The Other April 2012 Sales Number: Cars Loved By Enthusiasts Are Down, Crossovers And Boring Subcompacts Are Up

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
the other april 2012 sales number cars loved by enthusiasts are down crossovers and

Ford was America’s top-selling brand in April. The best-selling car was Toyota’s Camry. America’s favourite utility vehicle was once again the Honda CR-V. GM was down 8%. The Prius Plug-In out sold the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf. Fiat sold more 500s than they had up to this point.

These facts were either readily apparent from the get-go or made obvious by earlier coverage. Each month we break down all the data at The April 2012 recap is well underway. Here are some of the most interesting April 2012 auto sales facts which have been gleaned while sorting through the U.S. numbers.

The Ford F-Series is more than just the best-selling truck in America, it’s the best-selling vehicle line overall. 4% of the new vehicles sold last month were F-Series trucks, up from 3.9% in April 2011. Through the first third of 2012, the F-Series’ market share stood at 4.1%, a hair’s breadth better than it was during the same period last year.

Not all pickup trucks have fared so well. Some have never been able to fare well. The Suzuki Equator was down 10% to 151. Bentley and Maserati, two luxury brands lacking an SUV, both found more buyers for their highly exclusive and obviously expensive cars. Bentley sold 203 cars in April; Maserati 232.

Audi’s A7, clearly advantaged by its lower price, beat the Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class by 133 sales in April. Year-to-date, the A7’s lead over the CLS expanded to 401 sales. In what amounts to more of a head-to-head battle, the BMW 3-Series had no trouble overcoming the rival Benz last month. That the 3-Series can make a monthly routine of being America’s best-selling premium brand car is one thing, that it did so in April with a 2579-unit margin ofvictory over the Mercedes C-Class is another feat altogether.

As previously mentioned, the Toyota Camry, with 36,820 sales in April, was Americas bestselling car. Honda’s Accord trailed by only 1435 sales. In fact, the Accord of yesteryear, which you might recall included the unpopular Crosstour, would have beaten the Camry by 334 sales in April. Hyundai and Kia combined to sell 31,542 Sonatas and Optimas. Dodge and Chrysler sold 24,490 Avengers and 200s. These numbers serve to highlight the Camry’s dominance.

Buick sales slid 16% last month. Excluding the now defunct Lucerne, Buick sales were down by just 18 units and, on a daily sales rate basis, were actually up 12.4%. Lucerne-free these numbers may be, but they do include the Verano, a car which didn’t sell as well this April as the Lucerne did last April. Apart from the Verano, every other Buick was in decline, and significantly so.

The situation was similar at Infiniti. Thanks to the new JX, Infiniti sales jumped 5.4%. Sales of every other Infiniti nameplate fell off last April’s pace.Rather than increase Infiniti’s volume by 2079 extra sales, the JX was able to do little more than cover up the 1711 lost G, M, EX, FX, and QX sales. During a month in which Nissan Pathfinder sales jumped 26.5%, the JX outsold the Nissan by 22 units.

The Jeep Wrangler ranked sixth among SUVs inApril. Faithful Wrangler fans would say it was the most popular sport-ute, given that the five best sellers were all car-like tall wagons. This was the Wrangler’s best finish since September when only four utility vehicles outsold the Jeep.

Mazda’s new CX-5, on sale since late February, is the Wrangler’s utility vehicle antithesis. Though not at all as popular as the Jeep, the CX-5 sold 3.7 times for every single Mazda 5 sale in April. There are actually more Mazda 5’s currently stocked in the U.S. than there are CX-5s.

Chevrolet sold 174 Caprices during Ford’s second month of selling the Police Interceptor Utility and Police Interceptor Sedan. The policing versions of the Explorer and Taurus sold 667 and 547 times, respectively.

With its cars alone, Mercedes-Benz would have ranked as the third-best-selling premium brand in America in April. 14,231 Mercedes-Benz passenger cars were sold last month. Acura sold 12,175 vehicles in total; Audi sold 11,521. Add Mercedes-Benz’s R-Class, M-Class, G-Class, GL-Class, and GLK, and the three-pointed star’s total rises to 22,336. That’s 1274 more sales than BMW managed and 4785 more than Lexus sold.

Although the mainstream automotive press is keen to point out the Nissan Versa’s failings and the Mazda 2’s dreamy dynamics, consumers don’t appear to care. Nissan sold eight times more Versas in April, its low price helping push sales up 30%. In fact, though Mazda 2 sales are up 59.3% this year, its four-month total is 23 units less than Nissan’s April Versa total.

In between these two, you’ll see that sales of the Chevrolet Sonic are booming (that was too easy). The Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio were up 40.3% and 55.6% in April while Ford’s so-called fun-to-drive Fiesta fell 43.9%. The revised Toyota Yaris more than doubled to 4274 sales, 1072 more subcompact sales than Honda found with the odd-looking but enthusiast-approved Fit, which was down 60.5%. Even Toyota’s Prius C sold more frequently than the Fit.

Meanwhile, Mini, which now sells about 391 different Cooper breeds, barely managed to report a sales increase in the first one-third of 2012. Countryman sales are up 13.1%, but the Cooper Hardtop, Convertible, and Clubman have combined to lose 1069 sales, year-over-year. The Coupe and Roadster have stepped in with 1026 and 512 sales to help make up the difference. Mini sold 3129 Cooper Hardtops and Convertibles during Fiat’s best-yet 500 and 500C sales month in which 3849 Cinquecentos were sold.

And nothing else happened in April, other than the fact that the Scion iQ’s existence once again seemed to help the smart fortwo sell more frequently. And the cancelled Galant was Mitsubishi’s best-selling model. And Volkswagen’s Golf took over from the GTI as Volkswagen’s hatchback year-to-date sales leader, by five whole sales. And, in the real world, IKEA introduced furniture with integrated televisions and the Secret Service embarrassed itself.

Independent analyst Timothy Cain is the founder and editor of

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  • Felis Concolor Felis Concolor on May 08, 2012

    Nice numbers from Fiat, especially compared to last year's launch. It may not hit its projected 50K units, but it looks to be on a consistent path to 40K.

  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on May 08, 2012

    I would like a chart ordered not by manufacturer's name, but by sales number.

  • Bd2 The hybrid powertrain in the Sportage and Tucson are the ones to get.H/K should discontinue the base NA 2.5L powertrain and just build more of the hybrid.In the future, maybe offer a 2nd, more powerful hybrid (the hybrid 2.5) which will first arrive with the next Telluride/Palisade.Kia also needs to redo the front fascia for the Sportage's refresh.
  • The Oracle I say let the clunkers stay on the roads.
  • Jpolicke Twenty-three grand for a basket case? And it has '66 wheel covers and gas cap so who knows what else isn't original?
  • Scott Can't be a real 1965 Stang as all of those are nothing but a pile of rust that MIGHT be car shaped by now.
  • 56m65711446 So, the engineers/designers that brought us the Pinto are still working at Ford!