My, how the mighty have fallen: in a month where the midsize segment’s top contender and bottom third didn’t change, competitors from Chrysler, Honda, and Nissan are making things interesting.
As we just said, the top spot didn’t change at all in April: the Toyota Camry sold 36,820 units, enough to clinch the top spot for the fourth time in a row this year. As in the past two months, the margin between the Toyota Camry and the next-best-selling competitor was fairly thin, just 1435 units, but the silver medal didn’t go to its usual owner, the Nissan Altima.
No, for the first time this year, second place goes to the Honda Accord, which jumped two spots to second, selling 35,385 units. Considering that the Accord started the year in fifth, selling just 13,659 units, we’ll call the car’s second place finish a win in and of itself.
Also climbing the ranks in leaps and bounds is the duet of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The Chrysler 200 sold some 13,343 units last month, and Dodge sold 11,147 Avengers; the combined total of 24,490 shot the pair to third place, up from fifth last month and seventh the month prior. As usual, you can put some of the blame for this success on Chrysler’s high incentive spending: at last check Chrysler was offering $3000 cash back on most 200 and Avenger models, the second highest rebate in the segment.
Sitting in the middle of the pack is a crowd of models that can only described as lame ducks. The Chevrolet Malibu, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Altima are all being replaced later this year, which might explain why their sales are good but not great. The Chevrolet Malibu sold 21,906 units, earning it fourth place, while fifth went to the Ford Fusion, with 21,610 sales.
What did leave us scratching our heads was that the Nissan Altima scored seventh, a drop of five places since last month. The Nissan Altima sold just 16,239 units, at least 20,000 fewer than the Toyota Camry. Nissan spokespeople maintain that the Altima’s performance was solid, especially considering that it was flat with April 2011 and production of the 2013 model will start this month.
Bringing up the rear are the usual suspects. The Hyundai Sonata took sixth with 20,521 units; the Kia Optima earned eighth place and sold 11,021 units; the Volkswagen Passat sold 10,096 units and came in ninth; and the Mazda6 sold 3780 units, good enough for 10th place – hopefully, the all-new model slated to debut later this year for 2014 will help its moribund sales pace. Both Hyundai and Volkswagen promise higher volumes as they increase production capacity, so we’ll wait and see if the changes work.
Sources: Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Nissan, Toyota, Mazda, Kia, Hyundai, Volkswagen
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