Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2011

Topten2011

It was a year of rebuilding in the automotive industry in more ways than one. Overall, automakers were overcoming a disastrous U.S. economy, and a tsunami in March dealt Japanese automakers a tremendous blow to production of popular cars. Those two storylines directly impacted the top 10 cars of the year in terms of sales.

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: December 2011

While the Toyota Camry remained the best-selling car in the country in 2011, the rest of the top four sellers from 2010 — Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, respectively — tumbled down the list with the Civic falling off the top 10 completely, though it was the 12th best-selling car of 2011 and the Honda CR-V was the 13th.

A redesigned Civic was launched at possibly the worst time after the tsunami in Japan, leaving many dealers with inventory shortages for months.

Nissan wasn’t as negatively impacted by the tsunami, leaving room for the Nissan Altima to land the second spot in terms of car sales. The Ford Escape and Ford Fusion follow the Altima on the list, and Chevy’s surprising Cruze compact made the list at No. 10.

Trucks still ruled the top two spots, however, with the Ford F-Series and Chevy Silverado seeing sales grow year over year by 10.7% and 12.2%, respectively.

By David Thomas | January 4, 2012 | Comments (36)
Tags: Best Sellers

Comments 

Amuro Ray

@DT,

You forgot to mention another disaster - flood in Thailand. It has tremendous effect to the Asian manufacturers - double whammy.

If I remember correctly (something I watch on the news), Honda was greatly affected since a lot of parts were from Thailand, and their factories were under water.

Bowrider

Impressionable showing by Honda and Ford. It's always amazing to me which manufacturers don't make the list, i.e., Subaru, Mazda, Hyandai.

Ziggy

Escape up 33%! Wonder how the re-design will effect those sales numbers. God I wish we could subtract out fleet sales. Would be a completely different picture.

Glen

If you add the GMC trucks into the Chev which is the same truck, Would put Ford in its place.

@ Glen
Jan 4, 2012 5:05:33 PM
If you add the GMC trucks into the Chev which is the same truck, Would put Ford in its place.

Not true last month I believe when combined. The numbers are what they are. Why doesn't GM combine prodution? 'cause they're diff vehicles!

mike

your information sucks. Honda is the best.

sheth

what is surprising about the cruze? That is sold well and has a domestic badge? Really? That would make more sense if two other domestic non pickups weren't also in the top 10.

Sheth,
Show me anyone in the industry, including at GM, who thought Cruze would be one of the TOP 10 best selling cars in the country when it launched and I'd like to shake their hand. That's why it's surprising. We've said many nice things about it.

Slinky

Why so negative Sheth?

sheth

DT:

Come on man. While the quake likely helped the cruze move to the #10 spot, even without that it was likely to be in the top 10 selling cars (leaving out the Big 3 pickups) based on the fact that its a CHEVY and they have a huge ad budget and like 3000 dealers. Heck, the cobalt sold well until its last couple years on the market so its a no brainer that the much improved Cruze would be a top seller. So again, I ask if you're saying its surprising because its not a foreign car? Because that's the only reasoning I can come up with- you certainly weren't basing the prediction of mediocre sales on historical precedent or the size and strength of Chevy's dealer body. The Silverado, Equinox, Malibu and Impala have all been strong sellers for Chevy but you were surprised that the Cruze has put up huge numbers? When the Malibu was fresher it was in the top 10 in sales.

sheth

slinky:

Your question could be posed to cars.com staff who seems to express surprise any the sales success of any domestic product that isnt a pickup. The biggest surprise on the list is the dated Escape, not the Cruze which just completed its first full year on the US market and has been heavily advertised. Even the Fusion is a surprise when you consider its going into its 3rd year under the current design.

Chevy’s surprising Cruze compact made the list at No. 10.

Sheth doesn't like to take good news sitting down it seems. Instead of expressing pleasure in the success of the Cruze he wants to focus on language we use in our stories. Chevy has not made a quality small car in a long time. It was somewhat surprising that the Cruze was:
A. A good small car
B. Sold extremely well

There are many good vehicles that don't sell well and many subpar vehicles that do like the Escape. They generally sell in high volume due to price and fleet sales though so it's not a surprise to see them here.

That's all there is to it. We'll keep saying good things about good cars. Hopefully sheth can be happy with that.

sheth

Dt:

Your POV on this shows your bias. The entire point of NEW models is to be superior to the old ones. While automakers like Honda dont seem to think anything but minor tinkering is necessary between model changes, most of their competitors (see Hyundai/Kia) strive to make all new models much better than old models. This site's dislike of the Cobalt is well known but the reality is that when it was new it got good reviews AND it sold well. Was it class leading when new? Debatable, but it was definitely competitive. Your claim that the Cruze was suprising because Chevy hadnt offered any competent small car in ages is questionable. On top of that, the Cruze was mostly developed in Europe and Asia- where small cars are the heart of the market. The Cruze's development had little to do with any Chevy compact before it. Furthermore, even though you seem oblivious to this fact- GM (and other domestic) products have been consistently competitive over the last 5 years or so. After driving the Equinox, 2008 Malibu, Traverse, etc. what in the world made the Cruze a shock to you? You honestly thought that Chevy was going to serve up a modern iteration of the Cavalier after seeing what GM has turned out since the mid 2000s? I do wonder how many years it will take for you not to be surprised by a Chevy being halfway competent. Will you be surprised if the 2013 Malibu does well in the market?

Jay

Sheth:
Can you tell everyone what percentage of Cobalt and Cruze sales went to fleet? That would help give everyone a gauge on whether the Cruze's sales pace is a surprise. Also, because the Malibu will be entirely new, it will definitely sell well (early on).

sheth

Jay:

I dont know Cobalt fleet sales mix. It was definitely higher than Japanese compacts. Still, it did well for Chevy and when it debuted it was lauded for its quietness, space, features, power, etc. When C&D first tested the car they said it wasnt too far off the VW Jetta in terms of refinment. Ive driven the Cobalt, last gen civic and Corolla- there is no great difference from behind the wheel. My point wasnt that the Cobalt didnt sell to fleets, it was that it sold reaonably well and the Cruze is a major upgrade from that car. So I dont understand the "surprise" at the 2nd largest auto brand in the US being able to field a decent compact that would find lots of customers.

Slinky

No company would expect sales of a new model to be up 846% though. That's unexpected for any new model. Guess we will see if sales continue throughout 2012 or if they decline. Could go either way.

Amuro Ray

"No company would expect sales of a new model to be up 846% though"

Actually, it may not be difficult to explain why Cruze sales have increased so dramatically.

It's very difficult to prove, but if cars.com or whoever has the money to spend, research can be done.

My hypothesis is that Cruze is currently replacing several vehicles that fleet sales or retail sales no longer were able to pick: from Ponitac, Chrysler (unless one really count the Dodge Caliber), and Saturn.

That combines with low inventory of Civics and Corolla due to the 2 disasters in Asia, would make Cruze a super strong sales contender.

In another news - Ford Focus fails. Big Time!

I would argue the point of a new model is to top the segment not simply be an improvement over the past generation. The Malibu in 2008 was an improvement but didn't top the segment as we pointed out at the time. The Sonata however did when it was redesigned per our midsize Shootout.

There's no bias just pointing out how we evaluate. As always feel free to disagree...

RE: Cobalt
Consumer Reports didn't recommend it from day 1.

Here's what Cars.com's Joe Wiesenfelder said about it in 2006 "How good is the Cobalt? It depends on what's important to you and to what you compare it. Compared to the Cavalier, it's a quantum leap. Compared to the average compact, it may even excel in some ways. But if you'd hoped this new Chevy model would come along and show the class leaders a thing or two, then your hopes will be dashed."

I was working at a different publication at the time but wrote that I liked the performance but found the cramped interior and pricetag off-putting.

Belly

No kidding that fraud Shet is at it again...

Your POV on this shows your bias.
-So if anyone is calling GM's products low quality, they must be biased. That must include GM's own executives then...

http://www.cleveland.com/business/index.ssf/2011/01/general_motors_ceo_says_compan.html

Furthermore, even though you seem oblivious to this fact- GM (and other domestic) products have been consistently competitive over the last 5 years or so.
-How does Shet define competitive? Apparently the fact that the company was losing money and went bankrupt doesn't matter.

You honestly thought that Chevy was going to serve up a modern iteration of the Cavalier after seeing what GM has turned out since the mid 2000s?
-Everyone on the planet thought this. Many agree that is exactly what the Cruze is.

Will you be surprised if the 2013 Malibu does well in the market?
-Will anyone be surprised if the Cruze is replaced with another "competent car that is miles better than the old product" in 5 years? Same with the Sonic?

Your claim that the Cruze was suprising because Chevy hadnt offered any competent small car in ages is questionable.
-Only to Shet. And other blind frauds out there.

sheth

Slinky:

The cruze was only on sale for 3 months in 2010. Naturally after a whole year sales in 2011 dwarfed 2010:

sheth

Belli,

Just so you know, the fact that you agree with cars.com and defend everything they post only makes them look worse. With supporters like you DT doesn't need any detractors. You aren't exactly the type of poster they are looking for to come to their defense.

sheth

DT:

Consumer reports didn't like a chevy? What else is new. If you consider that magazine a bastion of objectivity and logic I don't know what to tell you. I already said cars.com hated the cobalt, my point was other sources gave it good reviews. It was quiet, had plenty of space, class leading power, decent fuel economy and more features than any corolla or civic. New cars should aim to be class leading? I guess honda and toyota didn't get the memo when you consider their entries into this segment. The 2009 corolla was an also ran from the start as was the 2011 civic.

Slinky

Excuse me. I wasn't thinking when I saw that 846%. Should have been obvious.

Ziggy

You'll notice one thing about recent GM sales, ie equinox, malibu and Traverse...they go through a peak period...about first 18 months (probably due to loyal GM folks and fleet sales) then the drop off. One thing can be said for Honda and toyota though is the sales of Camry, Corolla, Accord and Civic are consistent, year after year. Cruze sales will drop off now that they've saturated the fleet market.

WTF

Accord annual sales:

2007 392,231
2008 372,789
2009 290,056
2010 282,530
2011 235,625

sheth

ziggy:

Equinox has sold well since it debuted in 2009 and they added capacity two or three times to meet demand. Its still in the top 3 in its segment after 2.5 years on the market. And its sold with minimal incentives. Camaro sales have remained strong since it launched as well. CAmry and Accord sales have been slowly trending down for the last few years. Toyota sold like 500k Camrys a few years ago.

Slinky

Yeah that's what kills resale value on domestic vehicles. Too many fleet sales. I would never buy a GM product again anyway. I'm a Toyota fan.

WTF

Your loss to limit yourself to one brand. There are a lot of compelling cars out there besides those from Toyota.

The fleet market is an integral part of the industry and very misunderstood. Fleet sales are not bad.

Amuro Ray

"Fleet sales are not bad."

Your loss to limit yourself to one point of view to fleet sales.

To car companies, it's "ok." To dealerships, excellent.

To car owners - VERY bad. Resale values are greatly affected. Lots of fleet vehicles get auctioned. As a result, low trade-in or private sales prices for owners.

For used car buyers - great.

Slinky

I'm not limited. Toyota has many great vehicles in their line. They are very reliable and have good resale value. I have owned many vehicles an I have had better reliability out of Toyotas.

Belly

Just so you know, the fact that you agree with cars.com and defend everything they post only makes them look worse.
-Hah!! Stupid Shet doesn't like it when the facts show he is biased - so he tries even harder! What an utter fraud.

With supporters like you DT doesn't need any detractors.
-People don't need fake posters like you Shet.

I already said cars.com hated the cobalt, my point was other sources gave it good reviews.
-Other than the first year, when did all of these reviewers give the cobalt good reviews? After 2 years everyone was calling it for what it was - a low quality, crappy GM small car. Just like its predecessor.

New cars should aim to be class leading?
-So apparently now GM is training its employees to just settle? That is not surprising at all.

I guess honda and toyota didn't get the memo when you consider their entries into this segment. The 2009 corolla was an also ran from the start as was the 2011 civic.
-How well did those models sale compared to the rest?

Belly

WTF - it would be good if you would post yearly for the other comparable models to the Accord as well. It is well known the economy wasn't too hot for years.

And while I think Amuro Ray could have said it a little more clearly, fleet sales can be very bad from a consumer's perspective. Not only for resale, but also because a manufacturer can get set on making a car for fleets and not work on improving the car.

Belly

Ive driven the Cobalt, last gen civic and Corolla- there is no great difference from behind the wheel.
-Oh wow. What an absolute joke. Nothing but GM's favorite fraud here.

So I dont understand the "surprise" at the 2nd largest auto brand in the US being able to field a decent compact that would find lots of customers.
-Well they only had over 30 some years to do it, numerous different iterations, name changes, millions spent in advertising without a product to back it up, and numerous reviews that said the product was abhorrent... no, no one should be surprised.

Heck, the cobalt sold well until its last couple years on the market so its a no brainer that the much improved Cruze would be a top seller.
-Oh, what a laugh. So any time a car is improved from a previous car (that sold well because of huge discounts) it is clearly going to be a top seller... how can anyone even talk with such lunacy...

WTF

Camry annual sales:

2007 473,108
2008 436,617
2009 356,824
2010 327,804
2011 308,510

Jackson Leavitt

I love the ford in this car. I haven't always driven a ford, but if I could afford to, I always would. They are by far my favorite car and when I switch out my current car, I'm going to get a ford.

Jackson Leavitt | http://www.mikestowingandrepair.com/contact.html

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