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USA 2008: Tormented year sees Civic and Corolla shine

Honda Civic

* See the Top 100 best-selling models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

With petrol hitting $4 a gallon, the US models ranking has gone through an eventful year, trucks have lodged their poorest performance in over 20 years and passenger cars climbed to the top of the ranking for the first time in 25 years…

It doesn’t show at first sight though, with the year-end top 5 best-selling models identical to 2007. The Ford F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in the US for the 27th consecutive year but down 25% to 515,513 sales, its lowest volume in decades. It was #1 only 8 times out of 12 this year, even dropped to #5 in May and June and peaked at a weak 54,465 units in March, lower than the Chevrolet Silverado’s best month which was 55,765 units in August. The Chevy saw its sales drop 25% too at 465,065 units but ranked #1 in August and September when it sold nearly 18,000 units more than the F-Series, the highest ever margin over its archenemy.

Toyota Corolla

Passenger cars were the stars of 2008, and May and June were the months that changed everything. In May, the Honda Civic topped the overall ranking with 53,299 sales, the highest ever monthly volume in the Civic’s nameplate 36 years history. It finished the year at #6 with 339,289 sales (+2%).

That same month the Toyota Corolla ranked 2nd overall at 52,826 units, here too the nameplate’s volume record in 40 years. The Corolla went on to rank #1 overall in June with 42,180 sales and finished the year at #5 with 351,007 sales, down 5%. The Toyota Camry keeps its passenger car best-seller title for the 7th consecutive year at 436,617 sales, down 8%. It peaked at 51,291 units in May and ranked #2 four times. The Honda Accord stays 4th at 372,789 sales down 5% and peaked at 43,728 units in May.

Ford Focus

Excellent performance of the Ford Focus, up 6 spots and 13% to #11 with 195,823 sales, peaking at 32,579 units and #8 in May, as well as the new generation Chevrolet Malibu, up 20 spots and 39% to #13 with 178,253 sales, peaking at #7 in December. Notice the Hyundai Sonata, #26 at year-end, breaking into the US Top 10 for the very first time in June and thus becoming the first Korean model to do so…

Chevrolet Malibu

2008 is the year of the small car: the Toyota Yaris is up 23 spots and 21% to #22 with 102,328 sales and peaked at #20 in May. The Nissan Versa is up 20 spots and 7% to #41 with 85,182 sales and the Honda Fit is up 40 spots and 41% to #46 with 79,794 sales, peaking at #18 in July.

Previous year: see the US 2007 post here.

Full Year 2008 Top 100 below.

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