Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: July 2013

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The auto industry came off a June that saw the best sales rate since 2007, and the momentum appears to have run through July. Toyota had its best July since 2008; GM had its best July since 2007. Chrysler and Ford had their best July since 2006. Honda sales, up 20.9%, represented the best July since 2006. And Nissan and Hyundai-Kia had their best July ever. With the top seven automakers reporting numbers, sales are up 13.6%.

The 10 best-sellers changed little, with one car — the Ford Escape — dropping off the charts. The Toyota Corolla, whose 2014 redesign is waiting in the wings, replaced it.

A gallon of regular unleaded gained 15 cents in July, according to AAA, but small, fuel-efficient cars had a mixed month. The outgoing Corolla stayed flat, but rival Honda Civic gained nearly 30%. The Toyota Prius hybrid — ever the indicator of shoppers’ flight to fuel efficiency — gained a stunning 40% over an already-strong July 2012, mostly on the strength of the original Prius, which had a slight incentives uptick versus a year ago. The Chevrolet Cruze, meanwhile, piled on 70.2% in sales versus a slow July 2012 (sales were down 39.3% that month) thanks to higher year-over-year incentives on the compact sedan — and despite much lower dealer supply. The Ford Focus, meanwhile, stayed flat despite bigger incentives this year.

By Kelsey Mays | August 1, 2013 | Comments (12)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: June 2013

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Ford and Nissan led the charge into Independence Day weekend with Ford reporting its best June since 2006 and Nissan logging its strongest month since Thomas Jefferson wore diapers. (OK, it was Nissan's best June in the U.S. ever, and Jefferson probably wore some kind of swaddling clothes.) June sales, in fact, played out like a children's T-ball game. Almost everyone got a pat on the back.

"The fundamentals for continued industry gains in new-vehicle sales remain intact," Chrysler sales chief Reid Bigland said in a company statement this morning. GM head economist Mustafa Mohatarem agreed: Americans "believe — with good justification — that the economic expansion is going to continue," he said in a separate statement.

Both are right. From consumer confidence to new-home construction, major June indicators suggested higher auto sales. That's exactly what happened: Sales for the top seven automakers increased 8.8%.

By Kelsey Mays | July 2, 2013 | Comments (10)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: May 2013

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The last time Ford sold 70,000 F-Series pickups in a single month was March 2007 when unemployment was just 4.4%. The best-selling truck eclipsed that mark again in May 2013, gaining 30.6% to hit 71,604 sales. That's the best May since 2005, an era when the F-Series' clipped along at 800,000 or more sales a year.

Such is the pickup rebound, fueled by a construction market that saw some of the highest housing starts in recent months since 2008. The Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Chrysler's Ram pickups all had 20%-plus gains for the month — and this comes with little increases in incentives versus May 2012. Ford's recent plans to add jobs to its Kansas City, Mo., facility, where the F-150 is built, seems like a safe bet.

While Ford led Detroit's sales gains, Nissan's 24.7% sales increase led the largest Asian automakers. Sales for the Altima boomed 40.8%, and that's with slightly lower incentives versus a year ago. The rival Honda Accord added 11.7% to stay ahead by fewer than 1,500 sales. Virtually every Honda sale in May "represents a purchase by an individual customer," Honda sales chief John Mendel said in a statement — a reference to Honda's fleet sales, which are by far the lowest among the seven largest automakers.

By Kelsey Mays | June 3, 2013 | Comments (10)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: April 2013

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Nissan and Ford led a strong month for the auto industry, with sales up 23.2% at Nissan and 17.9% at Ford thanks to big gains among both carmakers' strongest sellers. Nissan Altima sales gained 35.4% while Ford Escape sales spiked 52% — despite similar year-over-year incentives on both and lower dealership supply for the Escape.

It may seem bizarre that the Altima, then, isn't among the top 10 best-sellers. It's been there for ninth months straight, and in March it was the best-selling car (not truck) in America. But a year ago, sales were dismal — less than 17,000 in April 2012 — so even a healthy spike kept Nissan off April 2013's top 10.

The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord had higher-profile struggles. The Camry's sales drop could signal plateauing demand for Toyota's seventh-generation family sedan, whose year-over-year sales have declined for three straight months. The new Accord, meanwhile, is just 7 months old, and shoppers found significantly lower discounts versus the 2012 Accord a year ago. It's a factor that could affect Accord sales through autumn. Still, Ford didn't seem to have a problem with that. Anyone considering the new Fusion found a similar situation — lower discounts versus year-ago levels — but it didn't stop shoppers from flocking toward the popular sedan, whose sales boomed 23.7%.

By Kelsey Mays | May 1, 2013 | Comments (8)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: March 2013

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With the top seven automakers reporting numbers — which account for the vast majority of new-car sales — March sales have crept up around 3.2% over year-ago levels. Honda, GM and Ford saw the largest gains, but no major automaker saw a double-digit increase.

The top sellers are a reshuffle from February's list; all 10 are back. The Nissan Altima jumped three spots from February, and despite an 8% sales drop, it's the best-selling sedan by just 100 cars in March. Madness? Not really. Look back at March 2012 and the Altima even beat out the Chevrolet Silverado for a podium finish in monthly sales.

Lower year-over-year incentives played against Nissan's redesigned sedan as surging competitors — the Honda Accord and the Ford Fusion — saw larger gains. Ford says the Fusion had its best sales month in the nameplate's 7 1/2-year history, and this happened with fewer incentives than on last year’s outgoing model. The Escape hit its highest monthly total in its 12-plus-year history. Those two cars — and rising Explorer and F-Series sales — overcame falling Focus, Edge and Mustang sales to drive Ford to a 5.7% year-over-year increase.

By Kelsey Mays | April 2, 2013 | Comments (4)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: January 2013

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Automakers should party like it's … 2012. Sales kicked off the new year at the same pace as they ended the last, with figures from the top seven largest automakers up a combined 15.6% versus January 2012. Ford and Toyota led the way with gains of 20% or better, but Nissan and Hyundai-Kia both saw a roughly flat month. None of the six automakers saw a sales decrease, however.

Ford's banner month shifted the top 10 best-sellers. The Focus compact dropped from the list, but the Fusion sedan and Escape SUV reprised their standings; both were absent in December 2012. Despite two recalls following its launch early last fall, the redesigned Fusion shot up 64.5%, and this came with lighter incentives than the outgoing Fusion a year ago. The redesigned Honda Accord — winner of our recent Cars.com $26,000 Midsize Family Sedan Showdown — picked up even better speed, packing on 75.2% to stay 1,525 cars ahead of the Fusion. Keep an eye out: That race could end the year in a photo finish.

J.P. Morgan analyst Ryan Brinkman pegged sales right around December's annualized rate, Automotive News reports, meaning January would tie for the second best sales month since February 2008. Shoppers kept buying despite fewer deals. Total dealer and automaker discounts now combine for $5,223, according to CNW Marketing Research. That's down more than $500 versus January 2012, and combined with rising MSRPs, it's driven the average new car to $32,163 in January — up 6.6% versus a year ago.

By Kelsey Mays | February 1, 2013 | Comments (11)

Ford Atlas Concept Video

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If a new feature on Ford's Atlas concept hints at what's to come, pickup truck drivers could soon find themselves maneuvering their trailers into a parking space while saying, "Look, Ma, no hands!" Based on existing technology for cars and modified for trailer-towing trucks, the auto park feature enables tricky maneuvers without the driver using the steering wheel. Such forward-looking upgrades are what PickupTrucks.com Editor Mark Williams says put the Atlas on the map this week at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

More Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The future of Ford's half-ton and Super-Duty trucks, Williams says, may lie heavily with "active" aerodynamics advancements heralded by the Atlas. They include front grille shutters, an air dam underneath those shutters and wheel shutters that decrease wind turbulence. For more on the future of Ford's trucks, watch the video below.

By Matt Schmitz | January 17, 2013 | Comments (7)

2013 Ram HD Pulls Ahead in Tow Ratings

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In the realm of towing capacity among heavy-duty trucks, the 2013 Ram HD carries a lot of weight. Newly reported figures confirm what the automaker promised earlier: The Ram HD 2500 and 3500 have some of the largest towing and weight ratings in the industry, thanks in part to beefed-up rear suspension and an upgraded Cummins motor generating class-leading torque. The 3500 will even usurp the Ford F-450 Super Duty as reigning maximum-towing-capacity champ. Read more about Ram HD's towing ratings at PickupTrucks.com by following the link below:

2013 Ram HD: The King of Towing at 30,000 Pounds
By Matt Schmitz | January 9, 2013 | Comments (0)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars of 2012

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When the dust settles, 2012 will mark the third consecutive year of automotive sales gains, and the best sales year since 2007. (Remember back then? Here's a refresher.) Sales for the top seven automakers increased 12.9%, suggesting new-car sales will end in the mid-14 million range. That would be the third year in a row of sales gains, with totals up some 40% over a recession-ravaged 2008. It's the best sales year since 2007, but it still falls below sales totals through much of the 2000s.

Which cars fared best? The top sellers for 2012 include a lot of regulars, with six of the 10 cars redesigned for 2012 or 2013. The Ford Fusion and Chevrolet Cruze, both on this list a year ago, are gone; both had a relatively flat sales year.

Check out the list below.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2013 | Comments (28)

Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: December 2012

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Cliff, shmiff. Holiday shoppers brushed aside concerns about impending fiscal doom (which Congress averted, sort of) to drive new-car sales to their best December since 2007. Pickups trucks remained atop December's sales pyramid, with Chrysler's Ram trucks moving up a notch. That's typical for the month, especially amid a sustained recovery for the truck-reliant construction industry.

On the car side, Santa left Honda a nice present under the tree. A substantially restyled 2013 Honda Civic sedan hit dealerships in November and sales for the nameplate shot up 61.2% in December; it secured Honda's workhorse compact the title of America's best-selling car for the second month in a row. The Toyota Camry held the spot for the first 10 months of the year.

In fact, Honda sales overall shot up 26.2% over an inventory-strapped December 2011, thanks to strong demand for the Civic and redesigned Accord — two models that regularly account for nearly half of the automaker's sales. Toyota gained 9% while Nissan fell 1.6% as its redesigned Altima dropped 7.7%. The Altima boasts impressive EPA mileage, but drivability and cabin issues left the car in last place in Cars.com's $26,000 Midsize Sedan Showdown.

By Kelsey Mays | January 3, 2013 | Comments (5)

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