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Surprises among top-selling cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Posted: 5 pm ET

The list of top-selling cars for 2011 has some surprises this year, according to a sales study by Two Hondas, the Honda Civic and the Honda CR-V, are notably absent from the top ten list of best-selling new cars. Both vehicles typically log high sales every year, but sales in 2011 were compromised, due to production delays resulting from the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, which left both cars in short supply and caused a rise in prices, according to senior analyst Michelle Krebs in the report.

The top-two new cars in the best-selling list are actually pickups -- the Ford F-150 in first, followed closely by the Chevrolet Silverado 1500. Rounding out the top five are Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima and Ford Escape.

On the used car list of best-sellers, the Honda Accord took the top spot for the second year in a row. It was followed by, in order, Ford F-150, Toyota Camry, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and Honda Civic.

New car sales picked up speed toward the latter part of the year, and the report expects that trend to continue throughout 2012, with sales projected to be about 800,000 vehicles more than this year, although if you are shopping for a new car, you are likely to pay more. While U.S. automakers will likely continue to offer the greatest discounts on their cars, the report indicated that incentives are on a downward trend overall, averaging 11.6 percent of MSRP in 2011, versus 13.3 percent off MSRP last year.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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December 29, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I always find this particular "Best of Year" list very interesting. Unless someone can prove me wrong (which I admit happens frequently), the sales numbers are "straight sales" that each manufacturer tallies.

What I would love to see is what the true "personal" sales figures look like. Take out the work trucks...would the list look relatively the same or would these 2 trucks fall off the top 10 altogether?

I would like to see:

1 - sales compared to inventory ("desirability index")
2 - sales compared to per-unit cost ("profitability index")
3 - sales compared to 5-year estimated market value ("quality index")

An over-produced, non-profitable car that ranks high on a list year after year is not healthy to the current bottom line nor lends to long-term corporate growth.