Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: February 2012

Chrysler and Hyundai saw big increases in February sales as shoppers, spurred by positive economic news and rising personal income, hit dealerships to find incentives remain high. Dealer and manufacturer discounts, including trade-in bonuses and discount financing, totaled 16.1% off the average car's MSRP in early February, CNW Market Research reports. That's about even with January but much higher than February 2011's 13.3% in total discounts.

Sales for Ford's F-Series improved 25.9%, with the V-6 model — both naturally aspirated and EcoBoost (turbocharged) models — accounting for nearly 60% of sales. The Escape, an SUV that made the best-selling list for nine months running, dropped off as sales increased a modest 3.7%. Ford keeps piling on Escape incentives — up versus February 2011 — but perhaps enough shoppers are waiting for its replacement.

The redesigned Toyota Camry maintained a thin lead over the Nissan Altima to remain America's best-selling sedan, despite the Altima selling nearly 60% better. Nissan is cleaning up: Altima incentives are just a tad higher than they were a year ago, and the car is selling despite being in its twilight years. A redesigned Altima will debut at next month's New York auto show.

Honda logged huge increases for two redesigned mainstays, the CR-V and Civic. It's a testament to shoppers' preference since Honda dropped incentives slightly on both cars versus year-ago levels, and dealerships have fewer of both to sell. The Accord, once a perennial best-seller, remains off the list for the third month in a row. Sales dipped 2.4%, but a redesigned Accord is due this fall.

AAA reports the national price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas rose 17 cents in February. Unsurprisingly, shoppers moved toward fuel-efficient choices. January's 10 best-sellers included five SUVs or pickup trucks. This month, that figure dropped to four. Sales of the Toyota Prius, which is still the most fuel-efficient car without a plug, jumped 52.1% and landed the car just two spots off the list. Given that analysts say gas prices could spike even higher, the Prius could soon make its first appearance on the best-sellers' list since October 2009.

GM sales improved just 1.1%, but Ford sales improved 14.4% to remain America's second-place automaker for the first two months of 2012. Witness the shift in the redesigned Ford Focus, which was starved for inventory through much of last year. It overtook the rival Chevrolet Cruze for the first time since the 2012 Focus arrived last April, with sales improving 114.6%. GM's only solace? Cruze sales come with little incentive, while Ford discounts the Focus as much as $2,000. That's about even with a year ago, but a lot of incentives for a redesigned compact.

Behind GM and Ford, Toyota sales improved 12.4%, while hard-charging Chrysler gained 40.4%. Honda, Nissan and Hyundai round out the top seven carmakers in February sales, and they are in the same order as in January's list. Including its Kia affiliate, Hyundai sales improved 26.0%, the second-largest increase of the top seven automakers.



I'd like a bigger break down of sales that other car websites release. It would be nice to know how Subaru, Mazda, VW etc. faired

Amuro Ray

GM retail sales actually dropped across brands, as reported by many news media. The increase came solely from much larger fleet sales.

Oh, and where's the Malibu? No need to answer...


Looks like the new Camry's a hit...and the new civic is doing well.


The big surprise here is how well Nissan is doing. The F150 and Camry have been best-sellers for so long it is just taken for granted.

My concern with buying any Nissan product is whether or not it comes with a CVT.

All's well when the warranty coverage is still in effect. But once that is over and you have CVT problems, the cost to repair one or replace it will break the bank.

A friend of mine has a Murano and her CVT went out a second time after the warranty expired. The first time it went out the dealer put another CVT in it, at no cost to her.

But because of the enormous cost involved to swap out a rebuilt one now that the warranty has expired, her Murano is now a lawn ornament.


Very interesting to see how mixed the list is now, and very different than what you would have seen from lets say....5 years ago. Funny how neither Hyundai or Kia even made the list LOLZ!


Hyundai and Kia have cars that are very similar, thus stealing sales from each other. For February the combined sales for the Sonata and Optima were 28,983, which would put it in 5th place. Also, Kia's sales for the month were up 37.3% and Hyundai's were up 17.5%. LOLZ indeed!


Will never own another KIA or Hyundai. I had a 2005 Optima and can say it was the worst experience I ever had with a new car. It was in the shop many times in two years so I traded it in on a Toyota Corolla. The Corolla is a much better car. My next car will be a Camry.



Your hatred of GM is well documented (daily) but the Malibu is old and it finished close to 20k sales- not far behind the Accord and Fusion. Im sure you will see Malibu sales rise by summer when the new models are out in force. As for fleet sales, GM has been well behind Ford and Chrysler in fleet sales in recent months. Ford rarely mentions its fleet sales so we really dont know if they did better or worse than GM in that regard. In fact, GM and Hyundai are amongst the few that really break down fleet sales in monthly reports. Chrysler and Nissan rely on them but dont mention them in their reports.


It looks like Corolla may not be best selling compact in 2012 if things continue like this. Im sure its been many years since Corolla didnt hold down that #1 spot. People are finally realizing its not near class leading.


Sheth, you and I just didn't get the memo that AR is the the 'expert' of all things automotive. His facts are usually nothing more than opinions. Just my two cents...


@Highdesertcat Send your friend here.

Having a replaced one fail, is likely indication that the dealer did not install the replacement one correctly. Maybe they didn't replace/clean the transmission cooler?



Ive noticed, but its still annoying. He confused fact and opinion constantly and he's got a real issue with american cars for some reason. The proverbial broken record.



And you are voice of GM in these comment sections so I guess that makes you and AR even.

You make the excuse that the Malibu is old and that's why it's sales are down. And add that when the new one comes out everything will be just fine. Then you, out of the blue and for no reason other than to hate, you say the "Corolla may not be best selling compact in 2012 if things continue like this". You do know there is going to be a new Corolla soon. Gee, do you think the new Corolla will sell better than the old one which is admittedly greatly in need of updating and modernizing? I'm sure if the new Malibu will generate excitement and sales then the new Corolla will do the same.

So I fail to see a reason for your drive-by hit on the Corolla other than to just bash and hate. Man, take the blinders off already and just discuss cars.

Where is the Cruze on this list and why didn't it, being fairly new and with gas prices going crazy, beat the old Corolla or new Focus? I'm sure there are some excuses you can pull out of your hat.


The reason cruze sales are down is because it has saturated the fleet market...for a while you'll see real sales. Malibu will peak for a while when it comes out...for the same reason.


And that's not's reality. about 20-30% of domestic car sales are fleets. Foreign cars are a much lower percentage. And people wonder why some cars do so well for the first year then fade off until the next redesign comes out...that's part of the reason.


So when Cruze sales were 10% higher than Feb. 2011 that means what? And Malibu sales modestly 4.7% higher means what?


No lance, the things I say are based on fact Get the story straight. At no point in time have I said I only like GM products nor do I specifically target one brand or another for attacks. I like much of what the Detroit 3 are putting out as well as Audis and to a lesser extend BMWs. When you can identify something Ive said that is based on an irrational love of GM products let me know. The fact that I point out's consistent inconsistency when it comes to critiquing GM products doesn't equate to being a "voice of GM". Sorry to disappoint.



Do you ever offer any proof of your statements? You have no idea about fleet sales. Nissan and even VW use fleet sales. Domestic fleet sales are always higher due to pickup trucks. Everyone knows that commercial and government fleet orders for trucks and SUVS are almost exclusively domestic products. When it comes to rentals the import brands are well represented. Just came back from an enterprise and they had two passats in stock. Altima is another heavy fleet car.


You do not disappoint. If nothing you are as predictable as the sun coming up.

Any comments on the Cruze sales in comparison to the Civic and Corolla?

Amuro Ray

@ Lance,

Ignore that lying troll. S/he (and Scott) just didn't get the memo from GM press release about the fleet sales numbers, as well as charts that clearly illustrated the decrease in sales number across all brands, from a retail perspective.


The answer to your question is simple - rising fuel cost. That's why the #s are up. The question is - how much more their competitors of the same segment have sold, in that same month?


Malibu is old, a new model for 2013 just came out therefore sales is no good.


Altima is old, a new model for 2013 is not out until fall 2012, therefore sales is no good.
Oh wait...



1. Corolla has been best selling compact for many, many years
2. Cars like Cruze, Elantra and focus likely sell for more than corolla. Corolla competes on low price and reputation
3. Cruze has has minimal incentives since launch. Obviously chevy is more concerned about profits than beating corolla in sales
4. I can be predictable and correct. They aren't mutually exclusive.


Ziiggy has not and will not provide any links to back up his claims about domestic brands relying on fleets for 30% of sales. His comment has nothing to do with your comment. GM;'s fleet sales were up by more than retail sales LAST MONTH. In prior months ford was relying on fleet sales more than GM and chrysler ALWAYS has more fleet sales than GM or Ford. Especially for their cars. Here's another fact, Ford, Nissan and others increased incentive spending last month while GM reduced theirs vs February 2011. Incentives play a major role in who grabs marketshare in any given month. Nissan, Ford and Chrysler discounted their vehicles by a higher % than GM in February. Honda and VW have also increased incentive spending vs last year. Check out true for details on that stuff.


Oh wow.

I don't like doing this, but I have to.

"1. Corolla has been best selling compact for many, many years"

Even though it's a poor rival comparatively to it's competitors, right?

"2. Cars like Cruze, Elantra and focus likely sell for more than corolla. Corolla competes on low price and reputation"

So it's an affordable small car that has an outstanding reputation. But according to you it can't compete. So what are you saying?

"3. Cruze has has minimal incentives since launch. Obviously chevy is more concerned about profits than beating corolla in sales"

Yeah, because no auto manufacturer is concerned about sales. Rather, they shut the manufacturing plant down for a week or more as they've done in the past. You know, like they're doing with the Volt now, to allow the market to catch up and buy their overstock.

"4. I can be predictable and correct. They aren't mutually exclusive."

Predictable yes, but not always correct.

Don't worry Sheth, I'm a bigger GM fan boy than you. I've got two in my driveway.


George, thank you, but after checking out my wife's 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland Summit 4X4 V6 she bought a 2012 JGC Laredo 4X4 5.7 in a gorgeous Metallic Red with a Black Cloth interior. Truly a stunning combination of styling, color, capability and functionality.

The Murano on her lawn has a For Sale (as is) sign on it. But so far, no nibbles.

Until Nissan works out the bugs with their CVT it may be wise to keep one only as long as the warranty covers it. Or lease.

Has anyone gone more than 100K miles with an original CVT?

Are there any rebuilt CVTs available? Nobody carries them, not even the dealers.

I wasn't able to find any from wrecking yards or recyclers nationwide either.

Ken L.


I thought your wife loved the JGC Overland Summit? Why the downgrade to Laredo? I can understand the upgrade in engine, but is that the only reason? I'm sure you know the 5.7 can also be had on the Summit. I am curious as to what you think about the new JGCs in general. Any issues? Buyer's remorse? Please share.



top seller doesnt mean best car. I suppose you dont read any car review sources other than but to most the corolla isnt close to the class leader. In fact, its not even included in many compact car comparisons. You can pretend Im the only one who knows the corolla isnt class leading or you can face reality. The impala outsells the taurua and avalon- few would say the impala is a superior large car. See how that works? Reliability and brand image are important and corolla has both in spades. IN terms of mileage, performance, safety features, handling or space its not class leading. It hasnt come close to winning any notable comparison since Ive been reading about cars. When it had no competition but the civic it could get away with being mediocre. Its marketshare has been reduced in recent years thanks to ELantra, Cruze and Focus.

I said nothing about the Volt. I said that cruze incentives are on the low end in the compact class. Corolla and Civic have been surpassed in transaction prices by their newer rivals. If GM put thousands on the hood of the cruze they could boost sales. Volt sales and cruze sales are not related, one is a $40k car, the other starts at $18k.

COngrats on being a bigger fanboy, but you are still missing my point apparently. I dont have anything againt the corolla, don't be offended. Its a very reliable, cheap car. Im confused as to why a self professed GM fanboy would be so worried about what Im saying regarding a corolla.



To review some recent history- all of the detroit automakers got in trouble in the past by boosting incentives to ramp up sales which lowered resale value and led to big sales drops when the incentives stopped. All automakers want to sell a lot of cars, my point with the cruze is that over 2 years after being launched the car has modest incentives which means GM is trying to balance profits and sales. In the old days they wouldve put $3k on the hood my now in a bid to outsell Corolla and Civic and keep the factory busy. When you consider how much more the cruze and Focus cost relative to the corolla their sales are that much more impressive. A loaded Corolla is around $22k vs $27k for Cruze and $28k for Focus. With comparable equipment (although corolla doesnt offer much) the Toyota is cheaper than its domestic rivals.


Yet, another predictable sheth response.

How about the Malibu is old comment now?


Ken L., we still have the 2012 JGC Overland Summit V6. It was our friend with the Murano who bought the 2012 Laredo.

My wife loves her JGC. It rides as well as her 2008 Highlander Limited did and she has no complaints. She still has Sirius 50's on 5 tuned in wherever she goes. It's like stepping back into the fifties when I ride with her.

No buyer's remorse. Got a fair deal, considering. We were driving through AZ on our way back to our home New Mexico when she spotted that JGC sitting on a flatbed waiting to be unloaded at a dealership near Phoenix.

Went in, she liked it, she drove it home with me following in her old Highlander. No complaints so far.

The dealership begged us to trade the Highlander, but I wasn't convinced that the Jeep would be trouble-free.

But it has been so far. Ride, handling, NVH are all on par with the Highlander and the V6 is surprisingly flexible, although at my altitude it does require Shell Premium gas to bring out all the horses. With 86 or 89 it requires a lot more pedal to motivate it. With Premium a little pedal goes a long way.

The JGC shares its underpinnings with the ML-series from Mercedes, but it remains a capable Jeep. We've had it axle-deep in snow and had no problem getting to where we were going.

A little pricey, but you get what you pay for, and so far it has lived up to all our expectations. This is our first NEW Jeep. I had several used ones over the years.



Honestly I have no idea what you're talking about. Yes, the Malibu is old. What is your point? The 2013 Malibu will be sold alongside the 2012 for several months. There are only a couple thousand 2013s out there. When did I say anything about the Malibu?

My response may have been predictable, but you can't find anything about it that doesnt make sense.

Ken L.


Thank you for sharing your experience with the Overland Summit, especially coming from a Toyota family's perspective. I am currently on my 3rd Toyota, but have always had the Grand Cherokee in the back of my mind whenever I feel like it's time for something new. So far, I haven't read too many issues with the current generation JGC. However, I am waiting for the 8sp and/or diesel to come out first before I give it some final thoughts, though I am glad to hear that you are happy with yours.



Good'ol sheth...

You basically claimed that the Malibu's sales is down is because it is an old model.

Open your eyes and take a look at where in the chart is the Altima?

It is just as old as the Malibu if not older.


Ken L, the current JGC comes in a variety of iterations and versions of trim and engine displacement.

For the true aficionado there is the SRT8. For the all-around utilitarian there is the 5.7. For the penny pincher there is the Diesel version. And for people like my wife (who was born with a lead foot) thankfully there is a V6 version.

Even so, the V6 is very competent and uses VVT with its DOHC and 24 valves. This engine has possibilities!

I can see a mildly blown version of this V6 in the future, either turbocharged or supercharged to one of two atmospheres over. It is that good and it is that flexible. The VVT beats the crap out of any other engine Jeep had in that size and displacement before.

In any case, gas mileage is decent for a vehicle of this size and heft no matter which engine you choose to put in it. I have never worried about the cost of gas because I'll buy it no matter what it costs. I prefer to drive instead of walk.

Trim levels are a whole different ball game. The Overland Summit is leather excess everywhere all the time. But the Metallic Red with the black cloth interior is strikingly beautiful. Serious business!

Another really fine combo is the Metallic Silver with the black cloth and a 5.7 with a Class 4 hitch, skid plates and QuadraTrac II. Truly a go-anywhere SUV with serious towing ability should you ever need it.

If reliability is a concern, do what we will do. We'll keep our JGC for the duration of the warranty period then trade it, either for another JGC or maybe back to another Highlander. Don't know yet.



When did I say that? Malibu sales were UP last month. What are you talking about exactly? Altima is older than Malibu. Better luck trying to "expose" me next time.


If I was spending 27 or 28k I would buy a Camry se. Much more car than a Cruze or Focus. I'm happy with my Corolla for now. It gets around 40 mpg hwy if driven easy. Has good safety features. I'm sure the next model will be better though. The new Corolla should be out around 2013. It's not a racecar but it is dependable as you could want a car to be.


"Your hatred of GM is well documented (daily) but the Malibu is old and it finished close to 20k sales"

Perhaps I did not word it properly.
From reading that, you meant the Malibu's sales is not good because it was old. But at the same time, my point was to prove that is invalid because the Altima is older.

Not even trying to "expose" but to point out the fact that your point was flawed.

Amuro Ray

Save your breath, J.

When will an idiot figures out that s/he is an idiot?

I mean, if the idiot figures that out, s/he wouldn't have been an idiot, right?

With all the advantage behind a "newer" vehicle, including tremendous fleet sales that Altima can't get to (corporate and gov't), the Camry beater is beating...say what?


Here are your 2010 numbers...I will let you know when 2011 are released. Chevrolet - 42.7% Fleet vehicle sales. Chrysler 69.5%, Dodge 63.9%, Ford 35.8%

Nissan 19.8, Toyota 17.1, Mazda 11.8, Subaru 9.2, and Honda 3.4%

And these are car sales only.



AR hates GM, its common knowledge. He inferred that the Malibu was doing poorly ONLY because it wasnt on the top 10 list. All I said was that Malibu was near 20k sales which means it just missed the list and thats not bad for such an old car. My point had nothing to do with the Altima. Altima sales are impressive for such an old car and it seems Nissan is benefitting from Accord's struggles. The Altima has been outselling the Malibu for a while- perhaps that will change when the new MAlibu starts contributing to sales.



Government and corporate fleet sales are mostly domestics- we all know that. Imports primarily compete in the rental fleet business only. Domestics are always going to lead in fleet % due to government and commercial sales where they dominate. And 2010 was 14 months ago so we need to see some newer data. In the data you linked the Cobalt is shown as one of Chevy's top fleet models with 49% fleet sales. Obviously the cobalt went out of production in fall 2009.

To show you how much things change when newer models are introdued, Hyundai is reportings it fleet sales are under 10% but in your link they were at 21% in 2010. GM was close to 20% fleet in recent months but your link shows them at 26% in 2010. Its a nice informative link however.


Sorry, Cobalt was shown at 45% fleet sales. Chevy's numbers are poor due to the Impala which everyone knows is mostly a fleet vehicle at this point- 67% fleet per your data. Several Pontiacs and Saturns were on that list as high fleet penetration vehicles- obviously none of them are still on sale anymore. The Elantra was at 26% and Sonata was at 18%- I'm sure those figures are nowhere near what today's numbers are. I would presume the same for Sonic vs Aveo, Cruze vs Cobalt, current Focus vs old Focus, current 300/Charger vs old models, etc. Many things have changes just since 2010.


Discounting the numbers because of government sales and Cobalt numbers? Come on fleets sales are fleet sales and not sales to the general public. It's pretty sad that almost 1/2 of Chevy's cars in 2010 were not to John Q Public.

"To show you how much things change when newer models are introdued, Hyundai is reportings it fleet sales are under 10% but in your link they were at 21% in 2010. GM was close to 20% fleet in recent months but your link shows them at 26% in 2010."

Where is your link to show this?



Google Hyundai's sales press release for February. They say fleet sales are down to around 8% of sales. As I said, 2010 figures have little bearing on today's market. The new elantra and Sonata have much lower fleet sales than their predecessors. You can also look up GM's sales releases on their media site.

With the Impala and Cobaltin the lineup for 2010MY Im not surprised that chevy fleet sales were high. Are you? Besides, we know that in today's market Ford and GM are profitable even with fleet sales. The reason fleet sales are supposed to be bad is because they supposedly hurt profits and resale.


In December it says retail sales were 81% of sales. That decreased for January 2012 however.

Roger S

Why does let Seth Jones of Philadelphia, a known paid GM contributor, post freely without any mention of his compensation? He's already been exposed and subsequently banned on another site.
I'd like to think has some journalistic standards in place where they would at least inform the other posters of the paid contributor - Seth Jones.


Roger S., most people skip over Sheth's contributions to this blog. It is only the uninitiated who respond or spar with Sheth.

But Sheth has the right to express himself, even if he is a shill for GM and the UAW and always predictable with the same old song and dance routine.



Point is, it is an old car is no excuse. There is an older car in the list that did better considering the fact that it is in the same class.



My point had nothing to do with the Altima. The altima's sales ranking is clear if you read the list. A and B have no correlation and I wasn't talking about the Altima in any way. YOU are talking about the Altima.


You are not telling the truth. I have not (and likely never will) work for any automaker. Ever. If you have something of substance to add in order to disagree with me please do so, but do not tell flat out lies. Its incredible ridiculous to accuse people of working for any automaker simply because you don't like what Im saying. And if you bothered to read my message from yesterday I mentioned Hyundai, Ford, Chrysler and GM. But of course I presume you probably didn't even read my post, you simply rushed to the keyboard to pile on without any idea about what I actually said.


I said nothing about the UAW. What are you talking about?



Your point had everything to do with the Altima.

Like you have said, the Malibu finished close to the top 10 but did not really make it was simply due to the fact that it was old. That is simply an invalid point.
How hard is it to admit that you made an invalid point?
You are simply predictable and narcissistic.

Londo Bell


Don't forget,

"and a complete idiot."

Who's the first jerk that talk about the "Altima" in the Comment section?

Take a look at this timestamp
Mar 2, 2012 3:02:29 PM

And who said, in timestamp

Mar 7, 2012 7:12:20 AM,

"I wasn't talking about the Altima in any way"

Once again, this jerk's a proven liar, wasting digital ink.



I will try to explain this to you again (it would help if you went back and read the comments). AR said the Malibu's poor performance was indicative of how poorly GM did in February. All I said was that Malibu sales were UP (not down) and it just missed the top 10 which means its hard to claim the Malibu had a poor month. I said nothing about the Altima- the Altima's sales are impressive for an old car as well. If you can read (I presume you can) you can see the Altima outsold the Malibu as we all can. What is your point? I was only responding to AR's comment about the Malibu.


I mentioned that the Altima relies on fleet sales to some degree. That is all I said. I said nothing about it selling poorly. My ORIGINAL point was only about the Malibu since AR suggested that the fact that it wasnt on the top 10 list meant it had a bad month. That comment had nothing to do with Altima. Period.



Also, I never said the Malibu "only" missed the top 10 due to age. I said its performance last month is partially due to its age but the Malibu hasnt been consistently on this list for a while. The Altima has been a higher selling car for the last couple of years so it normally outsells the Malibu. I noted that the Malibu MIGHT return to the top 10 once the 2013s are out. Some old cars sell better than others. AS you can see the Accord is not on the list and like the Malibu its over 4 years old.


yeah yeah yeah, keep changing what you said makes absolutely no difference to prove that you are a predictable troll.
We have seen enough of your tricks already.
Keep defending the lame Malibu which was supposed to be competing with the segment leaders...


Accord may not be on the list but it's a much better car than the Malibu ever will be.


okay, i am laughing so hard at the seth an j arguments above. but wow accord sales are way down, not even on the list any more. anyone know why this is?


thanks slinky. True words of insight there.


They don't analyze performance of Accord, only domestic branded vehicles. After all of this talk about how terrible the Malibu is no one has explained why Accord isn't on top 10. And I was told age has nothing to do with sales performance simply because the Altima is on the list.


Good'ol Sheth.

Trying to divert the attention from the Malibu instead of defending it anymore.



I had my Murano for more then 8 years now and the CVT never failed once and It never really had any problems.
Nissan has the best CVT around so you should not have a problem with it.

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