It Didn't Take Five Years: The Toyota RAV4 Outsold The Toyota Camry In August 2016

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
it didn t take five years the toyota rav4 outsold the toyota camry in august 2016

Will the Toyota RAV4 outsell Toyota’s long-running best-selling car, the Toyota Camry, within the next five years? Nine months ago, Toyota Motor Corp.’s U.S. boss, Bob Carter, said, “I’ll bet you lunch that will happen.”

It didn’t take five years.

To be fair, Carter wasn’t referring to a single month’s results. Indeed, through the first two-thirds of 2016, the Camry produced nearly 36,000 more U.S. sales — about one month’s worth — than the RAV4.

But in August 2016, for the first time in Toyota’s U.S. history, the Toyota RAV4 was more popular than the Toyota Camry. And the RAV4 was by no means the only vehicle to outsell the most popular car in America.

The Camry, America’s fourth-best-selling vehicle overall so far this year, ranked seventh in August, specifically. The Camry’s slide into fourth place overall in calendar year 2014 reflected the renewed strength of the pickup truck market — all three vehicles that outsold the Camry in 2014 and 2015 were pickup trucks.

Fast forward to August, and the Camry’s slide into seventh place reflects not only stable pickup truck sales but the record strength of utility vehicles. In addition to the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram P/U, the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue all outsold the Camry in August, as well. On a larger scale, August was the second consecutive month in which SUVs/crossovers outsold passenger cars in the United States.

Toyota can take solace in the relative modesty of the Camry’s decline. In a midsize segment which plunged 26 percent, year-over-year, in August 2016, Camry volume was down “just” 13 percent. Even during a month in which six vehicles outsold the Camry, the Camry was still America’s most popular car overall, albeit by a scant 57 units over the second-ranked Honda Civic.

If Toyota is seeking solace, however, the RAV4’s growth is the more likely provider of such comfort. RAV4 volume increased on a year-over-year basis in each of the last twelve months. Sales of the RAV4 in 2015 were 84 percent stronger than they were only four years prior. 2016 will be the fifth consecutive year of growth. Only two-thirds of the way into this year, 2016 is already the RAV4’s third-highest-volume annual performance to date.

Incidentally, the RAV4 is no longer America’s most popular SUV/crossover. Having led the way through the first seven months of 2016, a boom in sales of the Honda CR-V over the last two months propelled the Honda into top spot through the first two-thirds of 2016. The CR-V’s all-time monthly record in July was topped by 36,517 sales in August.

Meanwhile, Nissan reported the Rogue’s second-best-month ever, only 319 sales shy of the Rogue’s record in July, and 115 sales north of the Camry’s 32,864-unit August total.

In Toyota showrooms, the August results will not go down in history as a blip on the radar. Camry sales have declined on a year-over-year basis in each of the last seven months. After climbing to a seven-year high in calendar year 2015, the Toyota Camry is on track for 2016 to become its first sub-400,000-unit U.S. sales year since 2011.

While Camry volume slides down a slippery slope, the expansion of RAV4 production in southern Ontario means Toyota will soon be able to build more than 400,000 RAV4s per year in North America.

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
9 of 71 comments
  • Paragon Paragon on Sep 06, 2016

    So, even 'Yota people are no longer concerned about being "grounded to the ground." Me, I have no use for taller vehicles and want that lower center of gravity that I have been used to for years and years. I am not a fashionista who is swayed by trends or what so many other people are doing. I do what works for me.

  • Stevejac Stevejac on Sep 06, 2016

    My wife bought a RAV4 in June and, unlike it's predecessor, an '04 Lexus RX 330, it's not half bad. Not nearly as floaty as the lexus, and about as fast (so it seems-- not very). She looked at the cr-v and rejected it simply because she wanted all the b]electronic bells and whistles and the honda doesn't have a blind spot warning on the left.THe Lexus was dead on reliable, so that led her to the Toyota. The NX was roughly $8k more for the same trim (but with leather seats) and she didn't want as big a car as the RX has become. She tried the Nissan Rogue but found it too slow (!) for her tastes, and Nissan's reliability doesn't match Toyota. As I said, I don't mind driving it (I always disliked the RX) although I still prefer my BMW 328i.

    • See 6 previous
    • Drzhivago138 Drzhivago138 on Sep 06, 2016

      @Old Man Pants Honestly, those were too floaty. I often got sick as a child while taking trips in the back of my grandparents' LeSabre, possibly because of all the bobbing that would continue for a 1/4 mile after we had hit the dip.

  • Sayahh Is it 1974 or 1794? The article is inconsistent.
  • Laura I just buy a Hyndai Elantra SEL, and My car started to have issues with the AC dont work the air sometimes is really hot and later cold and also I heard a noice in the engine so I went to the dealer for the first service and explain what was hapenning to the AC they told me that the car was getting hot because the vent is not working I didnt know that the car was getting hot because it doesnt show nothing no sign no beep nothing I was surprise and also I notice that it needed engine oil, I think that something is wrong with this car because is a model 23 and I just got it on April only 5 months use. is this normal ? Also my daughter bought the same model and she went for a trip and the car also got hot and it didnt show up in the system she called them and they said to take the car to the dealer for a check up I think that if the cars are new they shouldnt be having this problems.
  • JamesGarfield What charging network does the Polestar use?
  • JamesGarfield Re: Getting away from union plantsAbout a dozen years or so ago, Caterpillar built a huge new engine plant, just down the road here in Seguin TX. Story has it, Caterpillar came to Seguin City council in advance, and told them their plans. Then they asked for no advanced publicity from Seguin, until announcement day. This new plant was gonna be a non-union replacement for a couple of union plants in IL and SC, and Cat didn't want to stir up union problems until the plan was set. They told Seguin, If you about blab this in advance, we'll walk. Well, Seguin kept quiet as instructed, and the plan went through, with all the usual expected tax abatements given.Plant construction began, but the Caterpillar name was conspicuously absent from anywhere on the site. Instead, the plant was described as being a collective of various contractors and suppliers for Caterpillar. Which in fact, it was. Then comes the day, with the big new plant fully operationa!, that Caterpillar comes in and announces, Hey, Yeah it's our plant, and the Caterpillar name boldly goes up on the front. All you contractor folks, welcome aboard, you're now Caterpillar employees. Then, Cat turns and announces they are closing those two union plants immediately, and will be transporting all the heavy manufacturing equipment to Seguin. None of the union workers, just the equipment. And today, the Caterpillar plant sits out there, humming away happily, making engines for the industry and good paying jobs for us. I'd call that a winner.
  • Stuki Moi What Subaru taketh away in costs, dealers will no doubt add right back in adjustments.... Fat chance Subaru will offer a sufficient supply of them.