Winning! These Are America's Best-Selling Cars, Trucks, SUVs, Vans, and Luxury Autos In 2016's First Half

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
winning these are america s best selling cars trucks suvs vans and luxury autos

We’ve reached the halfway marker. After new vehicle sales soared to record levels in calendar year 2015, the volume produced by automakers competing for market share in the United States continued to expand through the first six months of 2016.

Between January and June, the 30 most popular new vehicle nameplates in the United States generated half of all auto sales, leaving more than 250 other vehicles to fight over half the market. Many of those popular vehicles own a far greater chunk of the market than entire manufacturers. The top-selling Ford F-Series line of pickup trucks, for instance, outsells every auto brand aside from Toyota, Chevrolet, Nissan, Honda, Jeep, and Ford itself. The 30th-ranked vehicle, Subaru’s Outback, outsells whole mid-tier premium brands such as Cadillac, Infiniti, Lincoln, and Jaguar-Land Rover.

In other words, popular vehicles are very popular indeed.

These are the most popular of the popular, the podium finishers in five broad categories through the first half of 2016.


Ford F-Series | +11% | 395,244

At the current pace, Ford will sell more than 800,000 pickup trucks in America in 2016, a figure not matched by any vehicle since Ford sold 901,463 F-Series’ in 2005.

Chevrolet Silverado | -1% | 273,652

Although U.S. sales of pickup trucks grew 7 percent in the first-half of 2016, the Silverado is heading in the wrong direction. Combined, the Chevrolet and its GMC Sierra twin produced 380,118 first-half sales.

Ram P/U | +9% | 231,405

The Ram’s hold on third place, not just among pickups but in terms of overall vehicles, appears secure. If the three trucks hold the three top spots for another six months, 2016 will be the third consecutive year in which a pickup truck trio owned the overall sales podium.


Toyota Camry | -7% | 199,760

The Camry’s 7.4-percent year-over-year decline, valued at 16,056 lost sales compared with the first six months of 2015, is essentially on par with the passenger car market’s 7.9-percent drop.

Honda Civic | +20% | 189,840

Launched at the tail end of 2015 in all-new, tenth-generation form, the Honda Civic predictably exploded with an increase of 31,539 sales in the first six months of 2016. The 20-percent year-over-year leap is bettered among best-selling cars only by the eighth-ranked Chevrolet Malibu’s 25-percent improvement.

Toyota Corolla | -4% | 182,193

Overshadowed by the new Civic in early 2016, the Corolla remains a hugely popular car, outselling the Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, and Ford Fusion by 9,498, 12,839, and 35,360 units, respectively.


Toyota RAV4 | +16% | 165,900

Since 2007, only two vehicles have ever managed to claim top spot in America’s SUV/crossover sector: the Ford Escape, and the current holder of the crown, Honda’s CR-V. Rapid RAV4 sales growth could alter the traditional pecking order in 2016, particularly if the CR-V continues to decline.

Honda CR-V | -2% | 159,075

To be fair, the CR-V is only 6,825 sales behind the top-ranked RAV4. It’s far too early to count out the CR-V, America’s top-selling utility vehicle in the last four years. After seven consecutive months atop the leaderboard, the RAV4 fell into fourth spot in June and the CR-V was top dog.

Ford Escape | +6% | 155,378

The Escape is two spots out of the number one position, but the 10,522-unit deficit is not insurmountable if Escape sales continue to elevate as they have in the last couple of months. With the revamped 2017 model coming on strong, Escape sales jumped 12 percent in May and June.


Ford Transit | +36% | 78,480

The best-selling van in America is very much a true-blue (or more likely, white) van. The Transit generates four out of every ten U.S. full-size commercial van sales. Together, the Transit, along with its E-Series and Transit Connect cohorts, own more than half the commercial van category.

Dodge Grand Caravan | +94% | 71,523

A dreadful first-half of 2015 caused by a plant shutdown (to retool for the new Chrysler Pacifica) skews the Grand Caravan’s year-over-year gain. But there’s no denying that the FCA minivan family’s market share is on the mend. In June, the Grand Caravan, Pacifica, and departing Chrysler Town & Country owned 47 percent of the minivan market.

Toyota Sienna | -4% | 68,225

The Grand Caravan/Town & Country slowdown in 2015 opened up an avenue for huge Toyota Sienna van success last year. Matching that pace in 2016 has not proven possible, though the Sienna is still on pace for its second-best year since 2007.


Lexus RX | +12% | 49,412

The global auto market’s turn toward SUVs and crossovers is emphasized in the luxury sector, and it’s further emphasized in Lexus showrooms in the United States. Lexus car sales are down by a fifth already this year. The RX and its smaller NX sibling have fortunately added nearly 8,400 sales through six months.

Mercedes-Benz C-Class | -14% | 37,305

America’s top-selling premium car earns its place with help from BMW’s relatively recent nomenclature change. Combined, the 3 Series and its 4 Series offshoot outsold the C-Class by nearly 15,000 units in 2016’s first-half.

BMW 3 Series | -23% | 32,976

The 3 Series’ huge 23-percent year-over-year decline was distinct in its severity in 2016’s first-half, but not entirely out of keeping with the premium car market. Car sales at Acura, Audi, Bentley, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lexus, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche, and Volvo declined as well.

[Images courtesy of automakers; graph by Timothy Cain]

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.

Join the conversation
20 of 73 comments
  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Jul 05, 2016

    So, between Ford's EcoBoost experience and its aluminum experience, now we know how the pickup market works. Pickup buyers howl and moan about any post-1960s technology before introduction, predicting it means The End for the manufacturer that introduces it. Then they avoid the first year of production while continuing to howl and moan. But when there are a few hundred thousand of the new-technology trucks in service, benefiting from the new technology, it starts seeming "normal" and the buyers come back.

    • See 15 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Jul 05, 2016

      dal20402 - so true. Human behaviour 101. People feel safer hanging out at the fur bearing end of the human genome.

  • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Jul 05, 2016

    Why bicycles are not included in article? It is now the preferred type of transportation in our area. You guys talk only about trucks. Whats so hot about them? I cannot get it.

    • See 1 previous
    • JohnTaurus JohnTaurus on Jul 06, 2016

      Its so hard to ascertain sarcasm on the internet, but I sincerely hope that was your intention.

  • 28-Cars-Later Corey - I think I am going to issue a fatwa demanding a cool kids car meetup in July somewhere in the Ohio region.
  • Master Baiter Might as well light 50 $100 bills on fire.
  • Mike1041 At $300K per copy they may secure as much as 2 or 3 deposits of $1,000
  • Sgeffe Why on Earth can’t you just get the torque specs and do it yourself if you’re so-inclined?!
  • Sgeffe As was stated in another comment, the FAA nominee went down in flames. But the NTSB chairwoman certainly didn’t, and she’s certainly not qualified either!Lots of this kind of stuff going on both sides of the aisle—Ben Carson would have arguably made a better Surgeon General than HUD Secretary under Trump, for example.