By on February 8, 2015

2015 Toyota Corolla S redIn January 2015, for the second consecutive month and the fourth time in the last six months, the Toyota Camry was not America’s best-selling passenger car.

But after holding the title in October and November – and the 2014 calendar year – the Camry ceded the crown to a sibling, not a rival, in January.


• Four top sellers post YOY improvements

• Hyundai held out of top 10

• Sixth-ranked Civic posts seventh consecutive decline


Sales of the Toyota Corolla jumped 20% to 27,357 units, 8658 more than the number of sales reported by the next-best-selling small car, Honda’s Civic.

Keep in mind, figures reported by automakers in the year-ago period were, for the most part, somewhat poor as a result of great weather interference. But the January 2015 figures recorded by the Corolla, for example, were strong not just in comparison to January 2014 but previous years, as well.

In the previous five Januarys, Toyota averaged 20,453 Corolla sales. 2015’s first month volume was 34% compared with that average.

Rank
Car
January
2015
January
2014
%
Change
#1
 Toyota Corolla 27,357 25,071 14.1%
#2
 Toyota Camry 26,763 23,332 14.7%
#3
 Nissan Altima 26,408 22,515 17.3%
#4
 Honda Accord 21,011 20,604 2.0%
#5
 Ford Fusion 19,694 20,717 -4.9%
#6
 Honda Civic 18,699 21,824 -14.3%
#7
 Chevrolet Cruze 18,693 16,828 11.1%
#8
 Ford Focus 18,478 12,003 53.9%
#9
 Nissan Sentra 14,395 9,127 57.7%
#10
 Chrysler 200 14,157 10,912 29.7%

Indeed, in a month that saw new car sales increase by approximately 8%, the three top-selling cars’ more meaningful increases translated to even greater market share. The Corolla, Camry, and Altima – America’s best-selling trio a year ago as well as last month – generated 14.4% of new car sales activity in January 2014; 15.1% in January 2015.

Among the ten top sellers shown here, eight posted year-over-year improvements. Seven of those eight reported significant increases, from the Nissan Sentra’s 58% (5268-unit) gain to the Altima’s 17% leap to the Ford Focus’s  54% (6475-unit) improvement. Granted, it would have been difficult for the Focus not to improve on January 2014’s disastrous result: it was the first time in 26 months that monthly U.S. Focus volume had fallen below 13,000 units.

January 2015 best-selling cars chartIn January of last year, three of the top 11 cars were Chevrolets. The Cruze maintained its seventh position, but the Malibu slid from tenth to 13th despite a narrow 0.5% improvement. The Impala, meanwhile, fell from 11th to 17th as sales plunged 23%. Ford Fusion sales are down 7% over the last three months. January was the seventh consecutive month in which U.S. sales of the Honda Civic decreased, year-over-year. The Chrysler 200 ended 2014 as America’s 21st-best-selling car. 2015 looks to be brighter.

Narrowly missing out on January’s top 10? The Hyundai Sonata (up 26% to 12,363 sales), Hyundai Elantra (down 20% to 12,240), and the aforementioned Malibu.

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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53 Comments on “America’s 10 Best-Selling Cars In January 2015...”


  • avatar

    Glad to see the Chrysler 200 on the list. Nothing else on that list offers what it does. It looks better than the rest, has better tech features than the rest and offers ALL WHEEL DRIVE.

    I see a lot of them on the road between Queens and New Jersey.

    I wonder when Toyota will offer an AWD Camry?

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Someone at work bought a black one. I’m not impressed.

      • 0 avatar

        My only problem is that it isn’t more spacious. I compare it directly to the Hyundai Sonata 2015. The Sonata is more spacious, but it lacks AWD.

        My second vehicle MUST have AWD, but it also must be spacious enough for me.

        If forced to choose between the two I’d have to have the seat rebolted a little further back.

        • 0 avatar
          mjz

          I think the 200’s biggest flaw is the stubby wheelbase. I think it’s around 108″ where the Fusion is around 112″. It’s a shame because the 200 is a sleek, eye-catching design. Maybe they will do an L version like they do for cars in China. A slightly roomier interior would make a big difference in this car’s appeal, and no doubt it would be higher up the charts.

        • 0 avatar
          bd2

          That has to do with the 200’s sloping roofline.

          While good aesthetically, sacrifices rear head room.

          The new Sonata sacrificed some of the style of its predecessor when it came to the greenhouse – looks more boring now, but improves headroom.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      The AWD Fusion Titanium is roughly the same price as a 200C AWD $30K

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The important feature that the 200 has and its competitors don’t is an advertised $4,250 on the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        In my area it is nearly $7000 for the loaded v6 models. $5000 for the limited 4-cylinder. Those seem like shocking numbers for a supposedly hot new entrant, and it’s been going on for months here, not just some holiday weekend sale.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I knew the Cadillac CTS & ATS wouldn’t make the list – lowest sales ever for either despite GM factually mistating sales volume:

      http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f15/cts-escalade-help-boost-cadillac-u-s-sales-195266/

      And look – get your $53,100 MSRP CTS Sedan 2.0L Luxury Collection for….wait for it…

      …$28,710 !!!

      http://www.gminsidenews.com/forums/f15/cts-escalade-help-boost-cadillac-u-s-sales-195266/#post4715346

      Go Johan de Zohan! Go Melody CT-Lee!

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        CMon DW there is no way the caddy’s make that list even if GM told you you could make them so they are DW approved, They are not suppose to be on this list, this list is mainly made up of cars way way under their list price.

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          I know.

          Admittedly (at least I’m honest), I literally just saw that thread on the gminside news forums regarding 40% off CTSs (and V-Sports seeing 20k discounts) and had to relay Johan’s “I’m gonna knock you out; no discounting anymore” Cadillac pricing strategy’s results somewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        The CTS and ATS didn’t make it in the top 10 SUV list either. They just can’t do anything right…

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      “I wonder when Toyota will offer an AWD Camry?”

      When there is a business case that warrants the investment.

      A more interesting question would be:

      “I wonder when Chrysler will offer a mid size family car that doesn’t require $5K-$7K cash-on-hood deals in order to sell?”

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Toyota tried that with the All-Trac, of which a number still are on the roads in my mountainous location. But the cost difference was a factor. The All-Trac cost $1400-$2000 more than the standard FWD Camry, depending on the pride of the Toyota dealer.

        Now Subaru rules the roost in my region with Symmetrical AWD vehicles across their entire range of vehicles.

        And we don’t even have a full-service Subaru dealer less than 120 miles away.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I had a 200C rental, and I was very impressed. With AWD, the Pentastar and that amazing interior, it’s a very good value.

          I really don’t care for the 200S though, Chrysler can drop that one.

      • 0 avatar
        Richard Chen

        The All-Trac was sold with the 2nd-en Camry and wasn’t available with the V6, IIRC from a showroom visit circa 1989. Also, added dealer markup.

    • 0 avatar
      MrGreenMan

      There were a lot of early remarks online about the 200 having a rear camber/toe problem that caused it to be extremely unstable at high speeds and/or cause uneven wear on the tires. I like the spec sheet on that model, but have you heard anything about these issues being generally fixed from the factory? I can only find reports of them working great after some non-trivial owner expense.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I see a lot of them on the road. But just as with the old one, pretty much every one I see has that telltale barcode sticker on the rear quarter window. Again just like the old one, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are pushing 50% fleet volume.

  • avatar
    hurricanehole

    After ignoring my advice about needing a hatchback for Home Depot runs and the dog my son bought a Corolla. He test drove four other makes. With student loan payments on going, price also came into play. The trunk is surprisingly big.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    There is really something wrong with the Civic when the less than stellar Sentra and the long-in-the-tooth Cruze both kick its behind. Honda needs to go back to what made that car so desirable way back when, I seriously doubt they can do it. Yet look at how well the CR-V is doing!!

    • 0 avatar
      Speed3

      Its called incentives, something Honda does not do. GM, Nissan, and FCA are basically making it rain with the amount of cash on the hood.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Actually, Honda has been doing it nowadays, just not to the extent of Toyota or Nissan.

        What also hurts is that Toyota and Nissan can take slimmer profit margins on their sedans as they make it up with their more extensive CUV/SUV portfolios.

    • 0 avatar
      mister steve

      My wife bought a new Sentra a few weeks back. She originally wanted a 2015 Honda Fit, but after test driving it she was no longer thrilled. The quality seemed a bit off, she wasn’t crazy about the short hood and it was a pretty noisy ride. She dismissed the civic because of the “different” dash layout.

      Her next choice was a Kia Soul, but she was put off by marginal gas mileage (23 city, but with a really short commute that was the best she could expect), and even with the long warranty wasn’t enamored with the Kia brand.

      She asked me about the Sentra. I did a bit of research and found no huge negatives for it as a commuter appliance, just what she was looking for. She test drove it and liked (definitely not loved) it. So far she’s been getting around 30 mpg, and the interior of the Sentra is downright roomy. It also didn’t hurt that there was a deal to be made with dealer discounts and rebate.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      Honda doesn’t care about selling the most. If they did, they’d be selling the most.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Incredibly when you compare Sentra with Civic, the engine, CVT and driving dynamics favor the Honda, yet sales are down, gotta be the cost, maybe?

  • avatar
    Joss

    Can’t believe zzzSentra…. and Altima out pacing Accord. Focus RS won’t help as it’s only stick. The only one that would excite me though. Since price hasn’t been announced I’m certain it’s a shocker.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Could be the Honda dealers, they still thing we’re in the 80’s and 90’s when their cars sold for MSRP + and people were fighting each other for the limited stock available.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      In my area, Honda products are pretty expensive and selection at dealerships is pretty thin.

      I believe they continue to sell to our predominantly active duty military, retired military, DOD-civilian and civil-service populace on reputation alone.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Look at that plucky little Sentra hanging in there. Ugly in a way that isn’t endearing, and with oddly shaped instant-backache front chairs, yet still finding a lot of garages.

    • 0 avatar
      BobWellington

      Yeah, it’s stuff like this that makes sales numbers so bewildering. The top three cars on this list shouldn’t even be in the top 10.

    • 0 avatar
      otaku

      I haven’t test driven the Sentra, but I’d bet the house that it’s probably a lot quieter than the Civic at any speed above 25mph. Nissan dealers might also be a little more flexible when it comes to asking price or the Sentra might offer more options than the Civic for the same price. Just a theory. Haven’t done the research to say for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      It’s amazing what the right incentives will do. People care about price, goodies, price, reputation for reliability, price, quiet, and price. What’s clear from this list is that they don’t care about powertrain or driving dynamics. At all.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    At least in my town, Nissans are huge in the Latino market, and that market seems to be growing.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      In my region, Nissan has displaced Fiatsler as the sub-prime loan leader of choice without regard to race, religion, creed, national origin, or ethnicity. If you have a pulse, you can drive a Nissan product. But Chevy trucks lead when it comes to our Latino market.

      The stronger the pulse, the bigger the Nissan product. Hence we see a number of one-stripe or two-stripe enlisted military people driving a Titan, Frontier, Quest, Altima or something else Nissan, even if they have to collect foodstamps and WIC to feed themselves and their families.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    p.s. – Someone left that Camry in a hot asphalt parking lot for too long and it melted.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    I’m glad to see FCA break into the top 10. If FCA doesn’t want to be a “truck company” then they really need to move some car volume. No excuse for the 200 and Dart not to be selling well.

    I’d really like to see FCA reconfigure the refreshed 2016 Dart’s content and engine options, priced in a way that is more competitive. If Nissan can move over 14K Sentras, then I don’t see why FCA can’t sell more Darts.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      The Dart is starting to pick up in sales. They sold over 8,100 Darts in January, which was a 61% increase over last year. I think a lot of people looking at the new 200, are realising what a good value the Dart is.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The Corolla is big (very big for a compact), cheap, and has all the latest toys. It’s really a smart product. I’m not surprised it’s selling so well. It’s just not aimed at anyone who cares about the subtleties of a car.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Sonata is up 26%. That’s quite a failure.

  • avatar
    MEngineer

    Always interesting data. A few observations:
    1. With most of this top 10, without the badge on the car, wonder how many people could tell who made what. Most are probably painted silver too.
    2. Toyota 2 cars, Honda 2 cars, Nissan 2 cars, Ford 2 cars. Easy to see who’s at least got their marketing act together. A little surprised the Nissan Versa didn’t make the list to make it 3 for Nissan… they sure seem to sell a lot of them around here. As others have pointed out, Nissan must be the new sub prime leader.
    3. Chevy Cruze is the only GM on the list. Down at number 7 even. “The car for every purse and purpose” company that once had over 50% market share in the US has sure come a long wrong way. Very sad. Surely, somewhere deep inside GM, there’s still a good car company trying to break out.
    4. Chrysler 200 at number 10. That, along with the success of Ram and Jeep on the truck side, and headline grabbing cars like the Hellcat, suggests that like them or not, Chrysler’s doing something right. For now. It’ll be interesting to see if they can stay off their traditional roller coaster.

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Agreed on point 3. Where is the Chevy Malibu on this list? For GM not to have a mainstream midsize car on here is inexcusable. They can’t bring the new Malibu out soon enough. Let’s hope they address the shortcomings of the current version, which like the Camry refresh, was a step backward from the previous edition.

  • avatar
    mechaman

    If the new Camry was designed to make me like the new Corolla, it succeeded…

    • 0 avatar
      mjz

      Agreed, the Camry “refresh” was an aesthetic step backward. That new grille is hideous, particularly on the SE versions, with that big black misshapen maw. The LE chrome version is slightly more acceptable. The other aesthetic sin is the addition of that shiny black plastic faux “window” on the C pillar. That’s just plain awful. I think slowing sales reflect the fact that the Camry is just an unattractive design overall.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I was very impressed with the new Corolla last year, and I’m looking forward to checking out the Camry at our auto show in 2 weeks.

    Toyota must be doing something to make me give them more than a casual glance… hmmm…

  • avatar
    tsoden

    I am surprised the Hyundai Elantra did not make the list. Value and space wise, I feel it is still superior than the Corolla. I test drove the Elantra and Corolla back to back, and honestly, I could not justify the higher price tag of the Corolla.

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