Home > California (USA), USA > California (USA) 9 months 2012: 3 Toyotas + 3 Hondas in Top 6!

California (USA) 9 months 2012: 3 Toyotas + 3 Hondas in Top 6!

The Toyota Prius is the best-selling car in California

* See the Top 15 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to René *

* Discover Each segment's Top 5 best-sellers by clicking on the title! *

Thanks to a tip from René I can now share with you the best-sellers in California, America's largest state in terms of population and potentially also of new car sales. We already know the US new car market is on fire in 2012 with registrations up 14.5% year-on-year after 9 months to 10,899,949 units. Well the Californian new car market does even better: it is up a huge 38% year-on-year in September to 165,422 registrations and 26% year-to-date at 1,245,700 - meaning California captures 11% of the US market and is larger than Italy or Australia. Similarly to the Puerto Rican models ranking we explored a few of days ago, the best-selling models in California are Japanese.

Honda Civic

Whereas in the overall US ranking the Ford F-Series is by far the #1 vehicle, in California it only ranks #7 with just 1.5% market share, but is still the favourite US model. This means the Top 6 best-sellers are 100% Japanese! The Toyota Prius is the most popular car in the State with 46,380 sales and 3.7% share, followed by the Honda Civic at 43,143 and 3.5% and the Honda Accord at 39,027 and 3.1%.

The Toyota Tacoma is #11 in California vs. #29 in the overall US ranking

The Toyota Camry, #2 overall in the US, ranks 4th in California at 37,888 units ahead of the Toyota Corolla/Matrix at 29,743 sales, making it 3 Toyotas in the Top 5. With the Honda CR-V at #6 and 22,475 sales, there are 3 Hondas in the Top 6. Below the Ford F-Series, there is one more Japanese model in the Top 10 - the Nissan Altima at #8, one Korean - the Hyundai Sonata at #9 and one German - the VW Jetta at #10, but no American model until the #15 spot (Chevrolet Silverado).

Scion tC

Notice also the Toyota Tacoma at an excellent 11th spot and 2nd best-selling pick-up truck in the state after the F-Series, the BMW 3 Series up to #13 vs. #49 overall and the Mercedes C-Class up to #16 vs. #61. Further down, the Mercedes E-Class sells 11,369 units (or 25% of its overall US sales), the Honda Fit 7,735 (20%), the BMW 5 Series 7,487 (20% also), the Fiat 500 6,336 (19%), the Lexus IS 5,443 (26%), the Scion tC 3,764 (21%) and the Porsche 911 1,515 (23%).

Previous US post: USA 9 months 2012: Discover the Top 277 All-models ranking!

Full 9 months 2012 Top 15 and each segment's Top 5 Ranking Tables below.

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Categories: California (USA), USA
  1. Frank
    August 14th, 2014 at 04:09 | #1

    Totally a die hard Toyota fan. Dad had a Toyota Corolla Sprinter and I fell in love. Ironically I drive a Prius now for the family but it is truly one of the best orange county cars and trucks I’ve ever driven. Super reliable, saves gas money, and feels good driving.

  2. Tim Coln
    October 25th, 2012 at 00:48 | #2

    Coming from Southern California this is definitely correct. I remember a friend from out of state visited and commented that California is obsessed with Japanese cars.. lol

  3. Dan
    October 23rd, 2012 at 13:19 | #3

    @matgasnier Sorry, I meant the Optima, not the Elantra. Either way, the larger point stands irrespective of the exact models — the overall ranking is misleading.

  4. Dan
    October 23rd, 2012 at 03:01 | #4

    A car not in the top 5 in its segment could well be in the top 15 by sales, given the differences in the categories. In 6th place in its segment, Focus could still have outsold the 3er, Elantra, or Silverado.

    Combining together the lists of the top 5 in each category as an industry-wide list is misleading.

    • matgasnier
      October 23rd, 2012 at 10:41 | #5

      Hi Dan,
      The Focus could not have outsold the Elantra as it belongs to the same segment.

  5. October 23rd, 2012 at 01:25 | #6

    Good to see the Range Rover doing well, considering it costs a fortune to buy, pick up trucks are much less popular, it would be interesting to see what people buy in other states. Very interesting article.

  6. Sonico
    October 23rd, 2012 at 00:46 | #7

    For all you know, I may be a Portuguese living in Italy, but that’s really beyond the point. The simple fact that you are giving out judgements on someone else without even knowing them, is a clear sign of your maturity. Most of the comments you make simpy follow this line of reasoning… YOU are the one pushing your opinions for truths, not me.

    Oh, and yes, I AM ugly, bad and nasty: I will live with that.

    And I think Matt and this respectable blog do not need any more unnecessary comments on this stupid discussion, at least from me.


  7. October 22nd, 2012 at 23:30 | #8

    … italians used to be nasty and noisy. Have you ever seen that movie that represents the italian peolpe so well: ugly, nasty and bad??!

  8. October 22nd, 2012 at 23:27 | #9

    … you´re so SAD!! Just ignore.

  9. Sonico
    October 22nd, 2012 at 23:22 | #10


    based on the observation of the parking lot of my office I must say that the Ford Fiesta (the V generation, of course) is the clear leader in Italy, selling twice as much as the direct followers, who are the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, 1st gen Citroen C3, Seat Altea, Bmw 1-Series, Fiat Punto and Opel Corsa, selling 1 unit each.

    I DEMAND that you immediately edit all of your posts regarding the Italian market, as they are obviously wrong.


    • matgasnier
      October 22nd, 2012 at 23:47 | #11

      That’s a lot of work but I think I’m going to have to oblige…

  10. October 22nd, 2012 at 18:56 | #12

    Oregano, this figures are completely wrong as other in this blog. A week in California and I `ve never seen a sole Mercedes sprinter, a Nissan NV or Mazda 5!!!!!!!! lots and lots of Ford Focus & Mustang… that seem to be one of best selling cars!

    • matgasnier
      October 22nd, 2012 at 19:38 | #13

      Hi Miguel,
      OK so just to confirm: you are saying the California New Car Dealers Association figures are wrong?
      But your perception of what sells best in California based on one week spent in San Jose last February is right?
      Just want to make this 100% clear.

  11. Oregano
    October 22nd, 2012 at 09:01 | #14

    Work for a San Fran based company and so travel there often and I see Mazda 3 all over the place. Surprised not to see it on this list.

  12. Sonico
    October 22nd, 2012 at 08:36 | #15

    So, Miguel’s eye is more relevant and accurate than the figures of the California New Car Dealers Association. This is very interesting.

    This, and the fact that “old gen” Ford Focus should be accounted in the new car sales of the first 9 months of 2012.

    This is simply amazing.

  13. October 22nd, 2012 at 04:21 | #16

    Matt, I must say I´m a fan of your blog but some data you get are not right at all!
    In February this year I was in San Jose, California for a week and I saw lots and lots f Ford Focus old and new generation. This fact makes me suposed that this model is one of the best cars in California. In your article about best selling cars in California I do not see the Ford focus!!!!!!!!!! Strange. Be careful with some data.

    • matgasnier
      October 22nd, 2012 at 11:06 | #17

      Hi Miguel,
      I’m really glad you are a fan of my blog.
      Just because some Ford models don’t appear at the top of the ranking doesn’t mean the data is ‘not right at all’…
      Check the source at the bottom of the table and you will see the Focus is not in the Top 5 in its segment and therefore not in the overall Top 15 in California.

  14. October 22nd, 2012 at 04:05 | #18

    Where s the ford focus???????

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