Cain's Segments: July 2013 Mid-Size Cars

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
cain s segments july 2013 mid size cars

In July 2013, America’s three favorite midsize cars combined to sell an extra 10,667 copies than they did a year ago.

Collectively, the best-selling Toyota Camry, second-ranked Honda Accord, and third-ranked Nissan Altima were up 12.5% in July. Midsize cars, as we understand them here, rose 3.4%. The U.S. auto industry reported an overall volume increase of 13.9%.

Slightly more than one out of every five Toyota brand automobiles sold in the United States last month were Camrys, in line with its year-to-date value. With a much smaller product lineup, Honda relies more heavily on the Accord: 27.5% of the Honda brand’s volume in the first seven months of 2013 was generated by the Accord. Nearly three out of every ten Nissans sold is an Altima.

Although the propensity of automakers to build their midsize sedans in the U.S. has all but made the notion of “Detroit cars” a moot point, GM, Chrysler, and Ford owned 24.9% of the midsize market in July.

We’ve included the somewhat premium-priced Buick Regal in that equation, not because the Regal is a perfectly direct rival for these cars, but because it’s arguably no more of a direct rival for the BMW 3-Series. Its presence here, not unlike the Volkswagen CC’s inclusion, doesn’t have a significant impact. Whether the pair is compared with volume brands like Toyota, Honda, and Ford or upmarket brands like Lexus, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, the Regal and CC are exceedingly rare. Sales of the Lexus IS, not by any means a top seller in its category, were three times stronger than Regal sales in July. The Infiniti G, during a month in which its sales were chopped in half, sold more than three times as often as the Volkswagen CC.

Back to the subject of more noteworthy nameplates, the Mazda 6’s 167% year-over-year improvement in July doesn’t yet come close to making the 6 a common sight. Ten new Camrys leave showrooms every time Mazda USA sells a 6. Still, 6 sales over the last three months have risen 125%. On the other hand, as the market shrinks slightly into the summer, so have 6 sales, falling from 3944 in May to 3840 in June and 3447 in July.

Jointly, Hyundai and Kia sold 32,655 Sonatas and Optimas last month. Sales of the can’t-get-any-cheaper Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger totalled 14,253. Subaru sold 10,456 Outbacks to go along with 3142 sales from its donor vehicle, the Legacy sedan. Toyota sold 2886 Venzas, down 28% year-over-year. Honda Crosstour volume slid 23% to 1450. What about unconventionally powered family cars? Honda Insight sales rose by one unit to 420. Less the C, Toyota Prius family sales climbed from 13,578 to 19,497. Nissan Leaf sales nearly quintupled to 1864 units while the Chevrolet Volt fell 3.3% to 1788. Ford C-Max volume hit 2700 units in July. reports that Toyota sold 4193 Camry Hybrids, Ford sold 2914 Fusion Hybrids, and Hyundai Sonata Hybrid sales jumped up to 2200.

Keep in mind, although the Camry, Accord, and Altima appear dominant – and they are, in a way – the majority of midsize buyers in July bought or leased something else. Indeed, so far this year, the best-selling trio has attracted 44.5% of midsize car customers, not the 75% sensation we get from seeing all Camrys all the time.


AutoJuly 2013July 2012July % Change7 mos. 20137 mos. 2012YTD % ChangeBuick Regal11871784– 33.5%10,00716,612– 39.8%Chevrolet Malibu12,47312,345+ 1.0%123,573153,782– 19.6%Chrysler 20081229287– 12.5%88,13778,389+ 6.1%Dodge Avenger61315188+ 18.2%67,14958,049+ 15.7%Ford Fusion20,52223,326– 12.0%181,668160,175+ 13.4%Honda Accord31,50728,639+ 10.0%218,367183,817+ 18.8%Hyundai Sonata18,90320,978– 9.9%121,913138,390– 11.9%Kia Optima13,75213,317+ 3.3%97,21086,475+ 12.4%Mazda 634471289+ 167%25,11526,658– 5.8%Mitsubishi Galant122576– 78.8%120211,202– 89.3%Nissan Altima29,53426,602+ 11.0%197,321183,703+ 7.4%Subaru Legacy31423321– 5.4%26,55027,593– 3.8%Suzuki Kizashi—526– 100%16023544– 54.8%Toyota Camry34,78029,913+ 16.3%242,406243,816– 0.6%Volkswagen Passat10,0519007+ 11.6%66,17064,072+ 3.3%Volkswagen CC10532198– 52.1%929610,955– 15.1%—— —————Total 194,726 188,296 + 3.4% 1,477,686 1,447,232+ 2.1%
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  • APaGttH APaGttH on Aug 06, 2013

    It is worth noting that incentive spending on Camry has ballooned to $3,100 - it is selling at about 20% to fleet, and you can lease a SE Camry for as little as $189 a month. Stack 'em deep and sell 'em cheap is fine if claiming volume, but it hurts resale value by artificially inflating the market. The real king of this segment is the Accord. Continued drive to volume with only incremental improvement will catch up to Toyota - you can only sell on perception versus reality for so long.

  • Tikki50 Tikki50 on Aug 07, 2013

    poor poor Malibu, look at what Dan has done to you.

  • Namesakeone Actually, per the IIHS ratings, "Acceptable" is second best, not second worst. The ratings are "Good," "Acceptable," "Marginal" and "Poor."
  • Inside Looking Out "And safety was enhanced generally via new reversing lamps and turn signals fitted as standard equipment."Did not get it, turn signals were optional in 1954?
  • Lorenzo As long as Grenadier is just a name, and it doesn't actually grenade like Chrysler UltraDrive transmissions. Still, how big is the market for grossly overpriced vehicles? A name like INEOS doesn't have the snobbobile cachet yet. The bulk of the auto market is people who need a reliable, economical car to get to work, and they're not going to pay these prices.
  • Lorenzo They may as well put a conventional key ignition in a steel box with a padlock. Anything electronic is more likely to lock out the owner than someone trying to steal the car.
  • Lorenzo Another misleading article. If they're giving away Chargers, people can drive that when they need longer range, and leave the EV for grocery runs and zipping around town. But they're not giving away Chargers, thy're giving away chargers. What a letdown. What good are chargers in California or Nashville when the power goes out?