By on June 6, 2015

USA midsize car sales chart May 2015

Through the first five months of 2015, the Toyota Camry opened up a lead of nearly 36,000 units over the Nissan Altima in the race to end the year as America’s best-selling midsize car.

Aside from popularity, the Camry and Altima – as well as nearly every intermediate car on the market – share another factor in common: their sales are declining.

Year-over-year, U.S. sales of midsize cars are down nearly 4% so far for 2015. The Chrysler 200’s 133% year-over-year increase (and FCA’s 22% overall midsize improvement) stands out, not just in the category, but among the five leaders. Each of the four better-selling cars in the group are sliding, from the Camry’s 2% drop to the Altima’s 5% decline, the Accord’s 16% plunge, and the Fusion’s 7% decrease.

2015-chrysler-200-05

The second-ranked Altima is now 14,344 sales ahead of the third-ranked Accord, causing us to wonder if the real race is for third spot, as the above chart indicates. The Ford Fusion trails the Accord by only 520 units but has been outsold by the Honda in each of the last two months.

The Altima last outsold the Accord on a calendar year basis in 2011.  If the current pace holds, 2015 will be the Camry’s 14th consecutive year atop the leaderboard. The five best-selling midsize cars in America accounted for 69% of the category’s sales through the first five months of 2014; 67% so far this year.

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 and on Facebook.

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49 Comments on “Chart Of The Day: U.S. Midsize Car Market Faltering, Leaders Earning Greater Market Share...”


  • avatar

    Decreases in the face of CUVs increasing? I’m not too surprised by this. Plus, add to the fact that most of these models are now in their ‘midlife’ stage. Pre-facelift, but on the market for a few years. The Fusion, Altima, and Accord are all in that category. The Accord also suffers from a) conservatism in a segment of increasingly showy options and b) next to no fleet sales (especially in the face of strong fleet sales for the Camry, Fusion, 200, Malibu, and Altima).

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      Oh My MPGs!

      The increase in MPGs for CUVs has had the negative effect of making them more popular (and/or reasonable) IMO. This means our fuel usage for the entire market could go up as people move away from more efficient cars to improving CUVs. So much for continued fuel demand drops in the U.S. market. The U.S. consumes more petroleum then China and India combined (that is 2.5Billion people vs. 0.315 Billion!). Global warming here we come!

  • avatar
    thornmark

    And yes the Accord is still the retail sales winner 20+ years running.

    OT, but I noticed someone comment on the other site about the Impala being the sales winner in the full size market yet that includes heavy heavy fleet sales of the old Impala “Limited”. The fact that GM refuses to break them out would lead one to suspect that sales of the new Impala are rather unimpressive and probably not class leading.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      I wouldn’t read too much into it.

      There are a number of makers that never broke out numbers for Model X and Model Y.

      Toyota rolled the Matrix number in with the Corolla, calling it a Corolla wagon. Had GM counted HHR the same way, the Cobalt/HHR would have been the best selling compact – by the numbers.

      Not picking on Toyota, just an easy example.

      GM not breaking out the Impala numbers is a bit wonky in the sense that the fleet special is W-Body, and the new one is Epsilon II. In the Toyota example above, at least they were the same platform (as was the Cobalt/HHR – hence the analogy).

      But again, meh, I wouldn’t read too much into it. I’ve done a bunch of travel lately and I’m not seeing many Impalas on the lot anymore period – W-Body or Epsilon. Three years ago they were ubiquitous – ordered a full sizer, you were likely getting an Imp.

      The last trip I took I was stunned on how many Mazda6 were in the wild with barcodes in the back windows. I didn’t know Mazda was playing the fleet game.

      • 0 avatar
        Liger

        I was bored yesterday so I drove a beautiful 2016 Mazda6 at the dealer that had every option possible. It wasn’t that great, it was slower than my Escape titanium, didn’t have as many features as the escape, and just seemed old. The engine wheezed to life when the salesman started it, the infotainment screen seemed dated, it was slow, and was kind of cramped inside. All the salesman talked about was it’s 40 mpg highway with ieloop (?), yet he couldn’t explain how that feature worked. For the hell of it I looked at a loaded Chrysler 200 S AWD. Omg it was beautful inside, the interior looked way more modern with the gauge cluster, switchgear and infotainment screen, it had all the same options as the mazda + a V6, awd, panoramic roof, plus lots more for 4k more; but dealers are taking 25% off in my area, so actually its cheaper. It only got 29 mpg highway, but with gas at $2.49 a gallon, idc. I can see why nobody buys the mazda and 200 sales are growing.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I will throw this out there for consumption.

      By far the best value out in new car land at present is the Toyota Camry SE for around 20k (real price) or Honda Accord LX for 20k (real price).

      Both the cars are as good as, if not better (interior room, reliability, even build quality), than many cars costing twice as much (I was shocked at the improvement Toyota made to the solidity of the Camry SE, to the point that it’s a car built superior to a Cadillac ATS).

  • avatar
    Fred

    You can believe anything you want about the Camry, but if Toyota is willing to deal then people will buy this car all day and be happy.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      The one thing defying gravity on the Camry is despite low ATP, despite give away leases, low interest, rebates that at times rival Detroit, and heavy dealer discounting in a cut throat market, the resale value continues to hold the line.

      At some point the supply/demand curve has to get out of wonk — economics always, eventually, takes over, and about 65K Camry’s go to rental lots a year.

      I’m with thornmark above – the Accord is the really impressive story being the retail lead vehicle and done with minimal rebates, discounts, and very limited fleet sales.

      • 0 avatar
        wsn

        It’s easy to understand. For practical cars, resale has nothing to do with fleet sales and initial discount. It’s more of gauge of long term reliability and expected cost to operate as a used car.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Accord – really low rebates?? When I went midsize car shopping late last year the Accord Sport (auto) was $20K, that is over $5K off MSRP. The Accord LX would be even cheaper. That was also with 0.9% APR for 3 years. So there are offers on the car. It is a great car and deserves sales success but lets not say they are offering virtually nothing in the way of incentives.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Never forget that the wagon (CUV) versions of these cars are very popular due to the wonders of platform sharing.

    Kudos to Chrysler for being able to increase sales in an area many thought they had no hope of competing in.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It’s a shame FCA apparently is running out of gas to invest in their products to keep up with the competition.

      If the current announcement of road map delays hold true, the 200 will be sadly outclassed again in a few years.

      I’ve heard very good things – buddy had one as a rental at my wedding and he was pleased. Wouldn’t go out and buy one tomorrow, but thought it was very nice.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yup. If you think about it from a platform standpoint, its all DaimlerChrysler era stuff with the exception of a few Fiat platform models.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          200 is actually a pretty good car, especially in the C version. The C interior is downright luxurious and rivals Audi/Mercedes, no joke. The quality of the leather is supurb.

          I’ve had a base 200 4-cyl and a 200C V6 as rentals. The basic car wasn’t bad, it drove fine, was comfortable and fit a lot of luggage. No faster/slower than a similar Camry/Altima /Accord. A good rental car is all areas. The 200C V6 though was luxury-like. The interior was gorgeous and I loved the dash. It was pretty darn quick with the Pentastar under the hood.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            No, it is significantly slower than a Camry or Accord. Check the numbers!

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Just checked. These are the figures I was looking at, feel free to correct me, the sources aren’t perfect.

            Accord 4-cyl: 7.5s
            Camry 4-cyl: 7.6s
            200 4-cyl: 8.5s

            So on paper, there’s a difference but in the real world, how big of a difference does one second make in a family sedan? I couldn’t even tell driving the rental.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Not insignificant IMO. 8.5, That’s more-so Civic/Corolla territory than the current midsize class. My gf’s Camry definitely has noticeably swifter acceleration than my Civic, even with the Civic being a stick shift.

    • 0 avatar
      mdensch

      Is everybody forgetting the Chrysler 200 sales were just ramping up last year at this time? Pat them on the back if they’re still posting increases antwhere near this a year from now.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Once you ride high, it’s fine if these die.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    People buying Altima? Pathetic car

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      Seriously I wonder the same thing. Tinny cheap feeling…can an altima driver explain the altima logic to us?

      • 0 avatar

        “I went to a Nissan dealer, the F&I guy held a mirror up to my mouth, it fogged up, so now I have an Altima SV.”

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        My neighbor has one, the only positive remarks she makes about it is the MPG. I always think to myself “well, there are far better cars that get similar MPG” and “its not as though the Altima is alone in having good MPG”, but I bite my tounge because she already knows I have 0 love for her car and I dont see the point in reminding her of it.

        I dont see the point in financing a new car to replace a perfectly good one and saying you did it soley because of MPG. Makes no sense to me to pay $300 (+/-) a month to save $13 in gas during the same month. The logic escapes me. “Well, I just spent tens of thousands of dollars to get 30 mpg instead of 28, in a smaller and less comfortable car that I really dont care for.” Really? Would you sell your paid-off house in order to finance a new (smaller) house so you can save $20 a month on electricity? No. So why do you do it with a car?

        I can understand buying a commuter (if your commute is long enough to justify it, and then Id buy something for cash rather than finance) or replacing a large vehicle that is no longer needed with a smaller one, like if the kids get old enough to have their own car(s) so you no longer need a Tahoe to shuttle them around in and you buy an Escape or something. Also, if your larger vehicle simply must be replaced due to mechanical failure or a crash and you decide to buy something with better MPG.

        I did something similar when my very high mileage Aerostar blew a head gasket (probably my fault, I ran it hot one day because I was too impatient to wait for help when a heater valve cracked and leaked coolant). I decided that I wanted a car instead of another van or SUV (previous vehicle before the Aerostar was an Isuzu Trooper). But, I got a car Ive always liked, one that is roomy, comfortable and that has reasonable power with decent MPG. I dont feel like I gave up anything except the ability to camp inside my vehicle (which I very rarely did anyway with the Trooper or A-star). I cant tow (much) or haul large cargo with the Taurus, but later I plan on picking up a basic little truck, like a Mitsubishi Mighty Max or maybe a Honda Acty if I can find a decent affordable one, for stuff like that.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          People aren’t buying Altimas because they’re the best car, they’re buying them because Altimas are the best DEAL.

          A loaded one is seriously cheap. They’re reliable too.

          I’ve had them as rentals. They’re not bad cars. Not as good as an Accord, certainly but I wouldn’t complain if Enterprise handed me the keys to one.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            The same could be said of the Camry. It isnt the best midsize car, its just the best selling one. As others have mentioned, Toyota is doing exactly what Ford did with the Taurus in the 1990s: chase that best-seller title no matter the cost (as in large incentives, dumping into fleets, etc). I believe this is the wrong long-term plan, and itll eventually catch up to them. I find it amazing that the car is able to ride the preception (rather than the reality) that its a better car for this long. Then I see Camry drivers who are oblivious to whats going on around them, making stupid decisions in traffic (jumping into a lane that is blocked ahead so they can pass one more car before they cut them off to “win” the commute), talking and texting, parked in the left lane doing 5 mph under before they cross three lanes at once to make their exit, etc and then I realize that these people get what they deserve. I get the feeling that if the “new” Camry was released as another brand’s car (like put Hyundai badging on it), it would be shunned and dumped into rental fleets even more than it is now. People are buying the name, the actual car is beside the point.

            Ford has the right attitude with the Fusion now: build a better car and pursue higher transaction prices rather than the best seller title. Honda has pretty much always done the same with the Accord, and its continued success (in the retail market) over the past few decades is the result.

          • 0 avatar
            3800FAN

            Their reliability is nothing to brag about but I think your right about the deal part. People always value the deal over the product. Look how many Crapaliers gm sold for so long.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        You can get the V6 with a stick!

        …oh wait, that was in 2009. Nevermind.

    • 0 avatar

      My friends were planning to buy Fusion but ended up buying Altima. They are gushing how cheap they got the top trim. I do not know what they consider a top trim but it is they same car I got as a rental two times in row. With basic 4 cyl. Very fuel efficient though, esp compared with Fusion. Yeah there are lot of Altima rentals, they are difficult to avoid. Most cars I got as a rental were Nissans. If anything Altima is probably least reliable midsize – just check at Truedelta.com

      • 0 avatar
        thornmark

        Nissan is doing the same thing w/ the Rogue – selling a cheap generic-like vehicle w/ a KMart aura. Around here there all seem to be driven by teenage girls and old people – and the former driving like moving road hazards on crack.

        The entire Nissan brand seems to have a KMart aura – so much so that the Koreans seem to be a step up now. So much different from the days when Datsun had the Japanese BMW buzz.

        Renault saved Nissan from bankruptcy, but is there too much Renault in NIssan? I mean Renault basically exists because of French chauvinism and, like Fiat, is poorly regarded outside the home market. Renault also failed twice at cracking the NA market.

        • 0 avatar

          Unlike Toyota or Honda most of companies were/are on brink or at bankruptcy at some point or exist purely at good will of taxpayers or banks (like Mitsu, Mazda or Subaru). It means they were or still are not effective or well run. They simply cannot compete in long run head to head with well run companies and therefore try to go Walmart to add appeal. We saw it with whole American auto industry in past when even Cadillac and Lincoln went Walmart.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I do NOT comprehend how Nissan sells so many Altimas, which are awful.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I agree but you seem to not like much of anything. What is not awful these days?

        • 0 avatar
          DeadWeight

          Chrysler 300 (better than ANY Cadillac at 26k + TTL with Leather even in base trim)
          Ford Fusion
          NEW VW Golf/Golf GTI
          Jeep Grand Cherokee/Dodge Durango (both better than SUVs/CUVs costing 25k more)
          NEW 2015 Hyundai Sonata (vastly improved suspension; more luxurious than Camry or Accord)
          Honda Accord
          NEW 2015 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 (better than any Cadillac @ 32k-33k + TTL real world pricing)
          Toyota Tundra TRD
          Mazda Miata
          Chevy Cruze
          Chevy C7 Stingrays
          RAM Ecodiesel

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Four of the top five are still in the Nissan-inspired V6 race. Looking at Noughties data, it looks like the V6 war was good for the segment and grew the share of midsized cars. It looks like “Red, White, and Bold” and “Improved Shaver” model Fusions were more competitive than “Aston Martin Lite”. Perhaps the flashy appearance only went so far and people are experiencing some of the failure to deliver that I have found when testing out EcoBoost – the EcoBoost V6 is sublime (then again, the NA 3.5 was pretty cherry); the EcoBoost I4 is not so much, and I prefer a NA V6 to it. To be fair, I was judging the 1.6L, and reading suggests that the 2.0L has much less lag and feels faster off the line – the 2.3L seemed a whole lot more competitive, but I think that’s not in the Fusion yet – maybe it should be.

    • 0 avatar
      Liger

      I have an escape titanium with 2.0 ecoboost and awd. I have no lack of power and can get 4 wheel scratch. 93 octane makes ALL the difference in the world.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think the US is experiencing the Canadian/Australian disease.

    People are moving to CUVs and smaller cars.

    This is a given and will continue as the Baby Boomers retire and the US urbanises more. Smaller vehicles in an urban environment are much easier to live with.

    Many Baby Boomers don’t need or want a large or even a midsize vehicle.

    Why would you? Yourself and your partner are all that is generally in the car.

    A CUV offers the utility to have the capacity to carry a usable load for most.

    Small cars offer the FE advantage and they still will sit on the highway at 75mph with no worries.

    As families get smaller and more people retire the need for large vehicles will become more redundant.

    Also, aren’t most CUVs based on car platforms?

    Companies selling these can value add easier.

    These vehicle’s also don’t have the protection of pickups. The so the market is more competitive and reflect what the consumer wants and will fluctuate more.

  • avatar
    Eliyahu

    The Altima S is a terrific value – if you get the hub cap version, it’s about $20k before the paint protection. When I mentioned an Altima to the Honda sales guy, he said it wss priced like a Civic, and there was no way an Accord could complete. So I’m actually in the market for something, as my 2001 Maxima, puchased new, now has about 100k miles. It’s still nice, but no side airbags and repair costs could get expensive. Maybe a small SUV or another sedan. There is already a Highlander in the household.

    I started shopping a little over Memorial DAy. The Nissan guys really wanted to sell me an Altima SV, my chosen trim. The Accord has nicer lines, but the Altima is not bad. Can’t get over the grill on the Camry, but it looked better in red. Inside, the Altima has the most comfortable seats, the best gas mileage, the best price, and the best financing. They would have sold me a $29,000 SV Altima for $25,000 and zero percent financing. The one concern I have is that Consumer Reports readers report above average need for repairs. The Accord, and the Camry are better in that regard.

    The touch screen mania for controls is something I consider to be a design flaw. There is probably no choice, but I hope the life span is more than the average cell phone. Again, the readers of Consumer Reports report dismal results on their luxury vehicles loaded with the latest electronics.

    If it weren’t for the price, I could probably fall for the Accord sedan, V6 touring edition. But since I work from my house and only drive about 7,000 miles a year, it’s hard to justify shelling out $35k for any car.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      My friend in Boston haggled a 6spd Accord Sport down to 20,800 this spring. Not saying it’s typical, but it can be done. Altima S and Camry LEs are $18k cars IMO.

  • avatar
    elimgarak

    If you ranked these 5 models by median income/wealth of purchaser what do you guys think the order would be?

    I’m guessing Altima at the bottom, 200 at 4th, camry 3rd, not sure who would win between fusion and accord.

    • 0 avatar

      I have Fusion Titanium so I pay attention when see Fusion on the road and unfortunately there are lot of them in CA and 90% of them are hybrids and plugins. Next in popularity is Titanium gas engine. So average transaction price for Fusion should be above $30K in SF bay area. Lower trim gas engine Fusions are not so attractive for obvious reasons the first among them is fuel economy is not that impressive. But chassis is of German flare (and was designed in Germany) but American do not care about chassis.

    • 0 avatar
      wsn

      Well, from previous study of brand (not model), Honda purchasers had the best income and Chrysler the lowest. No, Nissan was not at last.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    $18K Altimas and $20K Accords… in this country of “bigger is better at all costs” Im surprised compacts are still so popular

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      The circumstances which produce $18k Altimas and $20k Accords also produce $12k Sentras and $14k Civics. There is always a cheaper option.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I’ve never seen a $14k Civic new, if I did I would have bought it! I became painfully aware of their resale value when I bought my 2012 as a low mileage 1 year old used car. $14,995, it was the cheapest ’12 Civic LX in a 250 mile radius of where I was at the time (Central NY). But having paid it forward, I now get to enjoy that continued high resale myself.

        Lowest I’ve seen Sentras is about $13,5 new, for the most basic model with a 6spd stick shift. Kind of tempting actually, Nissan gets it right and packages cruise control as a standard feature on the lowest level manual car. Are you listening Hyundai, Kia, and Toyota?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Great, more SUVs/CUVs I won’t be able to see around.


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