By on September 17, 2014

1. Ford F250 Charleston 2Ford F250 in Charleston SC

After driving from Washington DC through Virginia, North & South Carolina, we are now in Charleston SC. I know a lot of you live in town and have already predicted the type of cars I would see depending on which area of town I travel to. So I need to preface my observations by saying I spent some time in North Charleston, Downtown Charleston and Ashley River as this will impact the landscape I have observed.

Full Report below the jump.

2. Ford F150 Ranger Charleston 21973 Ford F150 Ranger in Charleston SC

The first observation is the strength of the Chrysler brand in this area compared to the regions I previously traversed, with the 300 and 200 (both the previous Sebring-facelift generation and the spectacular current one) more frequent as well as quite a few Pacifica indicating very solid sales when the model was still part of the Chrysler range. More significantly, Charleston is the first city where I could spot a very clear heritage of pick-up trucks with many older models parked throughout town, showing a decades-long history of domination of this type of vehicle.

3. Albert Charleston 1Albert pretending to be a big Charleston home owner…

And of course a lot more new pick-ups here than I have seen so far, with the usual suspects leading the way: the Ford F-Series is the most popular, with the Chevrolet Silverado, Ram and Toyota Tacoma also strong but not that many GMC Sierra or Toyota Tundra. Getting more granular, Charleston is the first city where I’m noticing the popularity of the F250 and, to a lesser extent, F350 variants as opposed to the F150. Ford doesn’t easily share sales split by variant, grouping each one into the “F-Series” nameplate, partly to ensure its best-seller the #1 overall spot each year, whereas the F250 and up differ quite significantly from the F150.

4. Albert Charleston 2…and again…

During my last US trip about 6-7 years ago, I had hardly noticed any other variant other than the F150. In Charleston, the most popular F-Series truck was not the F150 but the F250, sometimes in a 2-door variant I didn’t even know existed. This is a pretty significant evolution that seems to have happened only during the last generation of the model. Further cities visited along this trip will confirm that trend as you will see.

5. Dodge Ram vintage 2 Charleston1981 Dodge Ram in Charleston SC

2015 Ford F1502015 Ford F150

I am in touch with Ford US to try and establish the ratio of F250 and F350 within F-Series sales nationally, as this would be a great indication of where this trend is going. To me another hint is the new generation F150 which will hit dealerships this November, arguably closer to the current F250/350 than the F150 – confirming my observations. In any case, I am nominating the Ford F250 as the Hero in Town for Charleston.

6. Ford F250 Charleston 6Ford F250 in Charleston SC

There are also a lot more tradesman/base variants on the road, like the one I am driving – Albert is feeling more and more at home on this trip.

7. Toyota Corolla CharlestonToyota Corolla in Charleston SC

On the opposite end of the scale, Charleston drivers also seem to love particularly small cars, with a lot more Nissan Versa Note, new Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent here than up until now. As it has now been the case everywhere I’ve been so far, the new generation Chevrolet Tahoe / Suburban / GMC Yukon / XL is appearing in the streets way more often than its national ranking would lead us to expect. When is this going to stop and why is this nameplate not ranking higher overall?

8. Albert Charleston 3Albert in Charleston SC

One last observations is a surprisingly strong number of Honda Element, which seem to simply have been among the best-sellers in Charleston at the height of its career, as well as already quite a few new generation GMC Acadia. Next step: Savannah in Georgia. Stay tuned!

Matt Gasnier is based in Sydney, Australia and writes a blog dedicated to tracking car sales around the globe: BestSellingCarsBlog

9. Ram 1500 Nissan Sentra CharlestonQuick size check: Albert vs. Nissan Sentra

10. Ford F250 Charleston 4Ford F250 (previous gen)

11. Ford F250 vintage CharlestonFord F250

13. Albert Charleston 4Albert with one of his Heavy Duty bros

14. Chevrolet Silverado CharlestonChevrolet Silverado

15. Chevrolet Silverado vintage CharlestonChevrolet Silverado

Chrysler 200 Jeep Wrangler CharlestonJeep Wrangler and Chrysler 200

Dodge Ram Vintage Charleston1981 Dodge Ram

Ford Explorer CharlestonFord Explorer

Ford F150 vintage CharlestonFord F150

Ford F250 Charleston 1Ford F250

Ford F250 Charleston 3Ford F250 (previous gen)

Ford F250 Charleston 5Ford F250

Nissan Versa Note CharlestonNissan Versa Note

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22 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Coast to Coast 2014 – Charleston SC...”


  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    So did your travels take you through Jax FL?

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    One thing I don’t like about the Tradesman trim is that it is not available with RAM’s frankly excellent HIR2 based halogen projector headlamps. A must for anyone travelling on the highway after dark on a regular basis.

  • avatar

    I been out of the game a while but I believe there are greater tax advantages for businesses with a heavy 3/4 ton vehicle over a lighter 1/2 or 3/4 ton, it might explain the modern prevalence of higher capacity vehicles.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Bullnose F-250! The only thing that could make it better is if it were two-tone.

    • 0 avatar
      Onus

      +1

      I got one of these sitting at home. If i ever get around to getting it going again.

      Mine is a custom so it doesn’t have all the trim and its this sorta blue / green metallic cooler. Looks similar to the one above from a distance.

  • avatar
    old5.0

    I’m a bit in love with that blue regular cab 84(?) F250….

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    “More significantly, Charleston is the first city where I could spot a very clear heritage of pick-up trucks with many older models”

    That’s a sure sign that you have left the rust belt. You rarely see a pickup older than 10 years in Eastern Canada.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I always think of Charleston as the epitome of the Southern Gracious Living that people in the other parts of the country see on TV and etc. Like a Blanche Deveroe character, or Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Does this actually exist, or is it just imaginary and largely segregation and trash? I love a strong genteel accent.

    • 0 avatar

      I too love a genteel accent and to my ear South Carolina ladies have a particularly lovely lilt, no match to my wives cultured New Zealand accent, but quite enchanting to this Chicago born Northerner.

    • 0 avatar

      I live in Chucktown. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, is Savannah, doubt that anyone in Charleston has read the book. In Savannah, after a week, you will understand that the town has hundreds of characters described in the book. Its very Savannah. Charleston is a hodge podge of different communities. At the center and in its old heart you will find the lSouthern Belle, Debutante’s. The, which side of of South Broad do you live set. This crowd will drive around in those old pick ups you see, Sam Walton style

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    It’s real. You tend to get that old-South manner along the coast, starting in the north around Wilmington, NC and going as far south as about Brunswick, GA. When you hit the FL state line it becomes transplant territory, and the redneck density increases quite a bit down towards Daytona and points inland.

  • avatar
    SkookumFord

    Where are all the Panthers? Oh wait that would be North Charleston…

  • avatar
    haroldingpatrick

    Half of the cars you see in Charleston should correlate to what’s popular in Ohio. If you pay attention you will see mean spirited bumper stickers that say “Go Back To Ohio” due to all of the tourists and transplants. Many of the natives are not happy with Charleston being whored out by the tourism business as they have been priced out of their own neighborhoods. The problem in SC is salaries are low, so transplants from northern states think nothing of paying 200K to 500K for a crappy house because they have the equity from the house they sold up north. Good for them but bad for the natives who get paid SC wageg and don’t already own a house.

    My wife and I left for the upstate 16 years ago due to a better job market and most of our friends in Charleston have sold their homes to suckers, I mean transplants, and moved inland a bit so it balances out.

    It’s a nice place to visit, but living there has its challenges. Congestion, crime, and jobs are a big issue.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      My parents retired to upstate SC from Atlanta a few years back. They couldn’t be happier, and frequently drive me past homes for sale when I visit in a bid to get me to move. Lovely place.

      • 0 avatar
        haroldingpatrick

        The upstate is a really nice place to live, particularly Greenville. The weather is more tolerable than deeper south, although transplants are often surprised to learn that below freezing mornings are the norm in winter. Snow shovels are not needed, but ice scrapers are. Real estate developers are tuned in to their markets and keep housing affordable by building as necessary and profitable. We have just about every store you could wish for from Whole Foods to Cabelas. What little you can’t get here is just down the road in Charlotte or Atlanta. The Appalachians are at our back door and the beach is just 3 hours away.

        All that being said, I’ll retire to western NC and spend eternity in her soil simply for the natural beauty and more tolerable summer temperatures.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Seeing all of those pictures of Rainbow Row and the Battery sure make me miss home (Summerville, actually). Were you able to drive up 61 towards Summerville at all? That has to be one of the prettiest drives anywhere, period. Can’t say how many times I’ve driven that heading out to Wadamalaw Island to Camp Ho Non Wah (“our” Boy Scout Camp). And yes, we love us some pick up trucks in the Lowcountry (says the guy who’s wife drives a tC. Heck, I don’t even own a car myself right now living here in Saudi). Can’t wait to return to Charleston one day…

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @Matt,
    Next summer (US) I’m driving up from Miami to NJ and I will stop off at Charleston. I have been told there are plenty of fine eateries there.

    You do have an interesting hobby. Travelling around the globe looking at what other drive. What a job!

    I would also like to take the diesel Ram out for a spin, maybe next year when I drive up from Florida I’ll try and rent one.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Are a lot of these cars that you ‘see around town’ rentals? That white Versa Note looks to have a bar code sticker.

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