By on November 7, 2014

2015 Honda CR-VIn October 2014, for the first time since March 2012 and just the sixth time in the last five years, the Honda CR-V was American Honda’s best-selling model.

Finishing the month ahead of the Accord and Civic, given their longstanding status as two of America’s best-selling cars, is no easy feat. Only a handful of new vehicles typically do so every month, including the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Toyota Camry, and Ram P/U. (The Civic also trails the Toyota Corolla and Nissan Altima this year.) Yet in October, the CR-V outsold the Accord by 2129 units and the Civic by 15,103.

Compared with 2011, when the CR-V managed this feat on three occasions, circumstances have changed dramatically. Or rather, the numbers have dramatically improved.

Honda averaged fewer than 20,000 CR-V sales during the three months in which it topped the Honda leaderboard that year, as the market was still in recovery mode.

Moreover, the CR-V didn’t even end that year as America’s top-selling utility vehicle, as the Ford Escape – which outsold the Honda in two of the months in which the CR-V led all Hondas in 2011 – took over the crown that had been worn by the CR-V in the four previous years.

Now, however, the CR-V is routinely putting up big numbers, averaging slightly more than 27,000 monthly U.S. sales, topping 30,000 units twice this year, achieving its best ever October in October of all things, and finishing six of the last seven months as America’s best-selling SUV/crossover.

American Honda Sales Chart October 2014 YTDIs there a deeper meaning behind October’s results? It’s not as though the Accord was unpopular, with an 8% increase and a position as America’s second-ranked passenger car. The Civic has struggled of late to match last year’s pace – sales have declined in four consecutive months compared with particularly lofty results a year ago – but with more than 24,000 October sales, the Civic is an extraordinarily common car. But yes, of course there is a deeper meaning.

Car sales in October were up nearly 3%, which was a surprisingly strong increase given the year-to-date improvement of just 1%. SUVs and crossovers, on the other hand, jumped 10% in October and are up 12% this year. The CR-V’s October status in Honda showrooms was simply a symbol, a rather large and shiny symbol, of a gradual changing of the guard in the market as a whole.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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62 Comments on “The CR-V Tops Honda’s October 2014 Leaderboard, Outsells Accord And Civic...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    They’ve had to grow each iteration to reach this sweet spot. Too big & clunky for me now, but perfect for the demo that matters.

    Go Honda

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      It is a family wagon now. And the added sales not surprising now with DI motor etc.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Like pete said, it’s too big and clunky AND boring, which obviously means nothing when it comes to best selling

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        A DINK couple in their forties from my church looked at the 2014 CR-V, but chose to buy a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4×4 with the V6 and the 23E package instead.

        They currently own and have owned several Honda vehicles, among them an Accord, an Odyssey and a Ridgeline so stepping away from Honda to buy a JGC was out of the ordinary.

        Biggest factor in choosing the JGC over the CR-V, I was told, was roominess, power, fun-to-drive factor and standard equipment. IOW, the JGC was a better value for the money because a CR-V with the same equipment would have cost more than what they paid for the JGC.

        • 0 avatar
          superchan7

          Isn’t a JGC around $40-50k? How can a CR-V cost more than low 30s?

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            superchan7, the range of the 2014 JGC spans $29K – $70K+. A Laredo 4×4 with the 23E pkg retails for less than $33K at full MSRP.

            Buying from Perkins in Colorado Springs, CO can often mean sizeable discounts off MSRP. People drive many miles to buy from them. Others go to Viva in El Paso, TX for similar girthy discounts off MSRP. For some dealers volume offset the needs to make a killing on every sale.

            My BFF bought a 2012 Laredo 4×4 from Perkins in Oct 2011 at a $2300 discount off MSRP, plus $500 discount from Fiatsler for being a retired military man.

            I haven’t heard of any Honda dealer discounting the CR-V, Accord or Civic. But they do discount the Pilot and Ridgeline in many cases.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      Fun fact: Today’s CR-V is less than an inch longer overall than the pre-Y2K original (from 177.6″ to 178.3″).

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    The sedan continues its slow march to irrelevance.

    I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but I will bet in a decade CUVs will outsell sedans for most marques. They just make more sense for more people. The folks I know who drive sedans tend to be single- as soon as families start, the CUV just makes the most sense. And with a range of CUVs from something basic like a CR-V to a Macan there is something for pretty much everybody.

    I still want to have a sports car or something of the sort in my household, but I have relented to the prospect of having a CUV in the house one day. I am really liking that Lexus NX. If it is quicker than my wife’s Rabbit 2.5 I’m sold.

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      I love CUVs and I cheer their rise to dominance but the notion of coupling quickness with something tall and heavy strikes me as risky.

      I drive like a sloth inches along a branch so I’m perfect for them.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      In most of the families I know, the father drives a sedan and the mother drives either a van or a crossover.

      No question the crossover’s popularity is on the rise, but I’d say suggesting that sedans will become niche players is a little strong.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        +1, Where I live this is law

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          Where you live has not yet been targeted for testosterone abatement. Progress takes patience.

          PS: Don’t buy Cabelas stock.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            Here far west of Houston I notice far more Civics than either Accords or CRV. Maybe it’s the effect of seeing a small car in the land of big trucks.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Well, the way I see it, all families will have at least one crossover. But they may have a sedan, or a pickup truck, or a sports car/coupe, etc for the other vehicle. Again that erosion of sedan volume may be offset by single folks who buy sedans. But IDK. CUVs are def a growing market whereas sedans range from slightly growing to flat.

        Keep in mind, outside of the US, Honda has discontinued the Accord, for the most part, and IIRC has even discontinued the Civic in Japan. CUVs also make sense in developing countries with crap roads, and sales of them in those regions reflect that. So there are indicators. We are a long ways off from sedans being niche- I don’t think they will go the way of the station wagon- but they will definitely decline market share and overall sales. My opening line was a bit of rope a dope hyperbole.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        A man driving a crossover suggests 1) he’s married and 2) she picked the vehicle. The exception is the Ford Explorer which seems to be the CUV with plausible deniability. Various Jeep vehicles also seems to escape from the car for women stereotype.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          In my case it would be because it is my wife’s car. Somehow I think the pink “13.1” sticker would give it away.

        • 0 avatar
          elimgarak

          I have to respectfully disagree. My brother bought a brand new crv at age 21 and we did a xc trip from dc to seattle in the middle of the polar vortex.

          I was anti crv but, it did quite well even in midwest snows and going up decent grades that were covered in snow/ice with oem tires.

          In the pacnw I see a number of guys in their 20’s who are more practical but don’t want a subaru buying crossovers due to the need to haul outdoors gear often.

      • 0 avatar
        DevilsRotary86

        So in my family I (the father) drive an Acura RSX and my wife drives a Honda Fit. Where do we fit in your paradigm? :)

        I guess if I think about it, we fit neatly just in miniature.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        Van guy here. Wife gets the sedan which also has the better sound system.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Crossover proliferation is nature’s way of informing people, that speed limits has not kept up with advances in vehicle dynamics.

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    OK, what am I looking at wrong on that pie chart? Cause I’m seeing that the CR-V was outsold by both the Accord and the Civic. 23 is still less than 24 and 28, right? I assume I’m seeing something wrong, I’d just like to know what it is. Thanks.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    This is not surprising. It’s a nice, well-built little rig. They always have been.

    The notion that they never quit gives suburban mommies and their concerned husbands the warm-and-fuzzies.

    Lest you live in one of them upscale neighborhoods. These guys are still big sellers, but the Germans suddenly become much more relevant in higher income areas.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      The Lexus RX is the volume leader in upper middle class with good public school type neighborhoods in North Texas. They’re everywhere here in Plano. The European brands start to dominate in the upper class country club private school type neighborhoods.

  • avatar
    rockets

    The Civic now seems outdated and boring. Hopefully the next one is bolder in appearance and performance, and I mean in just its more basic form. The CR-V, just boring, but it fits the bill in many ways for families now. I guess height wins. I have owned several Hondas, and I still like them overall. It will be interesting to see how the HR-V does in terms of sales and its effect on the CR-V.

  • avatar
    calgarytek

    Honda needs to undo the plastic surgery and associated weight gain the Civic has endured. It was a nice clean sheet design in 2007 but is an ugly car by 2014.

    If it looked like the ILX and had front double wishbones to boot as well as DI and a six speed manual, well then, WHERE DO I SIGN?!

  • avatar

    The “practicality” of CUVS is really just an excuse for laziness and obesity.

    Here are the stupid reasons people drive CUVS.

    – They don’t want to bend down to put their kid in a sedan
    – They don’t want to have to lift their fat-ass out of a low slung car they just want to go from recliner to vehicle without any change in position
    – They want to be at the same level as the Starbucks drive-through counter where they can get a venti six pump vanilla latte
    – They want to be able to just drive over pot-holes, bumps and angled driveways. No one wants to drive defensively, they just want to drive over everything without thinking about it!

    If the beautiful coupes from the 60s were the sign of American style and design, the CUVS of today are the ultimate sign of American obesity and laziness.

    And by the way, what happens to that “upright” seating position when EVERYONE drives a CUV and you can’t see above them? Maybe we’ll start seeing double decker CUVS soon.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      We also like automatics here, cuz’ we don’t like to shift.

      We also like La-Z-Boys to sit our asses down and not get up for a mid-afternoon snooze.

      Drink, smoke, build up an excessive amount of firearms and enjoy your stay.

      Welcome to America.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Here is a list of things that CUVs do way better than sedans:
      – they all come available with AWD
      – they *usually* have a better ride
      – more ground clearance
      – wagon form factor
      – usually have a flat floor in the back when a lot of sedans do not
      – many come with factory hitches for bike racks
      – most have factory roof racks which are great for bringing the bikes, skis, snowboard, canoes, etc along.

      For my small, active family, they are tough to beat. They get you most anywhere you’d be willing to drive a car, they have ample space, they aren’t to bad on gas. I daily drive an FR-S and I put my daughter in the back frequently, so I’m willing to deal with the discomfort for the 2 times a week that she rides with me for the sake of having fun the rest of the time, so it isn’t laziness or obesity that drove us toward a CUV for our family vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      No, the CUV is noting more and nothing less than a replacement for the station wagon of the 60’s. Those coupes you mentioned were not driven by moms.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        The wagons of the 60s were huge. It’s the minivan that replaces the old wagons. Unless you are talking about Crosley.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          I don’t think there’s any difference in the interior volume of my wife’s explorer compared to my mother’s Country Squire. The old wagon was longer but it was also much lower. Both have three rows of seats, but when you used the third row seating in the wagon there was little cargo room, not nearly as much as available behind the third row seat in the Explorer.

    • 0 avatar
      an innocent man

      It always fascinates me that people will take the time and expend the effort to get so worked up about other peoples’ choices. I have no interest in this vehicle, so I don’t have one. My sister-in-law has one and loves it. It perfectly fits her needs. Either way, so what?

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      As I haven’t tried any other CUV than my CRV’s, I can’t say this is always true, but for the CRV, I can promise you will still try to acoid potholes and bumps, the ride is pretty stiff to keep it from rolling in sharp turns. It drives more or less like any car that isn’t german (or like an old Audi Quattro) As for putting my kids in my older sedan, I don’t really like laying on my knees to fasten their seat belts, and it has no clearance for my head after I’ve fastened their seat belts so I basically have to crawl backards a bit before I can get up. I actually prefer 2 dr coupes to sedans when it comes to carrying children.
      As for those beatiful American sedans of the late 50’s through the mid 70’s. They did look (and sound) great, but they were movie props, with little usefulness (if any).

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    A sad day for the venerable 4 door sedan in the US market.

  • avatar

    Note that CR-V is so large nowadays that it freed a space for HR-V.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    The sedan punched it’s ticket by becoming a low rider. A sedan from the 50s/60s has much more ground clearance than anything comparable today.

  • avatar
    EX35

    Other than excellant expected reliability, I just don’t know what this CUV has going for it. I recently drove the new DI CRV and Escape back to back. It wasn’t even close, the Escape felt like it was in a different class. The CRV felt like a large econocar in comparison to the solid feeling Escape.

    I’ve never owned an “domestic” car, and I don’t know if I could trust a Ford, even with assurances that reliability is on par w/ Japanese makes, but going by driving feel and materials alone, it would be an easy decision.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      CR-V and Escape are worlds apart underneath the hood.

      Honda has a certain type of “feel” to it. Kind of like a Mercedes has a certain type of heavy, solid feel to it. (Apples to oranges, I know.)

      I’m gonna echo a commenter above, its what your personal taste is. You like the Escape, go for it.

      I have yet to see any Escape achieve cockroach status. You admitted your insecurities of having to trust a Ford yourself.

      I will say that YES, the Escape does have a quite premium feel to it. I agree with you. A friend of mine has a fully loaded model. Top of the heap. It’s really quite nice.

      But the CR-V won’t die easy. That’s why people love them.

      And by the way, YES, they did offer a 5MT base model Escape AND Mariner. I did drive a 2008 Mariner 5MT and WOW was that 4-cyl motor coarse (@ 120K miles on the clock).

  • avatar
    AprilFools

    “The CR-V’s October status in Honda showrooms was simply a symbol, a rather large and shiny symbol, of a gradual changing of the guard in the market as a whole.”

    What if the large rise in October, is in part a reflection of the CUV/SUV being popular format for a vehicle, and the other part being that the 2015 was released on October 1st and the increase is due to fire sales on the 2014, and needing to be the first to get the new shiny 2015?

    The Accord got the 2015 in August, I need to go an research it, but I wonder if it got similar boost during the debut month.

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    I think the color of that CR-V is “Basque Red Pearl”. Looks more maroon-y to me.

    Don’t dat purty?

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Has the rear seat gotten more comfortable yet? 5 years ago that drive us into a used RX. The CR-V, RDX, and RAV4 all failed rear seat viability. The Honda was the worst by far. This was the one factor that eliminated it from contention.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I’m very glad my wife dislikes large cars.

    Americans continue the march towards CUVs with unnecessarily high ride heights. Meanwhile, underappreciated “large hatchbacks” sell for $10k less than your average RAV4/CR-V. The $18k Scion xB languishes with mediocre sales and an interior from 2002, despite having nearly as much max cargo space as a CR-V. It’s all the car anyone needs for basic family transportation.

    What Toyota needs to do is add sliding rear seats to trade passenger/cargo space, 1 more transmission gear for MPGs, an interior update and finally $3k to the sticker price. Instant segment leader for $20-21k.

    …and that would eat into $30k RAV4 sales, so let the car sit as is and sell to the people who really want it. Convince everyone else to finance the RAV4.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    I have a hatchback real car, and I will give it up when you can take the keys from cold dead fingers! jk. Or when my nieces say I’m getting too old to drive.

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