By on January 6, 2010

Your Top 25

Unfortunately, we’ve discovered a slight problem with our list, namely that imported and domestically-produced models are listed separately (as our data comes from a firm that mostly works with suppliers). For the Top 25, this means that the numbers for vehicles produced domestically and imported (like the CRV and RAV4) are off. We ask for your patience while we work with our data provider to fix this problem.

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44 Comments on “The 25 Best-Selling Cars Of 2009...”


  • avatar

    GLAD TO SEE FORD IS #1

    Thanks for double quadrupling my  $1.45/share  stock holdings Ford…LOVE YOU !

  • avatar
    tced2

    If you add Chev Silverado (316k) to GM Sierra (111k)  you get about 427k.  Easily the top seller.  Now of course if you combined the lines into one, the sales would probably not add up completely. But what are the costs of developing and supporting 2 lines of trucks that are materially the same?

    • 0 avatar
      tooling designer

      I can tell ya from personal experience that its not much. The same line builds both start to finish, they are 1 vehicle. Much more than the Corolla/Matrix combo.

    • 0 avatar
      majo8

      I think the important stat here is that the Chevy/GMC twins had a 118,100  (+22.9%) lead over the F150 in 2008, but only a 14,700 (+3.6%) lead in 2009.  Ouch.
       
      Not a very big margin at all………and declining.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Whoa! It’s interesting on how consistent the percentages are on everything but the losers.

    If I was GM I’d be making sure that I have a new p/up in the wings for 2011. Not a skin job either but something that can take on the F150. Better frame, better engines etc. It’s obvious that their loyal costumers aren’t buying. They’re not moving to another brand, but they’re certainly not buying your offerings either. Keep that up and there’s gonna be some serious hurt.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      I highly doubt GM has the engineering and design resources anymore to do a clean sheet redesign of the BOF pickups and their powertrains.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      They did a major revision just a couple of years ago, and by all accounts the Silverado is just as good as the F-series and the Ram. The one thing they don’t need to do is redo their powertrains. The Vortec is the best engine in its class.
       
      If you look back at the sales data for the last ten years, this year is actually pretty typical. GM has beat Ford in total truck sales by over 100K three times since 1999 but its usually within 50K. (Ford has won twice.) Even Dodge’s horrible numbers for the Ram this year are proportionally in line with what they’ve done for at least the last decade. Pick a year and Dodge will sell  45-55% as many trucks as GM or Ford. It was true four years ago when the Ram was the fourth-best selling vehicle in the US and it was true last year when they barely beat out the Escape for ninth place.
       
       

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      GM doesn’t need to John…they have superior (ie. reliable) powertrains, their size is reasonable as opposed to Ford’s, and the GM trucks don’t have false, pencil-whipped capability claims.

    • 0 avatar
      tooling designer

      GM is currently working on the next gen pickup right now (program code c3xx). Its mostly a heavily reworked version of the gmt900 and is scheduled for 2012. 

  • avatar

    Volkswagen Jetta is the only European car on the list.
    Jetta outsold the Chevy Cobalt.
    Honda Odyssey is the only minivan on the list.
    Dodge Ram is the only Chrysler product on the list.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrick Jannene

      For purely comparison’s sake, the combined total of Chrysler minivans was 175,224, 90,666 from the Caravan and 84,558 from the Town and Country.  It would have hypothetically been 10th place.

    • 0 avatar

      It wasn’t too many years ago that the Dodge Caravan (not counting the Voyager and Town & Country) consistently finished in the top ten. Now it’s behind the Odyssey and not even in the top 25.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      No kidding, this nameplate counting thing is just silly. Two vehicles which are substantially the same and really only amount to trim options on one another should be counted as one vehicle. The Caravan and Town & Country have much more in common with each other than the Camry and Solara do or the Corolla and Matrix.

  • avatar
    reclusive_in_nature

    Wish I could see the disgusted/self righteous looks greenies are giving the top of that list. Priceless.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    Wow, the four highest percentage drops are all GM vehicles.  Only the Malibu, at a very respectable -9.4, misses out.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner

    The only luxury make is Lexus with the RX. They almost outsold the Odyssey, and only trail the Hyundai Elantra by about 10k units.

    An impressive performance, and your chance to win some bar bets.

  • avatar
    Bimmer

    It’s good to see Ford having three vehicles in the top ten. Also the only luxury vehicle being in the list is Canadian made ‘fancy Toyota’ RX.
    Not sure about models, but In Canada the most selling luxury brand is BMW.

  • avatar
    Omoikane

    Your RAV4 numbers are wrong.
    http://pressroom.toyota.com/pr/tms/document/December_2009_PR_Sales_Chart.pdf

  • avatar

    You’d never know gas reached all time highs recently. Only two compacts in the top ten, and Prius is #15. Very interesting numbers. I would bet somewhere down the road the PU buyers are going to regret it. But I wouldn’t bet the mortgage.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      One big problem with today’s compacts is that they get only marginally better fuel economy than the best mid-sizers. Compare four cylinder Cobalts and Malibus and you will find a ONE MPG difference in their EPA fuel economy ratings in favor of the Cobalt. Stack the four cylinder automatic Corolla up against the four cylinder automatic Camry and you find that the Camry gets one MPG better fuel economy than the Corolla.

    • 0 avatar
      baldheadeddork

      I’m not so sure. The number of recreational pickup buyers have fallen off a cliff. The people buying them now need a truck and for them it’s a cost of doing business.
       
      To add to John’s excellent point about the small difference between compact and midsize fuel economy, remember that fuel economy improvements are relative to what you’re trading in. Compare the top ten this year with the top ten from 2005. One compact made the list that year vs. two this year. The SUV on the list in 2005 got 16mpg. The one on the list this year gets 24mpg.
       
      But it’s not just that there are more fuel efficient cars on this year’s list, they make up a much larger percentage of the cars sold. In 2005, the F-series, Silverado and Ram made up 52% of the total sales in the top ten. If you include the truck-based Trail Blazer SUV,  it goes t0 58%.  This year it’s 34%.  If you weight the combined fuel economy of each car in the top ten to its share of the total sales for the group, the ten best selling cars in 2009 were about 20% more fuel efficient than the top ten from 2005.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Why are the Corolla and Matrix lumped together while the Silverado and Sierra are counted separately?

  • avatar
    dmrdano

    I have used these numbers for years to argue with my Ford buddies that GM pickups outsell their F-whatever.  GM has made a huge marketing mistake by letting Ford make the “best selling” claim.  When they were closing down nameplates, they should have started with the 800-pound gorilla – GMC.  It is a division totally without purpose.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I’m still having a problem understanding GM’s logic in keeping GMC. The Chevrolet Silverado sold 316,544 units vs. GMC’s Sierra selling only 111,842. I don’t see how in the world the vast majority of those 111,842 GMC units could be up for grabs if GMC was shuttered. Clearly the Silverado is the prevelant choice and I have to believe the vast majority of GMC buyers would go with Chevy before they would defect to the Ford F-150, Ram Ram (?) or the Toyota Tundra.

    Also, the “halo” Malibu appears to be a bit tarnished when the cantakerous old W-body Impala is still outselling it. Talk about fractured marketing segmentation.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Back in the old days, GMC = Pontiac trucks. They also had a reputation for being more solidly engineered than the Chevy equivalent. That’s just a memory now but there are some folks who still believe it, and Buick dealers can’t survive on 100k sales a year.

    • 0 avatar
      50merc

      The old W-body Impala outsells the Malibu because it has better proportions. The Impala’s roof isn’t squashed, so it looks roomier and better to see out of than the Malibu.  IMO, Hyundai is making a mistake with the restyled 2011 Sonata’s doorstop-like profile.
       

    • 0 avatar
      RobertSD

      Actually, and this will surprise some, the last data I heard said that the GMC and F-series are cross-shopped more than the GMC and Silverado.  GMC buyers are not Chevy buyers, just as Mercury buyers are not Ford buyers… doesn’t mean that both brands shouldn’t eventually die, but now you can see with better clarity GM’s challenge.
      My guess is that if they shuttered GMC, GM might retain 60% of the sales.   Ford would stand to benefit the most of the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      The logic is simply, GMC can make minor modifications to the truck, which cost a bit more, and sell it for more.  GMC makes a good bit of money for GM.  That is the logic for keeping it, it makes money.

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      GMC Sierra sells at about the same rate as Chevrolet Silverado (sometimes ahead) in Canada.

      I’m not surprised to hear the Sierra’s cross-shopped with the F-Series.  The F-Series still have the “straight work truck” reputation that has more resonance with GMC than Chev.

    • 0 avatar
      dmrdano

      OK, all good answers.  See what a guy can learn while wasting time?

  • avatar
    friedclams

    I am surprised by the huge drop in Nissan’s sole entry, the Altima. I think that bodes rather ill for Nissan.
    Unbelievable that the Jetta outsold the Cobalt! (actually not so surprising from a price justification, but how many Chevy vs. VW dealers are there? Cobalt is dead even with C4C!)

  • avatar
    deanst

    some of these numbers do not look correct – (citing a source might be useful here!)

    Honda CRV sales are not up 70% over the prior year – both the 2009 and 2008 numbers look wrong
     

    • 0 avatar
      Juniper

      You are correct Honda press release CRV down 3% Both volume numbers wrong.
      Sorry to be a dick but I hate when bad data  is so carelessly published. Yes TTAC it is YOUR responsibility to get it right.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a problem with the data presentation… imported and domestically-produced models are listed separately, so the Rav4 and CRV (which are produced in the US and Japan) are listed twice, distorting the numbers. Thanks for pointing out the problem. We apologize for the error, and we’re working to fix it.

  • avatar
    Orian

    Don’t forget that the Fseries listing is just that – a total of all F series pickups, not just the F150. This has been an age old practice by Ford when it comes to sales numbers.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Nearly 100,000 Lexus RXes? I thought the economy was in the tank.

  • avatar

    Unbelievable that the Jetta outsold the Cobalt! (actually not so surprising from a price justification, but how many Chevy vs. VW dealers are there
    Would you buy a stick of chewing gum if you could get a nice piece of high quality chocolate for the same price?

  • avatar
    friedclams

    David, no question, but look at the rest of what I said. Given that the number of sales outlets for Cobalts dwarfs the Jetta equivalent, it’s all the more amazing. A friend just bought a Jetta, it’s a nice car (hopefully the reliability is there). He cross-shopped an Altima, which felt flimsy by comparison. Putting 2 + 2 together, will an ascendant VW rise at Nissan’s expense?

  • avatar
    imag

    I’m glad Mazda has something in there with the 3.  It’s a shame they botched the look on the redesign – it clearly dropped their total.  But still, hopefully the 3 can keep them in enough money to stay viable.
    When brands like Pontiac, Saab, whatever, go down, it’s a sad day.  But to lose the Mazda car company would be to lose an asset to car enthusiasts everywhere.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    Full size GM pickups top the market and deservedly so. GMC is perceived as a pricier more luxurious alternative to Silverado by many buyers. (Even though that is actually not so). Also, GMC dealers may be in areas not covered by Chevrolet.

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