By on February 3, 2011

Wherever you fall in America’s cultural geography, you have to cop to one cold, hard truth: trucks sell. In fact, in a market experiencing such odd automotive sales phenomena as no Honda Accord in the top ten, Altima taking second in the D-Segment and a Compact CUV in the top six, it almost seems like the only sure thing anymore is the F-Series and Silverado selling at or above 30k units per month. Whether you find that fact comforting or troubling, you’ll be sure to want to know the truck’s secret to success… which you’ll find just below the fold (along with a more extensive best-sellers chart).

It’s gotta be the marketing!

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56 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: The Best-Selling Vehicles of January...”


  • avatar

    Generally I think that big trucks/sports cars compensating for small penis jokes are trite and cliched, but I have to admit that I laughed at this, perhaps because growing more testicles is a clever spin on a hackneyed joke.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I am astounded at how high up the list the Honda CR-V is. I never would have guessed it outsells the Civic, Malibu, Fusion or many others.

    • 0 avatar
      MrDot

      The CR-V is pretty much the default vehicle for smaller middle-class families.  It’s the perfect blend of crossover utility and Honda-esque economy and reliability.  At least that’s the perception.

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      CR-V was on my wife’s short list, the only reason it was booted off was the grill treatment.  She’s leaning towards a Equinox… guess I’ll have to wait until the next truck sales event in Trarch

    • 0 avatar
      FromaBuick6

      It’s a slightly-awkward blandmobile with hard seats.  But it’s a Honda and it’s an efficient, economical package.
      Plus,  my parents recently bought an ’11 largely because they figured the redesigned version would be, per current Honda practice, considerably uglier than the current model.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      It puzzles me why the CR-V outsells the RAV4, which at least has an available 280 horsepower V6 engine giving 0-60 acceleration in the low 6 second range with hardly any mileage penalty over the 4-cylinder.
       
      Oh well, the best vehicles in a segment aren’t always the top-selling vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      ” …. 280 horsepower V6 engine giving 0-60 acceleration in the low 6 second range …. “
      Which is totally irrelevant to the way 99% of owners use this class of vehicle.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Not everyone wants a gutless crossover (although buyers of CR-Vs don’t appear to care).

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      The reason the CR-V sells is because females like them. It even looks like a girl’s bike. You can hang a plastic pink basket off it’s god-ugly grille and it comes with large flower decals to decorate the sides. The interior looks like it was designed for Barbie with a giant flower steering wheel, flower pedal accents and carnation pink shag carpeting. My three year old loves the CR-V.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      If you actually go out and drive this class of vehicle and some of its competitors, then it is easy to see why the CR-V sells so well.   Really, go drive a CR-V and then a 4 cylinder Equinox.  Then stop by and give an Escape a spin.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      Reprise of the best TTAC comment ever: “Women with dogs.” (Credit goes elsewhere, I forget who.)

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      The RAV-4s I’ve seen with the V-6 tend to be more expensive than the CR-V. Most buyers of these vehicle aren’t going to pay too much extra to lop 2-4 seconds off a completely acceptable 0-60 mph figure.

    • 0 avatar

      MrDot, right on! Me, wife and small dog… the CR-V, Escape, Rav4, Forester are the best blend of economy, size and mileage for us. Ended up with a Forester, the CR-V was a close second.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    I expected to see one or more of the Versa, Fit and Yaris in the extended list. I suspect Americans really want bigger cars in the compact/midsize range. It makes me wonder how many  reliable, well-built, relatively economical full size cars could be sold if there were more choices. It’s a niche, but barring $5 gas, it could be a big, profitable one.

  • avatar
    djoelt1

    I learned from this chart that 17 of the 25 best selling vehicles were cars that were largely sold in four door incarnations.  There are far more models of cars then there are trucks, so the real comparison to be making to draw sociological conclusions is the number of pickup trucks sold in total vs. four door sedans, and four door sedans are far  more popular.  And the ones on this list are even pretty fuel efficient.  If you start classing the Ford Escape as a passenger car (it is, I imagine 99.9% of the things people do with the Escape I could do with a hatchback car), passenger cars dominate by a huge factor. This bodes well for future CAFE increases, since it tells me that the vast majority of needs can be met with a 5 passenger car, one that gets 40 or even 50 mpg.

    The future is so bright you have to wear shades!

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The mere presence of the Impala on this list is amazing, let alone at #7.  So much for enthusiasts’ opinions – utility is where it’s at, even if it’s outdated.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      Imagine if there was a wagon version.  Seriously, I’m not being a wise guy. 

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      My 2004 Impala has a ridiculous amount of cargo capacity, especially with the seats folded down.  A wagon could probably do well, though it’s way too late in the product cycle to introduce one (since the Impala is the last W-body still in production and is slated for the ax soon).  My next car will likely be smaller since my wife drives an Accord and is looking at replacing it with the Equinox mentioned above.  Too much car for a couple with no kids, I’ll probably be shopping a hatch though… I like having the space in the Impala.

    • 0 avatar

      Does Chevy have huge rebates on the Impala right now or something? It’s always been a reasonably good seller, but to see it outselling all cars except the Camry and the Altima is really quite surprising.

    • 0 avatar
      snabster

      Impala love is what Cougar love used to be….hard to explain to children in print….

    • 0 avatar
      view2share

      In Calif. it is a rental car or use for business fleet.

    • 0 avatar
      John Horner

      The majority of Impala sales are to rental and other fleets, so it’s spot on this list isn’t as impressive as one might think.

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      @John Horner: Fleet sales do not bother me at all; in fact, they may even be a compliment to the product deemed cost-effective enough to deploy in a fleet.  You don’t see many Jags or BMWs in fleets because nobody can afford to run them.  Besides, fleet cars eventually end up in the hands of ‘real’ owners, so it’s not as though they disappear into a wormhole or something.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      The Impala is, I think “mafia-approved” for trunk space at least. Being the so-far-proud-owner of an ’04 Imp, it does continue to intrigue me that the car continues to sell so well, but you do get a lot of metal for the money, and if I had to buy a car right now, it may just as well be a new Imp. I agree with good ol’ Educator Dan: the dream of having a wagon version would make those numbers soar! Now to the CR-V: we have an ’02 and wifey loves it, tho’ I would have kept the ’99 Stratus we had. I will admit the CR-V does come in handy. I’d take it over the RAV-4 – a friend has one, as the RAV interior seems to me to be manufactured out of cardboard and screams “cheap!” compared to the Honda, park-bench-hard-seats, easily scratched plastic, useless arm rests, lousy stereo, worn fabric notwithstanding! With apologies to Timbuk 3, I don’t think the future is all that bright, but I keep my shades close by, just in case! I am happy to see the Ford Fusion holding its own, too.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      The real reason the Impala is popular is because if they are not sold to Budget, Avis, Hertz, Enterprise as a car to rent, they are sold to very old people. This has replaced the Oldsmobile, Mercury and for some Impala drivers, their beloved DeSotos and Nashes. What the Impala has is room for oxygen tanks, wheelchairs, and dialysis machines.

      If you choose the “Senior” optional package, the Impala comes with extra large speedometers, extra loud chimes, and a cool catheter built right into the car so that you can urinate while you drive! The seats come with removable seat covers that can be bleached. The audio system comes pre-programmed with classic rock, big bands, and for some, polka tunes.

      What especially sets the Impala apart is the “Senior Driving” position. The washable seats swivel, recline, vibrate, and for those drivers too dangerous on the roads, allows their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren to give Impala drivers the sensation of driving by projecting street scenes onto the windshield while the car isn’t moving. The street scenes that are projected onto the windshield can be programmed to give the senior drivers the illusion of going to the store, going to church, going to bingo, backing over a pet or child, illegally passing school buses, and even has honking sounds coming from the back seat to simulate angry drivers yelling that they are in the wrong lane!

      So you see, this is why the Impala sells!

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      VanillaDude: Wow! You’re really on a roll here. Keep going, don’t stop now! BTW, my Impala’s seats don’t swivel – that was in the old Monte Carlos! Loved your post just the same, even tho’ I’m old!

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      I didn’t see your earlier post, and glad to make you laugh.

      My favorite Impala owner is 90 and has great WWII stories.

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    Wow, the Accord had a pretty bad month.  I can’t recall the last time I saw it out of the top 10.  And it can’t be because of a bad month for midsizers…the Altima, Malibu, Fusion and even the lowly Impala outsold it.
     
    Hey Honda…get a clue!  Your cars have finally gotten so ugly that they aren’t selling on reputation alone anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      VanillaDude

      The real reason the Accord has fallen on the Top Ten list is because the cars are built too well and are too expensive for Accord buyers to trade them in.

      Also, Accord buyers are misers. Accord drivers brag about how much money they save with their cars, how little gas they put into them, and how rarely they wash them. After thirty years of building Accords, Honda has finally reached every miser within the world to buy one. You often see very old Accords still on the road because the driver inherited the car from a miser, who often demands that the driver return the car as soon as they are finished with it because they don’t want to waste their 25 year old Accord by driving them.

      Accord drivers are often noted as environmentally consciencious owners, but the truth is that Accord drivers are environmentalists because they are misers. They recycle not to save the Earth, but to save their money. They recycle everything in order to save a buck. According to the most recent study of Accord drivers by Tuft University, the only bumper stickers found on Accords are those given out free to owners. Tufts also noted that Accord drivers recycle aluminum cans at a higher rate than other brand owners, as well as pocket the change those cans bring in.

      So you see, that is why Accords have fallen down the Top Ten list. Not because they are ugly, but because Accord buyers are too cheap to trade their old Accords in.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    The Chevy Cruze came close to selling at the same level as the Honda Civic and outsold Jetta, Prius, Elantra, Senta and Focus.  We can add that is outsold the Forte, Versa, Yaris, Fiesta, Fit.  The Cruze only needed to sell about 15 more units a day to crack the top ten.

    The last inventory data I saw on Cruze had it under 30 days turn, which indicates a strong seller, not a fleet queen.  But that data was about 60 days ago so the playing field could have easily changed.

    No Honda Accord in the top ten and the Corolla is the top selling sedan.  America, what the Hell is wrong with you?!?!?  Heck the Accord is fighting for its life on this list with the Sonata not just in the rear view mirror, but riding its aging bumper.  If Hyundai could build ’em faster…

    Not a single B segement car in the top 25 and the Prius down at number 19.  Safe to say that with the national average for a gallon of gas at $3.25 – Americans don’t give a crap about the cost – for now.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      Americans are not entirely ignoring economy.  There isn’t one car you mentioned that won’t get 30 mpg on the highway in some version.
      Everything on the best seller list except the full size pickups will get 25 mpg highway.
      A long way from everybody driving a Prius or a Yaris, but not the Explorer and Suburban frenzy of a decade ago either.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      Fullsize pickup economy is increasing as well.  You can get a full four door 2011 F-150 that gets 17/23mpg with a 300hp V6.  That’s better fuel economy than my sedan with a 210 hp V6 gets.
       
      For me, the rule of thumb has always been that as long as I can get around 20mpg combined, I’m good to go.

    • 0 avatar

      It is amazing how efficient F-150 is in this generation. This really put the screws into the flesh of Ridgeline, leaving the live-axle stoneheads aside. Of course it all comes at a price. For example I heard some whining about some magnesium alloy component in front of F-150 that invariably gets crushed in any kind of minor mishap and then costs a small fortune to replace. But still, amazing.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      I’m highly suspect of any of these 4WD full size trucks claiming to do much better than 18mpg in the real world.  Everyone I know that drives a full size truck ends up around the advertised combined fuel economy rating in our beautiful all-highway driving conditions.  Fuelly seems to agree (granted, these are 2010 models mostly and not 2011, but most of these trucks are rated in the 19-20 range).  http://www.fuelly.com/car/ford/f-150/all
       
      I dunno.  To me, physics says that 5000+lb vehicles making 300+ hp aren’t going to regularly see 20+ MPG.  Note: I’m not picking on Ford.  It seems like Ford, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, and Nissan full size trucks are much more realistically around 16 or 17 mpg than the advertised 20+.  It makes sense.  They all weigh 2.5 tons, make 300hp or so, and have terrible aero.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Quentin,

      Twenty plus MPG does defy common sense in a 2.5 tonner and I’ll spare you my anecdotal evidence but can you explain why a 2010 Explorer Sport Trac with the V8 option get better EPA MPGs than the V6 Sport Trac (autos.yahoo.com)? Solve for X

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      The v6 Sport Trac used a 5 speed auto, the v8 had a 6 speed. 

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      NulloMudo,

      Thanks but even if the V6 Sport Trac ran the V8’s 6 speed and got the same MPG, doesn’t it still defy logic in the one track minds of the greenies?

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      RE the Sport Trac I’d guess it has to do with power to weight ratio.  Sort of like the early 2000’s Silverado’s with the 4.3 V6 and 4.8 V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Denver – number of ratios and ratios.  If you look at a lot of the 4cyl trucks, you’ll notice that most of them have far more aggressive gears than the V6 model that usually has more ratios.  Shocking that car companies would hamper the smaller, cheaper engine’s fuel economy compared to the more expensive model. ;)

  • avatar
    spyked

    Why do they say Camry/Solara?  Is Toyota still selling old Solara inventory off?  It’s been two years since they actually produced one, right?

    That is crazy how close the Jetta is to the Accord.  Are those 10 Jettas or 11?  Honda has finally done it – made their cars so ugly that the Camry is better looking!  The Accord was in Top 10 for the 03-07 version, back when we thought it was surely the ugliest Accord possible.  Should have known better.  Compared to the current gen Accord, the 03 Accord, inside and out, looks positively Euro.

  • avatar

    I ain’t gonna lie. That video cracked me up.

  • avatar
    AJ

    When gas hit $4 a gal. I was one that went and bought a new Civic Coupe. Sure it was in part due to the cost of gas, but also to keep commuting miles off of my Jeep Wrangler. However after two winters of driving a Civic, I hate it. In fact thanks to that midwestern ice storm my Civic has been stuck in the driveway and I’ve been driving the Jeep. I’ll never buy another small car again. Screw gas prices. :)

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Well now you know why the Accord wagon is no longer around. Too many Honda people buying those cute yute truck wanna be CRV’s. Still haven’t figure out what they are supposed to be good for.

    • 0 avatar
      tparkit

      “Still haven’t figure out what (CRV’s) are supposed to be good for.”

      – all-wheel drive for the winter.
      – high seating position, for better visibility than a car.
      – slide-in-and-out seat height… much easier for an older person to get in and out.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      I can only speak for myself and our 2002 CR-V – it’s our $22,250 picnic table! The new ones eliminate that. Ours does carry a lot of stuff and wifey loves it, so that explains that!

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I too am blown away by the CR-V sales.  While I am a sports wagon lover, I enjoy sitting higher up and good visibility, and like the ride height especially during our infamous Texas rainstorms.  Thus, a compact crossover makes great sense.
     
    Management:  I’m an idiot and am attracted to shiny.  How about making the current sales in red, and last year’s in gray?  Just a thought.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Wow, how the Accord has fallen. Once upon a time it was consistently in the hunt with the Camry for best selling car, now it is way back in the pack and only a few units ahead of the Sonata. The Camry’s last redesign was five model years ago while the current Accord is only on model year #3.
    Honda, you have MAJOR problems.
     

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      Not so fast there, John.
       
      https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/01/the-truth-about-the-ten-best-selling-sedans-of-2010/
       
      Honda and Toyota sell an identical number of Accords and Camrys once fleet sales are removed. Kudos to Honda for eschewing low-profit fleet sales that hurt their residuals on the used market.

  • avatar
    Jack Baruth

    Just so you all know, this month’s CR-V sales were 68% higher than the previous best CR-V sales month. This is an outlier, not representative of how the model normally does.

  • avatar
    kkop

    I think it’s time for TTAC to do a piece on car sales by country of origin (of the owner that is).
    That would probably explain the popularity of the Corolla; around here there are many Indian immigrants working for IT companies.  I’d say 80% of them own a Corolla, most of them it seems as a second car for the wife.
     

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    The real reason Toyota sells so many Camrys and Corollas is because they have mastered the art of making their cars as though they are McDonalds hamburgers. So, like McDonalds, Toyota has learned to make somewhat digestible flavorless automobiles that their drivers buy because they were hungry for something and couldn’t think of anything else. According to a recent auto study by the University of Seattle, 78% of Toyota drivers didn’t know what kind of car they drove. Additionally, the Toyota drivers couldn’t tell the survey why they bought their car, other than the fact that they needed a car.

    Additional UOS results on Toyota drivers:
    1.) Thought that the brand name of their vehicle was “car”.
    2.) Did not know that cars came in colors other than gray, white, dark green or red.
    3.) Could not find the engine bay on their Toyotas.
    4.) Believed Toyota was an American car company.
    5.) Willing to upsize their Combos.
    6.) Thought Toyota was the only brand of car available.
    7.) Willing to follow other Toyota owners off a cliff.
    8.) Average age of a Toyota driver was 78 years of age.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    Your comments are funny, VanillaDude. My only concern is that they will come up in Google searches and your “data” will be cited in research papers.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Who is buying all these trucks? Seriously this makes almost no sense: housing marketing in the dumps, semi costly gas, plenty of good used vehicles available. Mommy driving SUVs, CUVs and minivans… and CR-Vs it seems. Everyone else driving Camrys or Corollas. So once again who is buying all these trucks? Mike Rowe want-a-bes?
     
    Also shouldn’t the Silverado and Sierra be combined? They are the same darn thing with a different grill.

    • 0 avatar
      MrDot

      There’s always going to be a need for work trucks.  Now that the economy is supposedly picking up, perhaps there’s some pent-up demand as businesses look to update their fleets after holding off for the past couple of years.

  • avatar
    mattfromOz

    Hey guys,
    As a complement to this article here is the Top 50 best selling models in January: http://bestsellingcars.wordpress.com/2011/02/05/usa-january-2011-chevrolet-cruze-12/#more-2918
    Enjoy!
    Matt

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