, less expensive car and a better deal.

  • avatar
    mikeolan

    I’m surprised the Ford Fusion sells as well as it does. It’s a borderline dreadful car when held up next to the Altima, Accord, Camry, Mazda6, Sonata, Optima, and Malibu. The fact it’s assembled in Mexico is another ding.

    About the best thing I can say is it drives well, but the interior is just bottom of the barrel garbage. The last one I was in had a mis-print on the door panel plastic, leaving the top part with practically no grain. How that passed quality inspection is beyond me. The dash graps were crude by mid-90′s standards, and the driving position wasn’t great either. I don’t know how anyone sits in it and thinks “This is a fine car.”

  • avatar
    tbp0701

    I’ve test driven a few new and used cars in this segment lately, and I’m surprised how few people are buying the Mazda 6. While it was the largest car I drove, it did not feel like it and was fairly nimble and responsive. The Sonata, while a very impressive midsize sedan, felt much larger, but I believe that’s the intention in both cars.

    I doubt I’ll buy a new Mazda 6, either, as only the base model comes with a manual transmission (although at least one is available) and Mazdas generally have rust issues in my region. If not for that, I probably wouldn’t be looking toward the overpriced used market.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Michael Karesh seems to be the authority on all things Mazda-rust related, but I recall him mentioning that the Mazda6 doesn’t suffer from the same issues that plague other Mazdas. The 6 is built in Flat Rock, MI alongside the Ford Mustang, so perhaps the materials or processes used in that factory help it resist the rust better. I also think I remember him saying the CX-9 stays pretty rust-free.

      As far as the car goes, I’m a fan of the Mazda6, but I’d opt for the 3.7 liter V6 over the I4, even if it means giving up the manual. The car just flies with the big 6. I agree that it feels smaller than it is from the driver’s seat. Part of that is the interior design, more of a cockpit feel than an open airy one, but part of it is Mazda’s chassis tuning. Though similar in size the Accord feels like a boat next to the Mazda6.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        You are so right.
        The Mazda6 S feels like a V8, not a 6. This same engine is used in such larger vehicles like the CX9 and MKS. But in the smaller 6S it is just awesome.

        I am not happy with the paint quality…but then again I cannot speak to other cars. The best body work I have experienced is the MKS. After some dreadful hail storms here in MO, that car never sees a dent.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    I don’t understand the retreat of Sonata sales compared to last year – any ideas? The 2011 model was selling at this time last year.

    • 0 avatar
      TrailerTrash

      as I said above…i think it is from competition from within.
      i think shoppers seeing the Elantra right next to it see the same car…only smarter looking.
      i agree with them. the smaller car fits its sweeping lines much better.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Sonata is up 25K units YTD from last year; it’s most likely the fact that supply is tight for the Sonata.

      I wouldn’t read too much into the data for 1 month of sales; for August of 2011, sales of the Sonata and Elantra were very similar to that of August 2010.

  • avatar
    alluster

    For the year, Optima is up 34,000 Units while the Accord is down 34,000 Units. Coincidence? Camry outsold Malibu and Impala combined! The new Malibu should have been released yesterday! Fusion sales are impressive. Good to see it break into the top three.

    http://www2.picturepush.com/photo/a/6706950/640/6706950.bmp

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Don’t get why Optima’s numbers are so low, I think it’s the most striking looking one of the bunch!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I think Kia is taking a bit longer to catch on here, aside perhaps from the Soul. I see those everywhere.

      Maybe a smaller dealer network? In my town we have a full-fledged Hyundai dealership, but the Kia is a low-volume outfit combined with a similarly low-volume Suzuki dealer. It even looks like crap from the street; I have a hard time imagining anyone walking into that building to make a $20-30K purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @Volt 230: I thought the Optima and the Sonata were both production constrained.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Or maybe buyers don’t trust the brand enough to plunk down close to 30k for a midsize sedan when there are so many established ones available, the Mitsu Galant doesn’t even make a blip, neither does the Kizashi

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      The new Optima is just getting going; remember the new Sonata was way ahead of it.

      As far as “trusting the brand”, I keep hearing that, but Kia’s been around a long time, as has the Optima name.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Supply issues; US production just started and prior to it, Kia’s factory in Korea was only making about 14K Optimas monthly for the Korean, US, Canadian and Australian markets.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    Mazda6 sales are at least rising and much better than last September….

    Mazda6 2011 4,160 vs 2010 2,731 up 52.4%
    AutoChannel

  • avatar
    mjz

    Shouldn’t the VW Passat be on this chart?

  • avatar
    alluster

    With the domestic auto sales handily topping the other segments, ten bucks says there will not be similar “chart of the day”s for Sub compacts, Compacts, Crossovers and Pickups.

  • avatar
    alluster

    With the domestic models handily topping sales in other segments, ten bucks says there will not be similar “chart of the day” threads for Sub compacts, Compacts, Crossovers and Pickups.

  • avatar

    Folks stop using the Impala rental mule argument. I was at Newark international airport a few months ago and I saw just as many Malibu’s as Impalas in the rental car lot. The simple fact is the American public for some reason likes the Impala better than the Malibu. The Impala leads the Malibu in both retail and rental sales. In a little display of sanity the Fusion has finally surpassed the Impala as the best selling “American” car. For five years I pondered in disbelief on why the Impala was the best selling American car. With the Fusion being number one I am not scratching my head anymore.

    I drove a 2009 Impala once and found it was a very good highway cruiser. It drove smoothly for 300 uneventful miles. Actually, I found it more comfortable than the Malibu. In comparison the Malibu is cramped and visibility is compromised by a low roof line. If you get an Impala with the 3.9 you actually have a pretty powerful car. I think this is the engine in some Impalas used in a few police departments.
    I am pretty sure the Impala I drove would go under 7 seconds to 60mph. The performance was pretty similar to the 2000 Intrigue I used to own, which is not surprising since Impala rides on the same platform. It is hard to believe , but the Impala’s chassis goes all the way back to the 1988 GM-10 cars that were supposed to take on the once great Taurus.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      The 2012 Impala uses the 3.6VVT V6 so it’s even more powerful (300hp). This is (FINALLY) the only available engine and I really want to take one for a drive just to see how decent the base car is. My school district just purchased a 2012 (identifiable by new grille inserts and standard dual exhausts with the 3.6 even on the lowest trim models) and I am actively trying to figure out how to wrangle the keys after they take the temporary tags off of it. (The motor pool never releases a car till it has real metal plates on it.)


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