Honda Civic Best-Selling Car in the Country


May sales numbers are in, and the Honda Civic has not only overtaken the Toyota Camry as the best-selling car in the country, it has also surpassed the Ford F-Series as the best-selling vehicle of any kind in the nation.

This radical change in top-selling vehicles has a lot to do with consumer sentiment and high gas prices. Even so, the Civic — up 28.3% over May 2007 — still topped other economical models like the Toyota Corolla and Ford Focus. Of the 53,299 Civics sold in May, 4,676 were hybrids. Honda also does not sell to fleets, unlike Toyota, Ford and Chevy. Some fleet sales can total between 5% and 30% or more, depending on the model, and are included in monthly sales figures. 

Yes, even the Toyota Corolla is sold to fleets. Hertz even offers a rental of the Corolla as a green “upgrade,” charging more for it than larger cars because of its fuel savings. Toyota also includes Matrix sales in its Corolla total despite it being sold and marketed separately from the Corolla name. Both models were redesigned earlier this year.

When asked earlier today about the possibility of Honda achieving the No. 1 mark, Honda spokesman Chuck Schifsky played down the importance. “Our concentration is providing efficient cars that people want,” he said. “Who we pass along the way … we’re not hanging on that too much.”

For the list of the top 10 best-selling vehicles in the U.S. in May, click below. Note that these are only results posted so far today, but there are few mass-volume models whose sales figures have not yet been released. 

Top 10 May Sales

  • Honda Civic: 53,229 (including hybrid)
  • Toyota Corolla: 52,826
  • Toyota Camry: 51,291 (including hybrid)
  • Honda Accord: 43,728 (including hybrid and coupe)
  • Ford F-Series: 42,973
  • Chevy Silverado: 37,020
  • Nissan Altima: 34,428 (including hybrid and coupe)
  • Ford Focus: 32,579
  • Chevy Cobalt: 26,702
  • Chevy Impala: 23,803
By David Thomas | June 3, 2008 | Comments (39)
Tags: Car Buying, Honda



Is this the first time that the Civic has outsold the Accord?


Those sales numbers are staggering!! I know they won't sell at that rate every month but if they did then that would be over 600,000 annual sales!


this is shocking. but the civic is stylish, afforable, and good on gas, and this is what people want right now, go honda

May is usually a very high sales month in general. Still Civic sales were up 28% year over year.

Honda is #3 right now - soon to be #2. I never would have thought 30 years ago that Toyota would be #1 and Honda #2.


It's interesting that the Civic and Corolla passed the Camry and Accord. Is this the first time that the smaller 2 outsold the bigger 2 in the last five years or so?

I'm assuming that is wholly due to gas prices.

As far as I can tell if you go by May 08 sales the breakdown for each nameplate is thus:
Toyota: 230,811
Ford: 184,402
Chevy: 167,202
Honda: 153,104
Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep Combined: 148,747


Dave the Honda sales story doesn't include fleet sales.


Where do you find statistics of annual car production, domestic and import, Dave T.? Just wanted to look more into that.

I was going by April sales figures and an article that indicated Honda passed Ford and was only 30,000 behind GM. The article did exclude fleet sales.

Here ya go -

It does exclude fleet sales and also states that Honda will overtake GM by the end of the year.

Ah fleet sales.
Unfortunately NONE of the automakers break down how many of a particular model's units are sold to fleets. The stories you have read are based on estimated from industry resources and not from the automaker. I don't want to make a guess into who sells how many of what were and will go by the overall total.

All of the Big 3 are reducing their fleet sales however, we don't know how much the % reduced they're telling us actually equals since they don't tell us the original number! It's a bit insane. My guess is Toyota is adding more fleet sales since you now see even the Prius in rental car fleets.

Mike: All sales figures are published by the automakers via their PR/media sites. The information should be viewable by anyone.


Honda's, and especially the Civic are the coolest cars to own and drive right now. Those seen driving F-150's and similar look pretty dumb.


Mike, I tried to post links but I got denied :(
I think it was Chrysler's website. :/
Anyway I'm gonna try again excluding Chrysler. You can usually find that info at the companies corporate website:


^Well it worked this time. I got denied before because typepad thought Chrysler's website was spam! LOL :D :D :D

Looks like the Corolla will soon outsell the Accord as well - only about 14,000 behind.

It's also interesting to note that through May 680,000 of americas vehicles purchased are 2 hondas and 2 toyotas. Every automaker in the world would love to have a piece of that pie! Thats 1.6 million sales in one year just from 4 cars! Amazing.

Gary R

One of my workmates bought a Civic for his son and brought it to work. I was given the keys and the first thing I did was crack the side of my head on the roof getting in. OUCH! The interior design is very odd but it's as if everything skipped a couple design evolution events and moved right to the head of the pack. I bet there are some ways they could shave some weight and improve the fuel mileage ratings even more.

It will be interesting to see what Honda does with this vehicle next, how it evolves.


The Civic gets a facelift for 2009 the end of this year, so soon things are really going to get interesting.


We are seeing record sales of more fuel efficient vehicles but do these buyers consider their true monthly expenses before going out and buying a new car? What I mean is that most of these new vehicle purchases mean the buyer is more than likely taking on new debt in the form of a monthly payment. Now if you own your current vehicle outright with no monthly payment then your monthly gas costs would need to be higher than the monthly payment on a new car plus your monthly gas costs for the new car in order to justify purchasing a new car for the sake of reducing your gas costs. That doesn't even take into account the other costs associated with a new car such as higher property tax, higher insurance, registration fees and taxes, depreciation, etc. I know this is a simplistic view so don't bombard me with comments about trade-in values and mpg differentials and what-if's. I'm just trying to point out that it doesn't always make sense economically to purchase a new car even if it would reduce your gas costs dramatically.


Kieth: Every month a certain number of people have to get a new car. Maybe a lease is up. Maybe your old car just died.

The lease thing is actually a really big deal. You're forced to get a new car when it's up. I'm guessing that many people are opting for leasing more fuel efficient cars than before.

Justin Inelli

I travel about 75% of the year and see first hand that Toyota and Honda have very few fleet models. I have top level status at Hertz, Avis and Budget and always request a Camry or Accord. In the past year I've gotten one Accord and that's it. I've had plenty of GM and Chrysler vehicles to choose from and can tell that Ford appears to be cutting back on their fleet sales. On the other hand it's evident that VW and Subaru are really increasing theirs. I guess you can chalk it up to the price of gas.


So basically, the Silverado, Sierra, and Avalanche combined likely outsell the Accord and probably the Camry. Interesting...


too bad honda doesn't sell their 5-door civic from Europe here - it is a good looking car - looks like a 2-door saab 900 hatch (they don't sell that here either). i would buy one, or at least I would have before i gave up and bough the car i have.
i don't understand the current civic sedan and its trunk. The lid is maybe 8 inches deep, which means you have to take everything out of the trunk to get to what's in the back.


Rob, I mentioned this in the fuel sipper article, but Jalopnik (bad source for rumors and news) supposedly saw a 5 door Civic in Ohio. The reason I'm very skeptical about this "find" was they had no pictures, ergo no proof, that there actually was a 5 door Civic in Ohio. I think they lied just to stir something up. But it's not out of the realm of possibility, since the Civic is do for a facelift later this year, Honda might add a new body-style. Also considering the 5 door Fit is a hot seller, a 5 door Civic might be a logical step.


The article states Toyota includes the Matrix in the Corolla what? Civic includes Civic Coupe. It is officially the Toyota Corolla Matrix. I wonder how June's numbers will look.

We should keep in mind that the Civic and Corolla are the same size as the Camry/Accord were back in the 90s and cost about the same. Maybe people realize this and are adjusting the same.



I don't agree with that.
If the vehicle is not badged as Corolla Matrix, it is not the same model.
Should Toyota count Vibe sales as well?
Whether it is the coupe, sedan, or hybrid; they still wear a name badge that reads Civic.


BTW, the Honda spokesperson was very typical Honda fashion. They don't really care about fame or awards, but what customer wants.

You hardly ever see Honda uses the Accord as the only car being on the Car and Driver 10 best cars list for over 20 times as a selling point.


Dave T. Honda doesn't include hybrid sales with the civic or accord numbers. If included the civic sales number would be 57,975. Check out the honda section on this link:

Toyota OTOH includes as many models as they can, so that they can bloat sales numbers as much as possible.


LM: You said: "We should keep in mind that the Civic and Corolla are the same size as the Camry/Accord were back in the 90s and cost about the same."

The lady across the street has an older Camry. We have a 2 year old Corolla. It's amazing how close in size the two cars are.

From what I've read, it seems the new Corolla is even a wee bit longer than ours and about 2 inches wider.


LM: You said: "We should keep in mind that the Civic and Corolla are the same size as the Camry/Accord were back in the 90s and cost about the same."

The lady across the street has an older Camry. We have a 2 year old Corolla. It's amazing how close in size the two cars are.

From what I've read, it seems the new Corolla is even a wee bit longer than ours and about 2 inches wider.

I believe she is reading the results wrong. Honda actually breaks out how many of the total are hybrids so you have that info and they call it a "memo" where other companies like Toyota and Ford do not break it out and let you guess at how many they sell. But it is part of the whole # which is listed above.

I did the math myself and the Total # of vehicles sold would go over if you added the Civic Hybrid # as an additional amount.

I'll double check with Honda but that's how I've always read their charts and the math seems to work.

And CJ, feel free to correct her math in her blog's comment section ;)


Not only did Civic outsell Accord and Corolla beat Camry, looks like Focus beat Fusion, Cobalt outdid Malibu, and Elantra beat Sonata (3 beat 6 and Spectra beat Optima, but that's typical; Caliber started beating Avenger a few months ago). Looks like people are adjusting to the idea that gas isn't going down any time soon.


Honda may not record fleet sales, or may not give discounts to fleets, but my small southern city has a few civic hybrids in its fleet. It speaks volumes if Honda isn't providing fleet discounts and fleets are still buying them.

GM is in for a lot of pain over the next 3-5 years. They should have taken more notice when the rental fleets started buying Toyotas.

Derrick - "gas isn't going down anytime soon" Gas isn't going down ...period!

Rob - UR right. GM will be feeling a lot of pain. They should have seen it coming...say about 10 years ago!


Because you saw it coming and 10 years ago you started setting aside additional money to cope with higher fuel costs and are in a perfect position to tell GM that they should have seen it coming.


Dave T. this isn't the first time auto observer has been wrong. It's just that the way it's written sounds so professional and believable it's hard to tell what's true and what not. Not that Michelle spews out lies and rumors, it's just that I've seen that she gets her numbers off a little and sometimes makes mistakes (she even made a few spelling errors in the article I linked). Oh and I can't comment there without a subscription.

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