Best Selling Vehicle In Metro Detroit? Nope, Try Again

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Here’s a question we are certain is causing sleepless nights for a wide swath of our readership: What is the most popular vehicle in Metro Detroit?

I know! It’s a topic that’s occupied my mind as well, especially while enduring long hours on the semi-pro karaoke circuit. Verticalscope would rather you click on the jump to find the answer, however, rather than give it to you here above the fold … but we will tell you this: it’s most certainly not the Ford F-Series pickup.

In fact, that truck line doesn’t even rank high enough for a podium finish.

According to the Detroit Free Press, which studied numbers through to the end of August, Ford’s cash cow only sold enough units in the Metro Detroit area – Wayne, Macomb, and Oakland counties – to warrant a fourth-place finish. Fiat Chrysler’s Ram was right behind it in fifth. Chevrolet Silverado? Sixth.

So what in the name of William C. Durant earned top honors? Why, the Chevrolet Equinox, of course!


I know; you coulda knocked me over with a feather, too. Yet, here we are. In terms of both retail sales alone and when measured as a retail/fleet mix, the Equinox lands on the pole. Behind it – in retail sales – are the Ford Escape and Jeep Compass.

This is a marked difference from five years ago, when the same retail data points placed the Ford Fusion, Ford Escape, and Chevy Malibu in the top three. In fact, half of the top ten was comprised of sedans, with the Cruze in eighth and the 200 in tenth. Now? There are no sedans on the list at all. None. Zero.

Alert readers will discern quite quickly that, of those five sedans, one is slated for cancellation and one has already departed for the great scrap heap in the sky.

Expanding the criteria to include fleet sales changes, the order slightly but not seismically. The Equinox remains on top, shifting 19,699 units, while the F-Series moves up to second place with 15,468 pickups sold. All those town councils and gubmint agencies need work trucks, I guess.

In fact, one could argue that a wide swath of those “retail” sales are fleet as well. According to data provided by Freep, over 120,000 people toil at one of the Detroit Three in some form or another. They certainly don’t pay full pop for a new car bearing the logo of their employer. Expanding that number to include family members widens the discount net even more.

We’ll have detailed sales reports for the whole country later this week once the calendar flips into November.

[Image: General Motors, Bryan Debus/ Flickr]

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • Cbrworm Cbrworm on Oct 31, 2018

    I never really understood the appeal of American cars until I spent some time in and around Detroit. This was from the late 90's, through the mid 2000's. I always had sporty cars and a truck for work duty. I would normally rent something small because that was my preference. I would typically fly in Sunday night and then fly back out Friday night, about once a month. The first time I rented a Pontiac Grand Prix (or it could have been a Bonneville), I completely understood the appeal. That car made what had been a jarring, tooth-breaking interstate drive pleasant. During my trips, my home base would frequently be a holiday inn somewhere between Romulus and Dearborn. I would go to multiple places all over Michigan and occasionally into Chicago. After that, every trip to the area, I would grab the biggest GM car that wasn't a caprice, and I would revel in its ability to just cruise over all the holes, cracks, dips, etc. It was a bonus if I got a GP GXP or Bonn. SSEi - which were both fun in their own way. As an aside, I owned an '89 Oldsmobile Touring Sedan (White) from new to about 45K miles. It wasn't fun in Florida or in the mountains, and while it was interesting, it didn't really impress me in any way. It wasn't particularly reliable and while it was strong (for the time), there was a very disconnected feel between the accelerator/shifter/steering wheel and the road - everything felt loose. The brakes (Teves?) were actually quite good and the car stayed flat in canyon/mountain roads. They are more appealing to me now, in retrospect. I always loved the dash and gauges. Anyway, my guess it that the popular vehicles in Detroit now probably share those traditional american car traits, mostly compliant ride.

  • JLGOLDEN JLGOLDEN on Oct 31, 2018

    Chevy nailed the clean styling on this gen Equinox. The exterior design is elegant and well-proportioned, with no odd styling "protrusions or humps" like the CR-V. Even the interior/dash is smartly arranged, touch points and switchgear feel solid and satisfying. I would be a potential Equinox customer if the ridiculous Auto Stop/Start had a deactivation switch.

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  • SPPPP Where do I sign?
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