Toyota, Nissan, Honda Duke It Out For Best-Seller Bragging Rights At Halftime
The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord were once bitter rivals for the title of “America’s Best-Selling Car”. The Camry is still top dog year-to-date, but the number two spot has changed. Meanwhile, Honda’s two core products rank third and fourth.
The Toyota Camry has a comfortable lead on the Nissan Altima at the half-way point in 2012. The Camry has outsold the Altima by 46,507 units so far, but the Altima’s real challenge could come from the Honda Civic. The Altima has a mere 425 unit lead on the third place Civic, which seems to be finally pulling away from the Corolla/Matrix. The compact Toyotas were also best (barely) by the Honda Accord, which is likely getting the royal treatment from the factory and dealers as a new model changeover compels them to get rid of the “old” model.
For the full table of the top 20 best sellers, check out Timothy Cain’s sales report
@APaGttH I couldn’t agree with you more on your Corolla statements, and as you can tell by the stories of loyal of Corolla owners facts and figures will not sway them, and for good reason. The majority of Corolla owners do not care how the Corolla performs in the quarter mile, or how it handles tight curves on a mountain road. What they want is something cheap and reliable. I also suspect the vast majority of Corolla owners possess two X chromosomes, and all they care about is that it doesn’t break down. Toyota perfected this formula and has been using it for years, successfully. Only when those who buy Corollas realize there are better products out there and that they are being milked for Toyota’s profits, will they change. Right now, the Corolla is a laughing stock of the auto industry, but it is cheap and reliable. Corolla owners think they are laughing their way to the bank, and they may.
I think most everyone is hitting on the same thing, but let me say it a little different way: Toyodas are popular because we as a society have changed. People supposedly want toasters, but again why? 1. They are supposedly reliable and cheap to maintain: Maybe, if you are driving is the same slow speed trip around town, or the easy highway drive commuters have, even in traffic. It's easy to keep a car reliable if you never put any stress on it, or make the car work to do something out of the ordinary. 2. It's easy to have a toaster if you fit in the same box as the car. If you are 5'10", with a spouse that size or smaller, with little kids, or no kids, then the box fits. The Toyoda and the junk pile Nissan is the true "people's car", at least if you are just like 'everyone else'. Don't tow anything, don't have needs for lots storage, and don't have needs for anything but the utilitarian choices the Toyoda/Honda/Nissan decides you need, and it may work for a long time. Maybe. 3. How many of those modern cars can be maintained by their owner? None of them. Modifying a car risks damaging it, or allowing the owner to do anything else but take it to the quicklube, the dealer or the car wash to sweep it out makes the car a risk for unreliability. So these manufacturers make the cars unrepairable by their owners, and it works as long as you don't stress it, or heaven forbid wanting to do something to it so it's your car. Keep the car in the manufacturer's 'sweet spot' of use, and it will last. Rah! 4. In my opinion, toasters would have real competition if a person could get a car they wanted. But as Bertel or jack wrote a few months ago, Ford has pioneered 'big 3 toaster making': You can go to your Ford store and only buy a car with a certain group of options and limited number of colors chosen by some bureaucrat at Ford. Choice? There is no choice. Joe average person can't get a car with a blue interior anymore, Ford wants to sell us toasters instead of something that makes it my car, something I want to drive in, work on, and care for. Everything is becoming the same... 5. Not only do they make cars on in certain ways for people based on some worthless statistical model, the quality of materials in a car is not what it used to. My "new" 2001 SAAB 9-5's interior totally blows away modern interiors in terms of quality, fit and finish. The old worn leather seats are better than new car seats, there are soft touch materials all over the place, not hard plastic everywhere you turn. There are neat little additions to the car that you don't find in any other modern car made today. Why? 5. The economy is bad or whatever term you want to use: Yes, the economy has not been good for a while. But in the past, people would pay a little extra for higher quality items. Now, for good or bad reasons (your choice), people buy the de-contented,cheap materials car because manufacturers would rather pay some slave laborer pennies to make components from the cheapest crap they can find then overcharge for it. Toyota and Honda make second-rate stuff, unless you fit the profile, where the cost-cutting and cheap 8th rate parts won't hurt too bad. That's not how it used to be. But now, being 6'4" means I don't fit well in a toaster with very uncomfortable seats made for someone 5'8". I drive lots of miles, way more than average, and I need space to carry materials and do my work. A toaster may last 200K but doesn't work for me or many people when they are not comfortable to drive, adjustable to different needs of owners and versatile enough to do everything a car needs to do. I hope one day somebody wakes up and makes a car that truly appeals to people and actually meets their needs. Along the same lines, I hope a car company decides to make a car again that people can take pride in owning and taking care of, then toasters like the Toyoda, Honda, and Nissan will disappear forever. One day a new niche car maker will change the market overnight, and lead us away from the common alliance car.
Corollas is like a cockroaches - prospers defiant of evolution while others got extinct at one point or another and it will survive nuclear war. Imagine if Ford model T still made today and was a best-seller. With Corolla is not a fantasy. Why? Because cockroaches are primitive, low profile and therefore indestructible.
"My “new” 2001 SAAB 9-5′s interior totally blows away modern interiors in terms of quality, fit and finish." My 2004 Saab with only 40k looks like ass with all the chipped rubber paint off the dash. Love the turbo though. I have to give props when they're due - the Camry, especially in SE flavor, is a more than competent hauler for the long run. Note that Honda is bringing out a sport-tuned Accord in a few months, so they feel the heat from Toyota. I love the engineering and driving dynamics of our German and Swedish cars. But I love the reliability of our Japanese car. It goes from point A to B with minimal pain. Sometimes that's all you need.