By on April 4, 2016

2015 Ford F-150

Consumers, businesses, and government agencies registered nearly 4.1 million new vehicles during the first quarter of 2016. That’s an additional 130,000 new vehicles sales compared to the pace set one year ago, and equals a 3.3-percent year-over-year improvement over a record-setting 2015. But while there’s meaningful sales growth within the industry, passenger car sales continue to tumble and the premium market continues to stumble.

Many aspects of the U.S. auto market are changing, but some corners of the market refuse to reflect any change in the attitudes of consumers. The three best-selling vehicle lines in America in 2015’s first-quarter are the three best-selling vehicle lines in 2016’s first-quarter. All three are pickup trucks.

The Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram P/U jointly produced 10 percent of the industry’s first-quarter volume. Overall, pickup truck volume increased by more than 6 percent to earn 15 percent of first-quarter new vehicle sales.

Meanwhile, the Toyota Camry, last year’s best-selling car, is still America’s best-selling car despite a notable 4-percent decline through the first three months of 2016.

Rank Vehicle 2016
Year Ago
#1 Ford F-Series 186,121 177,312 5.00% #1
#2 Chevrolet Silverado 128,965 126,694 1.80% #2
#3 Ram P/U 113,367 101,511 11.70% #3
#4 Toyota Camry 96,244 100,505 -4.20% #4
#5 Honda Civic 87,303 66,722 30.80% #12
#6 Nissan Altima 85,332 86,875 -1.80% #6
#7 Toyota Corolla 84,260 90,728 -7.10% #5
#8 Honda Accord 77,073 68,645 12.30% #9
#9 Toyota RAV4 76,122 67,010 13.60% #11
#10 Ford Fusion 74,994 71,470 4.90% #8
#11 Ford Escape 71,594 67,272 6.40% #10
#12 Honda CR-V 71,188 73,127 -2.70% #7
#13 Nissan Rogue 69,036 64,486 7.10% #14
#14 Ford Explorer 63,415 58,707 8.00% #16
#15 Nissan Sentra 62,944 51,026 23.40% #19
#16 Hyundai Sonata 61,457 44,690 37.50% #23
#17 Chevrolet Equinox 59,879 65,613 -8.70% #13
#18 Chevrolet Malibu 58,222 42,401 37.30% #25
#19 GMC Sierra 51,131 45,173 13.20% #22
#20 Ford Focus 50,215 52,994 -5.20% #18

The Camry’s closest challenger is now the Honda Civic, which surged from the 12th place a year ago to 5th overall in 2016’s first-quarter thanks to a 31-percent year-over-year rise. Not unpredictably, the new Civic is a hot item, and Honda is additionally blessed with rising Accord sales. Honda is bucking the market’s trend: CR-V and Pilot sales are sliding; Accord and Civic sales are improving.

Detroit’s passenger car efforts are a mixed bag in the early part of 2016. The slow launch of the second-generation Cruze and the consequent loss of fleet sales dragged Chevrolet’s compact down 39 percent in the first-quarter, including a 58-percent, 13,717-unit loss in March. On the other hand, Chevrolet Malibu volume is up 37 percent so far this year, enabling a seven-slot rise in the bestseller rankings.

At Ford, a 6-percent decline in C-Max, Fiesta, and Focus sales is more than counteracted by a 5-percent Fusion uptick and modest Mustang and Taurus sales.

In Auburn Hills, meanwhile, the story we’ve already documented added yet more layers in March. Chrysler 200 sales plunged 68 percent last month; 63 percent in 2016’s first quarter. Fewer than 18,000 200s found new homes in January, February, and March, down from 49,152 a year ago.

But at FCA, there’s always Jeep. Although not a single Jeep nameplate cracked the top 20, Jeeps were prevalent in the next tier. The Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler all ended the first-quarter inside the top 25.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

Timothy Cain is the founder of, 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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30 Comments on “Pickups, Honda Civic and Accord Winning 2016 Sales Rankings...”

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Sentra is the only one that surprises me. Blowout sales, or is the new one finally good enough to stand on its own?

    • 0 avatar

      Check your local airport rental car lots and you’ll quickly understand why sales are so high for the Camry, Altima and Sentra.

      The Civic and Accord are all the more impressive given that 99.9% of their sales are to private individuals.

    • 0 avatar

      The Sentra has a big back seat and trunk for the class(read: baby seats and strollers), along with good fuel economy, good if not perfect reliability and a softer than average ride, all for a price that often undercuts the likes of the Civic and Corolla. Overall I’d say it closely mirrors what the current Corolla offers (minus resale) at a $2000 lower pricepoint. Can’t blame folks for seeing the value proposition there, and yes the rental sales cannot be ignored.

  • avatar

    We are literally being overrun by pickup trucks. I know an oil crisis wont do myself or the nation any good, however, I cannot help but long for the Schaedenfreude. At least consumers are paying for the UAW at present with huge pickup profit margins instead of taxpayers filling the void as during the bad old days of bailouts and such. Always look on the bright side of life.

    • 0 avatar

      Said pickup trucks are also more fuel-efficient than ever.

      • 0 avatar

        Pickup trucks rule because they offer so much to so many and can be customized from the factory to give people exactly what they want. More pickups please.

        Go Honda. They have been a reliability benchmark in the US since the 1970s. American companies have given up trying to match them.

        • 0 avatar

          +1…but by this time tomorrow there should be 100+ posts declaring that “pick-ups are wasteful unless you’re a contractor or rancher. You should have three cars and a trailer like me….that’s so much more efficient!”

          You can set your watch by it…

          • 0 avatar
            Carlson Fan

            “You should have three cars and a trailer like me….that’s so much more efficient!””

            I love the guys with those crappy little 4’X8′ Harbor Freight trailers that say they are just as a good as a pick-up box. Been there, done that – NOT!

        • 0 avatar

          A coworker just scooped up a low mile ’12 SuperCrew 5.0 F150 at a very tempting price, and I spent Friday being chauffeured around by my real estate agent in his GMT800 2500 Suburban. If I were consolidating down to one vehicle right now from my 19 mpg 4Runner and 37 mpg Civic, it’d have to be either a crew cab truck or a fullsize SUV. As long as you’re willing to swallow the MPG pill and deal with their girth when parking, the utility simply cannot be matched. And for me a part of that utility is suspension/wheel/tire durability over poorly maintained pavement as well as occasional fire road forays.

          • 0 avatar

            Yup…agreed. My Raptor SuperCrew is my DD and it serves all of my needs well, truly a versatile vehicle. Plenty of space for people hauling in comfort and enough stuff carrying ability for my needs. And it’s perfect for our bombed out, frost heaved roads that have cars with 20’s and 35 series tires crawling.

            When I have the need for speed, I have my Ducati. I’d still like to get a “toy” car though for when my Duc becomes tiresome.

        • 0 avatar

          Poor reliability of my Honda is one reason I have not bought another.

      • 0 avatar

        True, but a 20% improvement over $hit….is still $hit. I wont ask you to apologize for your vehicle preference, I get people like trucks. Personally, I don’t care to even share the road with them. Maybe I can have my preference too? I live in Metro Detroit, there is got to be more than 1/8 pickups here. OEM Employees, friends, family must get them free around here. Not great for busy roads, parking lots, heavily populated areas. Sorry, but true.

        • 0 avatar

          thegamper, might want to crunch some numbers. a 20% improvement in a high-fuel usage vehicle such as a BOF truck/SUV means more in terms of gallons or dollars saved than that same 20% improvement in a car that already got 30+ mpg. The math is really simple. I know that for me personally, anything close to 20mpg is pretty adequate as a daily driver as long as the vehicle justifies it’s appetite with increased utility and/or durability.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          “Not great for busy roads, parking lots, heavily populated areas. Sorry, but true.”

          They are just fine for all of that which is why you see so many people daily driving them. Especially busy roads because everyone gets the f%&K out of your way!…..LOL My buddy just picked up a new CC Toy Tundra PU. Why I don’t care for his taste in FS PU trucks I did tell him he’ll absolutely love the versatility of it. I suspect he’ll never go back to an SUV which is what had before it. He’s like me, a family, lots of projects around the house and toys to tow on the weekends. They just can’t be beat. Period!

          • 0 avatar

            Agreed, whenever I’ve driven through NYC, being in the biggest most imposing vehicle puts you at the top of the pecking order in terms of jockeying for position when merging for the GWB and such. Parking might be another story.

          • 0 avatar

            My favourite is getting “mad dogged” by the angry guy in the Civic. I wouldn’t know he’s riding my tow hitch if it wasn’t for the Jack antenna ball in my rearview. Maybe some aren’t clear on the concept.

    • 0 avatar

      Overrun? Usually 1 in 8 new vehicles sold, come with a pickup bed, but that shouldn’t scare you. Most aren’t on the road at any given time, and we lose at least a million pickups a year to Mexico exports and stolen pickups.

      You share the road with maybe 1 in 20 (or 30) being pickups, except Texas.

      But the “usually 1 in 8” has remained fairly constant before/after/during dramatic spikes in fuel prices, recessionary periods and bailouts, at least in recent decades.

    • 0 avatar

      Same in Australia. Latest sales figures here, Four Pickups are in the top ten. SUV’s and Pickups make up 52% of sales. Pickups all types make up 15% of sales

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    Toyota to Honda: This aggression will not stand, man.

    I fully expect Toyota to ramp up the incentives and/or fleet sales in the second half of the year if it looks like Honda may pass them. I know they’ve come out and said they’re not chasing volume anymore, but I’m am 100% certain they DO NOT want to lose that best selling car title!

  • avatar

    Surprised about Honda Pilot and CRV sales, is this bc little money on the hood vs other choices?

    • 0 avatar

      I’d guess Pilot is somewhat paying for how many they cleared out with incentives on the old model; they probably moved a bunch of purchases forward. The CR-V is probably somewhat cannibalized by the HR-V.

  • avatar

    I know a couple women and one man who wanted CR-Vs and wound up w/ Rogues because the latter were so incentivized.

    The Honda dealers wouldn’t do big discounts, Nissan would. The buyers got the “deal” but they don’t seem very happy w/ what they ended up with.

    I didn’t mention the words “false economy”.

    Nissan is increasingly and relentlessly becoming a discount brand. Works in the short term, not so much in the long run.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’d like to credit cheap gas for the dominance of pickups, but they dominated when gas was $4, also.

    It’ll be interesting to see how mfrs – particularly FCA – keep up as CAFE requirements continue to diverge from market tastes.

    Tesla will have a lot of credits to sell in the next few years….

    • 0 avatar

      They’re already doing it. The trucks have gotten much more expensive, which only works so long as money is nearly free and buyers can finance them over 6-7 years, and a big chunk of those profits are going to subsidize the cars which nobody would buy otherwise.

      A 2010 Focus S stickered 17,015. The 2016 stickers 18,100. Up 6% and there’s $2000 on the hood.

      A 2010 Fusion SE stickered 22.825. The 2016 stickers 25045. Up 9% and there’s $2000 on the hood AND 0% for 5 years.

      A 2010 F150 Lariat stickered 40,590. The 2016 stickers 46,925. Up 16% and Ford hid another $2,000 in markups on more expensive or previously standard equipment like the $900 tow package, $400 large gas tank, $500 tow axle, $800 V8, etc. Apples to apples it’s more like a 20% hike and there’s just $1,500 – 3% off sticker – on the hood.

      It’s an awfully expensive time to want a truck and an awfully good time to buy a new small car. Consider that the official CPI inflation in that period was about 9% and real inflation for people who eat, buy insurance, or pay for their kids’ educations was roughly triple that.

      • 0 avatar

        Isn’t it luxo pickups were 10-20% underpriced? Sales haven’t really dipped since ’10, so doesn’t it point to that?

        In many ways, luxo pickups are still a lot of ‘bang for your buck’, and some options or features, you can’t get anywhere else.

        So is “Value” just only about money?

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