By on December 9, 2012

After taking you on a World roundup last time, I thought this week we would go back home and explore the best-selling cars in our own backyard.

Boring? That’s OK. You can visit 170 additional countries and territories in my blog in the comfort of your own lounge. Simple really.

Back to the backyard.

And the stars of the month are the Ford F-Series (expected), Honda Civic (not expected) and Dodge Dart (or not).

2013 Honda Civic

You can check out the  Top 260 All-models ranking here

US new car sales are up a very dynamic 15 percent year-on-year in November to 1,143,505 units, with the year-to-date total at 13,135,576 units, up 14 percent on 2011.

US manufacturers mostly fare worse than the market: General Motors is up 3 percent, Ford up 6 percent and Chrysler up 14 percent.

Reversely, Subaru is up a massive 60 percent on November 2011 and achieves 300,000 annual US sales for the first time in its history, BMW is up a huge 45 percent to deliver its best-ever month in the US at 31,213 units, Honda up 39 percent and hitting its best November sales ever, Volkswagen up 29 percent and lodging its best November since 1973, Audi up 24 percent and already beating its annual sales record after just 11 months, Mazda up 18 percent and achieving its best November since 1994 and Toyota up 17 percent.

Kia sold its 500,000th model in the US so far in 2012, a first for the brand.

2013 Subaru Forester. Subaru US sales are up 60 percent year-on-year in November.

There are 5 main bullet points to remember as far as the US models ranking for November is concerned.

1. The Ford F-Series is back in fashion, big time (but was it ever not?)

It’s the 16th consecutive month of year-on-year growth for the Ford F-Series at +18 percent in November and with 56,299 sales it delivers its 4th month in a row above 50,000 monthly sales. For comparison, the Chevrolet Silverado ranks #2 for the 4th month in a row thanks to 30,674 units sold, but its sales are down 10 percent year-on-year.

2. The Honda Civic is on fire (but would it be at full price?)

The best performer of the month is by far the Honda Civic, up 5 spots on October to land in third position overall with 30,075 sales, up a mammoth 75 percent year-on-year and a new November record beating the one set in 1990. This is almost 100% probably due to the current model being in runout mode, days before the unveiling of the 2013 update at the LA Motor Show. Note it is the first time the Honda Civic ranks on the US podium since August 2009, and potentially the 2nd time it ever leads the Passenger Cars ranking after May 2008 when it ranked #1 overall. But would it have achieved these figures at full price? Not so.

The Ford Focus is the best-selling US Passenger Car this month

3. The Ford Focus is on its way up

Below the Chevrolet Silverado, the Toyota Camry is down one spot on October to #4 at 28,765 units but is still up 25 percent year-on-year. It stays #2 year-to-date with 373,479 sales (+36 percent) vs. 367,613 (stable) for the Silverado. The Honda Accord is also down one rank on October to #5 but up a massive 83 percent on November 2011 at 26,248 units. Good month for the Ford Focus, up 56 percent year-on-year to #11 and now the best-selling US Passenger Car.

Top 10 best-selling models in the US – November 2012:

You can check out the  Top 260 All-models ranking here

Pos Model Nov /11 Oct 2012 /11 Pos 2011
1 Ford F-Series 56,299 18% 1 576,529 12% 1 1
2 Chevrolet Silverado 30,674 -10% 2 367,613 0% 3 2
3 Honda Civic 30,075 75% 8 284,791 42% 5 7
4 Toyota Camry 28,765 23% 3 373,479 36% 2 3
5 Honda Accord 26,248 83% 4 302,444 39% 4 8
6 Dodge Ram 24,337 23% 5 263,152 20% 8 13
7 Toyota Corolla 22,616 40% 7 266,268 21% 7 4
8 Honda CR-V 22,333 36% 9 255,919 30% 9 14
9 Ford Escape 20,970 -4% 10 240,877 5% 10 11
10 Nissan Altima 20,305 -1% 6 278,968 15% 6 5

You can check out the  Top 260 All-models ranking here

The Nissan Pathfinder ranks within the US Top 50 for the first time in 7 years.

4. It helps to have a new generation on sale says the Nissan Pathfinder (doh!)

Further down, the Nissan Rogue is up 14 spots on October to #22, the BMW 3 Series stays robust at #28 vs. #47 year-to-date, the VW Passat is up 10 to a record #29, the Lexus RX is up 11 to #38, the Nissan Pathfinder is up 51 ranks on last month and 249% year-on-year thanks to the new generation and breaks into the monthly US ranking for the first time since 2005 at #47 with 8,097 sales and the Ford C-Max improves again, up 27 spots to #68 and 4,848 units.

Cadillac ATS

5. Dodge Dart: god or dud?

In the absence of automatic transmission, the Dodge Dart seems to have hit a wall already, down 18 percent and 16 ranks on October to #75 with just 4,489 sales. 6 months after launch, the Dart still hasn’t managed to break into the monthly US Top 50. So, Dart: god or dud? The model looks like it might have more luck in China where it sold 4,075 units this month as the Fiat Viaggio…

Apart from the Ford C-Max, 4 additional recent launches break their monthly volume record this month: the Cadillac ATS is up 70 percent and 23 spots on October to #123 at 2,153 sales, the Acura ILX is up 38 percent and 19 to #126 and 2,108 units, now Acura’s best-selling sedan, the BMW X1 is up 9 percent and one spot to #127 and 2,088 sales and the Subaru XV Crosstrek is up 19 percent and 2 ranks to #130 and 2,060 units.

Finally, notice the Chevrolet Volt down almost 50 percent on October to just above 1,500 sales and back below the Nissan Leaf…

You can check out the  Top 260 All-models ranking here

You can also check out:

Previous month: USA October 2012: Ford F-Series up, Subaru breaks record

Previous Year-to-date summary: USA 10 months 2012: Discover the Top 277 All-models ranking!

One year ago: USA November 2011: New gen Toyota Camry and Prius V start well

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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40 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: A Trip to Homeland America...”

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    The best selling subcompact is the Versa at #40 the rest of the class is languishing way behind which proves the point that if you have a limited budget, you are much better off with a used higher class car than these little tin boxes, I don’t care how much electronic stuff the throw into them.

    • 0 avatar

      You should take a Fiesta for a spin someday. Sure it’s small but it’s solidly built and very quiet inside.

    • 0 avatar

      And those who bought the Versa wish they hadn’t; in CR’s latest satisfaction survey, only 49% of Versa buyer would do it again.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “which proves the point…”

      No, that doesn’t prove the point at all. You are assuming that everyone has the same needs and wants out of a car. Fewer people may have their needs served by subcompacts, but those that do are better off with a new one than a used D-class sedan.

  • avatar

    Another confirmation of what several have said here..
    Americans still want big BOF 4-door sedans and that’s what they’ve caused pickups to morph into.

    They’re the go-to vehicle where I live, awaiting our first significant snowfall of the season.

    • 0 avatar

      LOL, have you ever driven a RWD pickup truck in the snow!?! The fish called, and they want their tails back!

      I guess 4×4 helps (I’ve never owned a 4×4 pickup), but since the FWD cars that I’ve owned are more than sufficient in the snow, I shouldn’t have to buy a 4×4 to keep up with my FWD Toyota compact car in the snow….!

      The reason for this discrepency is that, in an unloaded pickup truck, the majority of the weight is on the front wheels, and the traction is on the back wheels. That’s a recipe for fishtailing and oversteer. Pickup trucks reputation for snowwothieness is greatly overrated, unless you happen to own a 4×4 truck and keep it in four wheel drive when other vehicle are just fine.

      • 0 avatar


        Not pertinent, most private truck sales (at least around here) are 4WD… just try finding a new RWD on anyone’s lot.

        Not accurate, all my trucks and vans have been RWD driven exclusively in snowbelt states and not one accident.

        Four 80-lb bags of salt in the bed kept over the wheels by a divider, no problem. And no incessant repairs like my 4WD friends.

      • 0 avatar


        Its totally relevant. I drove an RWD pickup for 8 years, including 4 years in Illinois. It sucked, and my Prius is way better in the snow than that truck.

        You CAN make it work by putting the bed and driving carefully. But why would yoi pit yourself through that of you don’t need to haul things that can only be hauled in a truck or a van? And, yet, I see people do it every day.

        BTW, my Escape is an excellent all weather vehicle. It’s a Subaru-like wagon tarted up and jacked up to make it look like a Ford Truck, but whatever, it solves the problem pretty well. The MPGs are lousy compared to the Prius, but equal to my old RWD Ranger and much better than the F-150 4×4 that I half-own. Most of the people I see hauling themselves to white collar jobs in town in F150s would be far better served by my Escape and a small folding trailer than any of the pickups I’ve owned.

        The question remains: do you want to be in 4×4 mode while my Prius or my Escape putters along happily?

        P.S. My F-150 is co-owned with a family member who actually uses it for truck stuff, so I don’t get to drive it much. We’re about to play musical cars, though… :-)

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        At Luke, yep in deep snow wish I had my old Ranger’s shift-on-the fly over my Escape’s AWD. Loved my little truck; hated feeding the 4.0. Old boy said it best one day when I asked why he didn’t come in: My deductible is $500. I don’t make $500 a day so I stayed home.

      • 0 avatar

        El Scotto:

        I miss my Ranger, too. It was a 2.5L RWD 5-speed, and it survived every foolish thing I did to it and did with it through my 20s. It’s a great vehicle overall.

        But it was a lousy snow vehicle and a worse kid-hauler. When the job requires a wrench, you have to put down your favorite hammer.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Man, is there a Prius owner out there who is not smug?

        You’re so vain, you probably think this post is about you…

  • avatar

    My observation is that smaller cars are on the rise. Bigger, traditional SUV’s and sedans are showing negative or small positive % growth. Compacts, mostly, seem to be showing big % growth. As to trucks, they are not passenger cars really…

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      There are many who use four door trucks as a family car. Unscientific evidence supports this in my parking lot at work. Lots of my kid is an honor student at this school and stick figure families stickers on four door trucks. Most of my coworkers can afford more expensive rides. Well, that’s subjective with some top of the trim line trucks; price a King Ranch F-150. I’m sure this must drive some TTAC cognoscenti, experts, and those with exquisite automotive tastes to wring their hands, grind their teeth,and foam at the mouth over such blasphemy. Hey! It’s the truck buyers money and decisions. Year in and year out sales totals and leaderships don’t lie.

      • 0 avatar

        I would be interested to see stats that give a clear difference between trucks sold to fleets / companies and trucks bought for personal use. I do understand people buy trucks because they can act as a work, recreational and family vehicle but… it’s hard to classify them as a “passenger” vehicle and that has to do with their original purpose and because they can fulfill multiple roles.

      • 0 avatar
        el scotto

        Beerboy,The decades long morphing of trucks being “agricultural grade” to being loaded with heated leather seats and a sunroof have caused them to morph into being passenger vehicles. They can haul and tow but usually five days a week they’re a daily driver for non-commercial buyers. I think the dual cab boom really accelerated trucks being used a passenger vehicles. Besides, they’re too damn expensive to let sit. I humbly suggest you rethink your baseline(s). Few sales to rental car companies for fleet sales as compared to cars. Companies/private use could be done by searching state registrations. It get murky as the state level between privately owned business and privately used vehicles.

      • 0 avatar

        After seeing so many trucks, including lifted F-250s/Chevy 2500s, being used as ordinary commuter vehicles, I was very happy to see an 8th generation (1987-1991) F-250 work truck being used as a work truck the other day, still ticking.

        It made the current F-150 look monstrous too, despite being heavy duty.

    • 0 avatar

      America is changing. Camry outsells Silverado. Corolla outsells Ram.

  • avatar

    Dodge should be terrified at the Dart’s languid sales. Six months on, I’ve seen less than ten of them on the roads of western Pennsylvania, and that counts the two that I test drove.

    It is a really nice car – beautiful inside and out – but unrefined in driveability and quality. The 2.0 automatic isn’t bad, but my ancient Hyundai 2.0 idles much more smoothly. I am eager to see the 2.4.

    If the Dart is to be Dodge’s savior in the small car market, then they’ve got a serious problem. Lately, they’re discounting $750 on any Dart and another $750 for the manual transmission. That’s a lot of money for a newly-introduced vehicle. They’d have to give me more than that to take the MT; I really didn’t like it.

  • avatar

    A few weeks ago I was at the local Dodge, Chrysler, Ram dealer to take a look at a truck. The salesman and I had to go to the other lot down the street, so he grabbed the keys to a Dart and off we went.

    I point blank asked him how these were selling. He (lied) and said they weren’t able to keep them on the lot they were selling so well. I’ve seen one Dart on the road since they’ve been on the market.

    I’m not sure which level of trim this Dart was, but it just felt cheap, cheap, cheap.

    This car did have an automatic. But I’m not the least bit surprised this model is not selling well.

    I’ve had friends who had 1960s and 70s Darts. I remember those cars actually feeling somewhat solid and well built.

    • 0 avatar

      In one of the areas biggest Dodge, Chrysler, Ram, Jeep, Fiat dealers radio ads say how they have over 100 of the “hot selling” Darts in stock. Yet in another ad they say how they have great selection with over 800 new cars and trucks to choose from.

      Doesn’t seem like they’ve got a good selection of cars and trucks people actually want if over 1/8 of their inventory are Darts. Meanwhile I’ve seen 4, 3 at the auto show and one on the street.

      I sat in one at the auto show and think the interior particularly the door panels are tacky looking and cheap feeling. The back seat room also sucked as my Son couldn’t fit behind me in a position that I could drive it for any distance.

      • 0 avatar

        My local dealer(Midway Chrysler-Jeep) has 98 Darts out of 219 Dodges. Surprisingly, the Challenger comes in second at 35 cars in stock. They only have 14 Grand Caravans, 18 Durangos and 7 Avengers. 17 Journeys and 30 Chargers are probably plenty, but they’re up to their eyeballs in Darts.

        BTW, the line about too many manuals may be a BS cover for a publicly rejected model intro. Of those 98 Darts in stock, four of them have manual transmissions. All of them are offered for $3,500-$4,500 under MSRP. Many are automatic SXT/Rallyes(sic) with U-Connect for $15,913 before you start bargaining.

    • 0 avatar

      Why ask when you clearly had your own well defined answer?

  • avatar
    George B

    Looking over the US top-10 list, the 2013 Nissan Altima is the one new model that I see everywhere here in North Texas. Large number cars with a distinctive new body on the road. I see a bunch of F-150s with just-sold paper tags, but I can’t see the difference between a new model 2013, a leftover 2012, or a used 2011. Lots of just-sold Camrys and Corollas, but I can’t tell the difference between a 2012 and a 2013. I’ve seen numerous old body 2012 Honda Accords with paper tags, but only two 2013 Accord sedans. The 2013 Malibu does look different than the 2012 and I have seen a few the road. So far no 2013 Ford Fusions or Dodge Darts have been sighted in the wild.

  • avatar

    If one were going to settle for a mediocre car because it’s cheap, an Avenger or 200 on the same lot is both cheaper and less mediocre.

  • avatar

    I just put a spread sheet together. I added a new column that defined the size class of each vehicle and then averaged the % growth value.
    The results are interesting to say the least…
    TTAC, email me if ya wanna see it.

    • 0 avatar
      sunridge place

      Or…you could have just gone here…

      • 0 avatar

        I wanted to get my own take and confirm a trend I saw. The data in the site shows about the same as what I concluded. In all cases truck, SUV and passenger car, the smaller the vehicle class the bigger the % growth.
        I can get a bit more granular with my spread sheet to.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    Take aways:

    1. F150 sales just amaze me. I have a major crush on that vehicle, just can’t justify 15 mpg for commuting.
    2. The new Civic was just introduced last week in LA and it’s already at dealers! Note to GM _ that’s how you roll out a new vehicle…less than 2 months after announcing it. None of this Camaro-Volt bullshit where it takes 3 years to get to market.
    3. Civic continued: A nice upgrade inside and out. Why oh why can’t they just graft the simple 2003 Civic dashboard and get rid of the bi-level monstrosity? With a real steering wheel rim? I’d get over the horizontal windshield…I think….
    4. Didn’t realize the X1 was already on the market.
    5. Subaru is on fire, but its also fair to say they’re dealing big time. The the new Forrester will jack up competition vrs. the CR-V and RAV4.

  • avatar

    I can’t help but feel that the 2013 Civic is nothing more than a ‘polished-turd’. Pardon my language, but it’s hard to take the 2013 as a better car especially if it’s based on the 2012. I feel the same about it as I feel about the 2013 Chrysler 200. When I look at a 200, I still feel that underneath all that ‘glitz’ it’s still the same awful car as the 2007 Sebring.

    I wonder what the 2013 will do for the depreciation of the 2012 models, especially if the 2012’s are the ‘inferior’ models.

    I’m in the market for a new-used car. There’s a 2000 Acura EL with 120,000 km on the clock and a 5-speed standard. I guess I’ll stick to the cars Honda used to make well…

  • avatar

    GM inventory prob gets worse as market share tanks.

    “Despite already-bloated inventories at its dealers, GM’s production lines ran full throttle during September and October. Thanks to that ramp-up and unimpressive sales growth, retail inventories grew by an astonishing 99,000 in October and November. Dealers received five vehicles for every four they sold during those two months, bringing their on-hand stocks from an already unsustainable 689,000 in September to an absolutely ridiculous 788,000. ”

    And pickups are worse with 245,000 inventory/139 days supply.

    The Focus, like the Civic, had major sales incentives, up to $2895 on the sedan. Fiesta has 124 days inventory on hand and the Altima may have had the largest incentives of the best sellers as Nissan’s incentives ballooned to over $4000 per vehicle.

  • avatar

    Ford F is not a car, it´s a truck. So the best selling car is Honda Civic! I´d never thought that a small Japanese car would outsell the US brands.

  • avatar

    I’m on my third Civic as my daily driver. Nothing to complain about, except its not the best car in winter snow due to it’s light weight and that it sits low. I briefly lived in southern CA and there, the Civic was a perfect car for that climate. In winter driving it is better then the RWD cars I grew up with, but my wife’s AWD SUV is awesome in snow and on slick roads, which I’ve driven long distances with in the winter and I’d never do so in a Civic.

    Well the wife wants a new ride, so I may sell the Civic and keep her SUV. MPG isn’t everything. But I could see buying another Civic again someday, or at least I’d never tell someone not to buy one.

    • 0 avatar

      Being light weight has nothing to do with stuck in snow. If anything, the heavier the car is, the deep it gets stuck, right? It’s all about the tires. The standard tires of Civic is terrible. Just budget $1500 for a set of snow tires on their own rims and you are set.

  • avatar

    Some of the stuff I find interesting…

    Fiat 500 sales are up huge 123% vs last november, 130% for the year…looks like they found the right advertising message with superbowl ad. Helped the Abarth be a good halo model for the rest of the line? If so, their next crop of rather frisky ads should do them well. They’re also neck and neck with Mini (Mini sold 37 more cars in November and is up 814 cars for the year), despite Mini having a bigger lineup and being the more established brand. It’s also less than 1k behind the Dart in November, despite the Dodge theoretically being the volume leader.

    Good to see the Focus doing well. Do we have a current breakdown on what the Focus’s current fleet sales mix is?

    Skyactive seems to be helping the Mazda3 out, although not probably not as much as Mazda hoped. It’s up 43% month to month (which was when the skyactive first rolled out) but only 20% for the year (although still beating the market). Crazy that despite that being a “mainstream” model, the 3 series still outsells it. the Miata’s overall sales are disppointing, even if this November was pretty big improvement vs last. Corvette, 911, 370z, FR-S, BRZ, and Boxster are all outselling it.

    The Mustang is up 37% for November but only 18 for the year…are the 2013’s really getting that much more attention than the 2012’s? The Camaro, OTOH, did not have such a good month (novelty wearing off?). It’s ahead of the Mustang for the year by just over 1k units, but it’s down for the year by 4%, and saw its Nov down 13%, which put it 1k behind the Mustang in November sales.

    Hyundai ought to be disappointed in the Genesis (I’m assuming they don’t break down Coupe vs Sedan?). It’s down for the month, barely up for the year (and behind the market), and even though Hyundai is a non premium brand, the long in the tooth Cadillac CTS, as well as the inferior XTS and Taurus are all outselling it. The Chrysler 300, on the other hand, while having only a decent November (up 17%), is up over 100% for the year and is ahead of all of those cars.

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