For the world’s leading automakers, awards are nice for enhancing the company image, but no measure of success has the equivalent of the sales leader board. To that end, U.S. car buyers turned out to purchase 15.6 million new vehicles in 2013 — the highest number since 2007, when 16.1 million vehicles sold. Here were the 15 automobiles American buyers favored over every other vehicle on dealer lots. The base starting price is quoted for each model in its most recent year.
15. Ford Focus ($16,810)
The best-selling vehicle in the world just cracked the top 15 among American auto shoppers. The Ford (NYSE:F) Focus is a bona fide global car — heck, even Pope Francis cruises to the Vatican in one — and one of the reasons Ford has done so well in China in recent years (it’s #1 there). U.S. buyers snatched up 234,570, which actually represented a decrease of 4.7 percent from the volume Ford sold stateside in 2012. It’s one of four vehicles Ford landed in the U.S. top 15.
General Motors (NYSE:GM) placed three vehicles in the top 15 in 2013, starting with the Chevy Equinox crossover. U.S. auto consumers purchased 238,192 different Equinox models on the year — 9 percent more than they did in 2012. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the crossover a Top Safety Pick in 2013.
Hyundai (HYMLF.PK) has been the only Korean brand to crack the top 15 in the U.S. in recent years. Much of that success depended on sales of the compact Elantra, which was awarded the Top Safety Pick designation for 2014 and delivers an EPA-estimated 38 mpg. U.S. buyers bought 247,912 Elantras in 2013. That represents a whopping 23 percent increase over 2012 sales figures — the biggest gain among all vehicles in the top 15.
The only GM car to crack the top 10 among global best-sellers, the Chevy Cruze shares its popularity among U.S. auto consumers. In 2013, Chevy sold 248,224 models of the Cruze to American buyers, which amounted to a gain of 4.4 percent over 2012 sales. In particular, the Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel ($24,985) is making waves with its impressive 46 highway mpg.
On the streets of Michigan, U.S.A., no car is hotter than the Ford Fusion midsize sedan. Michiganders made the Fusion the best-selling car in the state through August 2013, while U.S. buyers took home a total of 295,280 models on the year. That represented a 22.4 percent increase over 2012 figures — second only to the Elantra in terms of gainers in the top 15.
Crossovers and pickups took six of the top 15 places among U.S. car buyers in 2013. The Ford Escape crossover was the second of two blue-oval trucks that cracked the top 10. Known for its ability to get 31 mpg in the base model, the Escape sold 295,993 units to U.S. buyers in 2013, which allowed the crossover to edge the Ford Fusion in cracking the top 10. U.S. auto consumers bought 13.4 percent more Escapes in 2o13 than in 2012.
It was another great year for the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Corolla, which was the second-best seller across the globe among all vehicles in 2013. In the U.S., American shoppers picked up 302,180 Corollas on the year, which represented a 4 percent gain over 2012. The all-new model’s improved styling likely contributed to the performance.
The Honda (NYSE:HMC) was the only utility vehicle to crack the top 10 among global automobiles. Its U.S. performance held in line with that exceptional appeal around the world. American auto consumers bought 303,904 models of the CR-V in 2013, which amounts to an increase of 8 percent over 2012 sales. The CR-V gets 31 highway mpg.
The Nissan (NSANY.PK) had the curious designation of being the best-selling car in Oklahoma when Kelley Blue Book compiled the sales stats of U.S. buyers through August 2013. The Altima’s popularity proved to be no fluke for Nissan, which sold 320,723 models of the spacious sedan in 2013. That was a 6 percent improvement over Altima sales in 2012.
The Honda Civic coupe has a new, slicker exterior; the Civic sedan costs just $200 more for two more doors and even better fuel economy than the coupe; and the Civic hybrid earned the coveted Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the IIHS. In every case, U.S. consumers said, “Yes, please.” Honda sold 336,180 Civics in the U.S. in 2013, which was 5.7 percent more than the Japanese automaker moved stateside in 2012.
Among the big winners for The Chrysler Group (FIATY.PK) in 2013, none was bigger than Ram trucks. The Ram 1500 and other brawny vehicles spun off from the Dodge line sold 355,673 model units in the U.S. Ram delivered a 21.2 percent increase in truck sales for Fiat-controlled Chrysler — the most significant gainer among top 10 sellers to American consumers.
4. Honda Accord ($21,955)
The Honda Accord scored Top Safety Pick Plus honors from the IIHS, won Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Award for 2014, landed in Car and Driver’s 10 Best list, and even nabbed Green Car of the Year honors from Green Car Journal. There were many reasons why 366,678 U.S. consumers put this midsize car in elite company. Sales of the Accord increased 10.5 percent in 2013 over 2012 figures.
America’s best-selling car held the title in 2013 with 408,484 models sold to U.S. buyers. While the Camry was the lowest year-over-year gainer (0.9 percent) of any vehicle in the top 10, cracking the 400K mark in U.S. sales is a feather in any automaker’s cap. Though the midsize sedan may not hold the top spot for many more years, it’s Toyota’s honor to celebrate in 2013.
The Chevy Silverado hit the ground running with an all-new model late in 2013, which helped its truck sales to a 15 percent gain over 2012. U.S. truck buyers snatched up 480,414 Silverado pickups on the year, crushing the third-place Camry by 72,000 units. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Silverado 1500 Crew Cab a 5-star rating for safety — the first pickup to receive the honor.
Ford posted some jaw-dropping sales stats with its F-Series trucks in 2013, but the final tally describes the automaker’s success in full: Ford sold 763,402 units, some 283,000 more than its nearest competitor. It’s the main reason Ford was the best-selling brand in the U.S. Not only were the F-150 and its siblings the best-selling truck in the U.S. for its thirty-seventh straight year, the F-Series has now led the pack among all U.S. vehicle sales for 32 years running. In fact, the 2013 stats were 18.3 percent better than the 2012 figures.