Despite recalls of over eight million vehicles, congressional hearings and hundreds of lawsuits arising from unintentional acceleration problems with its vehicles, Toyota Motor Corporation’s Camry still managed to make last month’s list of top-selling cars in the U.S. Last year the Camry and Toyota Corolla were numbers two and three in total annual sales. As of now, the two models are on track to keep their positions as the bestselling cars in America behind Ford’s F-Series pickup truck.
The F-Series from Ford has been the most popular pickup truck in America for 33 consecutive years. Next in line are the Toyota Camry and Toyota Corolla in the car segment, but Honda’s Accord and Civic are giving them stiff competition for the number two and three spots.
Other competitors for the top spots are the BMW 3-Series sedan, with 26,730 cars sold year-to-date, and the Ford Escape, which gained 36.7% in sales over last year’s numbers and was the eighth bestselling vehicle in 2009.
David Wurster, who is the head of product development and industry analysis for Vincentric research firm, said that the combination of affordability, reliability and good brand image and perception is the reason these models were at the top of the list. Vincentric’s Best Value of the Year award has gone to the F-150 truck, the Toyota Camry and Corolla and the Honda Accord and Civic models for the last five years. The award is given to the vehicles judged to be the best value when considering total cost of ownership.
Wurster says of the top sellers, “All of these vehicles consistently deliver great value in a package that people want.”
Each vehicle on the list had large year-to-date sales gains, including the Lexus RX SUV, with a 10.4% gain and the Ford Mustang, with 18.8% gain. The Kia Sorento SUV saw an enormous jump in sales with a gain of 189.9%. The new 2011 version of the Kia Sorento was introduced in January as an upgrade from the 2009 model.
Strong sales in a one month period don’t mean recovery is complete, however. Last year, industry-wide auto sales in the U.S. were down 20% and sales of domestic brands fell 27%. Gas prices are still volatile and the economy has been in recession, making it difficult for analysts to make concrete predictions regarding the auto market.
Edmunds analyst Ivan Drury said, “You can’t really compare (sales numbers) with the economy and the automotive sector kind of going crazy. This year and last year are outliers that I try not to compare to one another.”
It is obvious to all, however, that in Toyota’s case, it will take a lot more than the hardship of the last two years to bring them down from the top sales positions. The company predicts revenue gains of 1.3% through March 2011.
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