April 2015's 15 Best-Selling Cars In America – Not As "Best" As They Were A Year Ago

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
april 2015 s 15 best selling cars in america not as best as they were a year ago

The U.S. auto industry was projected to make 6% gains in April 2015, an increase that would have produced at least 80,000 more April sales this year than in April 2014.

Instead, April 2015 auto sales grew by less than 5%, and the industry’s volume improved by around 64,000 units. Auto sales are healthy, but why weren’t they quite as healthy last month as anticipated?

There are hundreds of factors to consider, from Bob realizing that new patio furniture was more important than a new Ram EcoDiesel, to the decreased demand for certain aging models. But if one vehicle category needed to accept blame, it would be passenger cars.

Car volume slid nearly 1.6%, according to the Automotive News Data Center, even as pickup truck sales jumped 8%, commercial vans shot up 12%, and SUV/crossover volume rose 15%. True, minivans are tumbling, but that’s not so much a reflection on the category as it is a symptom of FCA’s retooling of their Windsor plant. Setting aside the Town & Country and Grand Caravan, minivan sales were up 7% in April.

But April’s car sales declines were sourced from all manner of automakers, from best sellers and worst sellers alike. Nine of America’s 15 best-selling cars (Camry, Accord, Fusion, Altima, Cruze, Focus, Sonata, Malibu, Optima) reported year-over-year sales declines in April 2015, including three of the top five and six of the top ten.

From the leading Toyota Camry’s 10% drop to the 14th-ranked Kia Optima’s 6% decrease, passenger car declines were pervasive in April, a period during which all of America’s 20 top-selling SUVs and crossovers posted notable year-over-year improvements.

Yet exceptions to the rule weren’t rare. The Camry’s closest challenger in April was not a fellow midsize car but rather a fellow Toyota. Sales of the second-ranked Corolla jumped 10%, a gain of nearly 3000 units compared with April 2014.

The third-ranked Honda Civic posted its first YOY increase since June of last year, a modest but meaningful 3% gain.

The Hyundai Elantra’s April increase was its second consecutive.

Chrysler 200 sales more than quadrupled to 18,850 units – April 2014 represents a period of transition for the 200 nameplate.

The Nissan Sentra joined the compact car improvements highlighted by the Corolla, Civic, and Elantra. Sentra sales have increased in 19 consecutive months.

Finally, the Ford Mustang’s 81.5% increase, a continuation of a topic we discussed last month, meant Ford’s lone two-door accounted for nearly one out of every five Blue Oval car sales last month.

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

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  • Volt 230 Volt 230 on May 05, 2015

    Once again the Civic barely outsold the Accord but the Corolla just cannot quite match the Camry in sales, but I am sure it has taken its fair share of buyers away from its larger stablemate.

  • Raph Raph on May 05, 2015

    I'm waiting to see how the 5th Gen Camaro 2.0 does when it goes on sale. I expect it to put a dent in Mustang sales but I'm curious how the derivative styling of the 6th Gen will do? IMO I don't think GM rocked the boat enough where the 6th gen's styling is concerned. Also of note, when the 5th Gen Camaro rolled out in the first two months it topped 10k a month in sales. The Mustang in its first two months has eclipsed that so it seems Ford has struck the right cord here with the new car. I recently purchased a 2015 GT and it's a great car but as I like to point out to my Mustang buddies the new car is more BMW or Audi and less the musclecar they know. That died with the S-197 so we will see how things go.

    • See 3 previous
    • Raph Raph on May 05, 2015

      @bball40dtw It is but the alpha based 2016 car looks very similar to the out going 5th gen. Almost like GM ripped a page from the Smokey Yunick play book and is building a 9/10th sized car. Despite being based on an all new chassis the 6th gen's styling appears entirely evolutionary.

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