By on September 11, 2012

After sharing with you the launch of the Africa Project and a couple of world updates (Top 150 best-selling models in June 2012 and our monthly World Roundup for July 2012), today I will commemorate the 11th anniversary of the September 11 attacks in my own way: by sharing with you sales data in the US at that time.

Not in the mood? There are 167 other countries and territories in my blog ready for you to explore.

Back to the USA in 2001. That year a volume record was beaten and it was the last time a Honda led the passenger cars ranking…

In 2001, the Ford F-Series passes a historical milestone: 900,000 sales in one year for the first time for Ford’s nameplate. At 911,597 units it is up 4 percent compared to 2000. This annual figure would be beaten in 2004 when the F-Series lodges a record 939,511 sales – still unbeaten to this day. This figure is however not the highest ever in the US, with the Ford Model T and Chevrolet Impala selling upwards of one million annual units at their peak.

The F-Series broke another record in 2001: 102,424 sales in a single month in October. And again this record would be beaten, this time in 2005 at 126,905 units, or one every 21 seconds!

In second place we find the Chevrolet Silverado, up 11% year-on-year to 716,051 sales…

…followed by the Ford Explorer at #3 despite dropping 7 percent to 415,921 sales.

After 4 consecutive years of domination by the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord reclaims the title of US best-selling passenger car for the first time in 10 years and the 4th time overall after 1989, 1990 and 1991. It sells 414,718 units, up 3 percent on 2000.

…while the Toyota Camry, in-between two generations, is down 8 percent in 5th place with 390,449 sales. 2001 would be the only time in 15 years (1997-2011) that the Toyota Camry is not the best-selling passenger car in the US

The Ford Taurus stays #6, down 7 percent to 353,560 units…

…the Honda Civic is up one spot and 2 percent to #8…

…passing the Ford Ranger down 17 percent to 272,460 sales…

…while the Ford Focus stays #10 in spite of sales down 8 percent to 264,414. The Focus is indeed the 5th Ford in the US Top Ten in 2001, how times have changed since!

USA Full Year 2001 Top 10 best-sellers:

Pos Model 2001 Var 2000 Pos
1 Ford F-Series 911,597 4% 876,716 1
2 Chevrolet Silverado 716,051 11% 645,150 2
3 Ford Explorer 415,921 -7% 445,157 3
4 Honda Accord 414,718 3% 404,515 5
5 Toyota Camry 390,449 -8% 422,961 4
6 Ford Taurus 353,560 -7% 382,035 6
7 Dodge Ram P/U 344,538 -10% 380,900 7
8 Honda Civic 331,780 2% 324,528 9
9 Ford Ranger 272,460 -17% 330,100 8
10 Ford Focus 264,414 -8% 286,166 10

You can check out more historical sales data for the US from 1908 to 2010 here.

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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38 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: What Cars Americans Bought in 2001...”


  • avatar
    needsdecaf

    Wow, that F150 crash video is disturbing to say the least! So much for the thought that you’re safer in a big truck!

  • avatar
    jjklongisland

    Personally I think to state that your blog is a “Commemoration to September 11th” is callous and in bad taste regardless of where you are from. While I see no issue with your choice of today to compare vehicle sales from the year 2001 choosing your verbiage in your opening statement I find offensive. I commemorate 9/11 by lowering my flag to half staff and praying for those who have lost. This article is not a commemoration.

    • 0 avatar
      Freddy M

      I personally found nothing offensive in his choice of words. I’m Canadian and although the attacks themselves didn’t affect me directly, on this day 11 years ago I was just as shocked and frightened as my southern neighbours and made a quick exit out of downtown Toronto for fear something might strike us.

      But each to his own. May those who died rest in peace.

    • 0 avatar
      cdakost

      Seriously, get over yourself

      • 0 avatar
        jjklongisland

        Get over myself… Let me rephrase, while I dont feel there was any malice in the the statement, I just dont feel its a commemoration by definition. I lost 3 friends that day and feel that people need to use more couth when it comes to 9/11.

      • 0 avatar
        cdakost

        While I respect your loss and the loss of others, all it is simply doing is taking a look back to September of 2001 and what we were doing back then from an automotive standpoint. I don’t see anything wrong with that coming from an automotive blog.

      • 0 avatar
        Darkhorse

        Like many Americans, I am getting tired of us celebrating our defeats. The 9/11 hagiography is just the latest version. Why not a holiday for Saddam Hussein’s or Osama Bin Ladin’s death?
        Sorry, but many other things both good and bad happened in 2001 including the fact that we bought cars.

      • 0 avatar
        cdakost

        I don’t think anyone is celebrating anything. It’s a day of remembrance and reflection. It’s a day in which people look back to what America was back in September of 2001. Because this is a car website, they happen to be looking back to seeing what cars we were buying. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.
        This is no different than look back to 1941 on December 7th. It’s merely a look back into history. It just so happens to be only 11 years instead of 71.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      Every year, we get Sept 11th overkill.

      I think about it often, usually on days that aren’t 9/11. I don’t need to be reminded. I’ll never forgot about the day the US government hook-winked its’ own people into yet another war for resources in Afghanistan.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    That’s a picture of after 2003 Ford Taurus.

  • avatar
    bziko98

    9 Ford Ranger 272,460 – stands out. Ford has neglected the model for many years and finally killed it because it only sold 55,364 in 2010. I know people who bought last year models because they knew it was going to be discontinued. Many people liked smaller size ranger and do not want a bigger F150.

    • 0 avatar
      car_guy2010

      I love my 1997 Ranger for sure.

      They are popular around here. You can’t throw a stone without hitting one where I grew up. I even saw one identical to mine except that it didn’t the stock running light assembly.

    • 0 avatar
      cronus

      272,000 sold sounds impressive but it’s already in terminal decline. Down 17% from the year before and that’s after a redesign in 98 and a refresh in 2001. These are the years that convinced Ford to neglect the Ranger and milk it for cash, not the glory years.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    That 2001 Explorer is a sign of the times. All the rage just 10 years ago and now it seems more outdated than anything else on that list. Somewhat cramped, crude ride and handling, and an underpowered drivetrain that simultaneously made it slow and thirsty. The CRV was a much better answer to the family wagon question.

    That said, the 4WD transfer case and ground clearance make me want one for a camping vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      You might be better off with a similar year Grand Cherokee or 4-Runner. The Explorer struggled off road in period tests and their survival rate is fairly crummy when you consider that Ford sold several million of them. The Jeep has high mortality too, but at least it worked off road.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Alternative title to article, Coming Soon To Junkyard Finds.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Why do people like Ford? They had half the vehicles on this list only eleven years ago. The F150 continues at the top of its game, although its market is shrinking. The rest of the vehicles on the list? Ford cheaped out on Explorer parts to the point that its $9 tires became another deadly Ford scandal like the Pinto. They let the popular and at one point class-leading mid-sized Taurus die on the vine after misguided updates and general lack of durability caught up with it. They did nothing to preserve the popularity of the Ranger, which pretty much seemed like a time traveler from the ’90s when it was finally killed. The Focus went from Euro-style import fighter to cheap fleet-fodder before being brought back up to international standard with a car that isn’t as competitive as the first Focus was when introduced. They’re the best of the Detroit brands? Yikes.

    • 0 avatar
      Rada

      How is the new Focus not as competitive as the original? The original Focus had only one thing that stood-out – very good suspension. The new Focus packs a lot of performance features, IMO it is a very competitive compact.

    • 0 avatar
      cdakost

      If we look at individual classes, Ford is very competitive. F-Series, Mustang, the new Fusion, Focus, Explorer, Escape, do I need to continue?

      • 0 avatar
        01 ZX3

        The Edge sells well too.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The Mustang is the 47th best selling car. The formerly #3 Explorer is now #22. Ford went from having the #1, #3, #6, #9 and #10 best sellers to having #1 and #10. Toyota went from having #5 to having #2 and #7. Honda added #5 while maintaining #4 and #8. Nissan now has a car in the top 10. GM’s sole entry fell from #2 to #3, and full sized trucks are going to total far fewer than a decade ago. Ford will be lucky to sell 600,000 F-series trucks this year. Even Chrysler managed to sink on the best seller board, their only entry going from 7th to 9th.

      • 0 avatar
        cdakost

        The market is different now than it was back then. We buy different things. That’s why you have to look at in classes not as a whole.

    • 0 avatar
      TomHend

      I agree with you CJinSD and I am a Ford fan.

      But let me ask, and I am not trying to be a jerk, what trucks do you like? Cars? etc.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Were I to buy a pickup, it would be a Toyota. I have many friends with good Tacoma experiences, and the Tundra seems like a much better value than the various domestics. Besides, if Toyota does make a mistake with their trucks, like using UAW frames, they can afford to fix it. If Ford or GM make a mistake on their trucks, they have to fight the customers to the death. Profitability of full sized trucks is all that keeps their lights on. As for cars, I was really happy with our Honda and Acura purchases, but I’m going to take a wait and see approach now that Honda is switching the Accord to DI and CVTs. Fortunately, I’ve got three fairly low mileage K-series powered vehicles to tide me over. If all else fails, I’ll get a cheap lease on something with good dealer service. My Audi dealer provides good service and loaners, but he is too far away for me to want another one.

  • avatar
    TomHend

    Thank-you CJ. I have always bought American cars and trucks, but I am now reexamining that. Last year I was at Dover DE for the NASCAR race and before the race they usually take the drivers around the track in the back of a Ford or Chevy pick up, but last year they drove them around in a Tundra and I thought to myself, as the crowd booed, that is a great looking truck and started looking in to how well the Tundra is made.
    Thanks for the reply.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Wow. People in Delaware booed because they were in Toyota trucks? I grew up in Virginia, and acceptance of little Toyota trucks seemed pretty much complete even in the ’80s. Flag-waving blue-collar guys loved them as much as small business owners. It is hard to believe that we’ve regressed so much.

      My business partner and I looked at trucks a few months ago. He wanted to look at all of them, although I don’t think we got as far as looking at Dodge and he’d had a Nissan Titan in the past. We had specific requirements that were apparently outside of the volume configuration range. Ford and Chevy dealers had zero out of about 250 pickups in stock that met our requirements and the Chevy dealer expressed no interest in doing anything to change that. He’d rather hammer us into a truck we had no use for than try to get one with the long bed. The Ford dealer was willing to look at order books while telling us we should take something from stock that wouldn’t carry our payload. The Toyota dealer had people waiting for Tundras to be unloaded and washed, but he was still willing to get one configured like we wanted. He even had a couple long beds in various stages of order or delivery. We didn’t end up getting one as an existing vehicle we had got pushed into full time work duty instead, but we still might buy a Tundra soon.


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