September 2012 has come and gone without much change in the midsize sedan segment. Sales figures rolled in pointing to the conclusion that people still love the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, and Nissan Altima. No real surprise there. With little fanfare (or surprise) the Toyota Camry claimed the top spot of the midsize sedan segment last month with 34,252 units sold. That tally counts towards the Camry’s 314,788 vehicles sold so far this year. The Honda Accord took second place with 29,182 units moved in September, adding to its yearly total of 247,847 to date. The Nissan Altima rounds out the top three with 24,448 units sold pushing its yearly total to date to 234,040.
There were two surprises, however, and coincidentally enough, both share the same underpinnings. The Dodge Avenger was able to squeak into the top 10 thanks to an 89-percent increase in sales when compared to the same time last year, while the Chrysler 200 sits two spots above it, breaking 100,000 units sold this year, with three months still remaining in 2012. Check out the rest of September’s Top 10 Best-Selling Midsize below.
10. Dodge Avenger (8,716/YTD 74,739)
The Dodge Avenger has enjoyed a comeback of sorts recently. Dodge first introduced the Avenger back in 1995 and throughout the course of its first five-year run, more features were added on every year. Chrysler brought the Avenger nameplate back in 2007 as a 2008 model but it quietly occupied a spot in Dodge’s lineup without much fanfare. Now, the Avenger is enjoying its best sales year on record, and is on pace to shatter last year’s sales record of 64,023 vehicles sold. The Avenger already has more than 74,000 sales so far in 2012, an 89-percent increase over the same time last year.
9. Volkswagen Passat (9,500/YTD 83,462)
The Volkswagen Passat is enjoying a nice year. After a refresh for the 2012 model year, the Passat saw those changes pay off quickly, winning Motor Trend’s 2012 Car of the Year award among other various honors. Volkswagen has been busy opening up an assembly facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee, a wise investment as Passat sales continue to match the factory’s output. Currently, there are two versions of the Passat sold around the world, with one model only being sold in the North American, Chinese, and South Korean markets. We expect the Passat to continue its current sales pace and stay somewhere near where it is now when 2012 comes to a close in a few months.
8. Chrysler 200 (9,881/YTD 100,267)
The Chrysler 200 hasn’t been around that long, but it’s already enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Like its platform mate, the Dodge Avenger, the Chrysler 200 is a hot commodity, with sales breaking the 100,000 mark in September. Introduced for the 2011 model year (or in 2008, if you want to count the Chrysler Sebring which the 200 replaced; Chrysler would rather you didn’t though), the Chrysler 200 sold only 87,033 units last year. With three months to go in 2012, the Chrysler 200 has already set a new sales record and is expected to smash the record set last year. There are two different engines available in the 200; a 2.4-liter inline-4 and the touted 3.6-liter V-6 engine. When all is said and done, the Chrysler 200 will have enjoyed its best year to date in 2012.
7. Chevrolet Malibu (11,188/YTD 179,465)
The Chevrolet Malibu, now in its seventh generation, has been a staple in General Motor’s lineup since it was introduced back in 1964. The Malibu originally was a rear-wheel drive vehicle but the nameplate went on hiatus in 1983, and came back with front-wheel drive when it was reintroduced in 1997. Since 2000, the Malibu has never eclipsed more than 208,000 units sold a year. Over the past five years, the Malibu has averaged just over 174,000 units sold per year and has already surpassed that in 2012. The Malibu has a shot at passing 208,000 units sold for the year as long it sells more than 9,500 units per month for the remainder of the year.
6. Ford Fusion (12,300/YTD 194,165)
Even with an all-new Fusion being introduced for the 2013 model year, the current design is holding on, but just failed to break into the top five in sales for September 2012. Introduced back in 2005, the Fusion has been met with critical acclaim almost every year. The 2010 model was awarded Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, and the hybrid version took the crown for 2010 North American Car of the Year award as well. The 2013 model will usher in the second generation of Fusion models for Ford, and we expect sales to pick up again once the new model has been on the market for a few months.
5. Kia Optima (14,304/YTD 114,728)
The Optima continues to keep Kia on the map in the midsize segment. Originally introduced back in 2000, the Kia Optima has gone through a few minor updates and, more recently, a major update for the 2011 model year. After its redesign last year, the Optima continues to feature the LX, EX, and SX models, with the EX being the volume mover. A turbo and hybrid model have also been released, the former providing a spirited ride, while the latter is more concerned with sipping fuel. Exterior styling has been a bright spot for the Optima, and has been featured in the 2011 NBA All-Star Game as a prop. Sales figures continue to climb and is on pace to smash the total U.S. sales number in 2012.
4. Hyundai Sonata (17,332/YTD 175,346)
The Hyundai Sonata checks in at number four on the September 2012 sales list, just ahead of its mechanical cousin, the Kia Optima. Though many people may not be aware, the Sonata nameplate is Hyundai’s oldest, having first been introduced in 1985 in Korea. However, it was not immediately available in the United States because it didn’t meet stringent emissions standards. It wasn’t until 1988 that the Sonata became available in the U.S. and more than two decades later, Hyundai’s midsizer continues to be popular. The Sonata continues to rank up near the top in crash test ratings and recent sales figures have shown that. Since its introduction, the Sonata has continued to watch its sales figures grow reaching as high as 225,961 units last year. Breaking that mark this year, however, may prove to be tough to reach with only three months remaining in 2012.
3. Nissan Altima (24,448/YTD 234,040)
Here’s where the surprises are few and far between. The Nissan Altima, at the tail end of the fourth generation, will enter into its fifth generation (shown) for the 2013 model year. The Altima has enjoyed a long and hearty sales history in the United States that dates back almost 20 years. Introduced back in 1993, the Altima immediately began popping up on U.S. roads and not much has changed since. The current Altima has been on sale since 2007 and is produced at two separate facilities in North America as well as a facility in Mexico and Japan. There are two engine options, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder rated at 175 horsepower, and a 3.5-liter engine rated at 270 hp. These exclusively to a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). The Altima is in on the three-horse race to claim the title of the best-selling midsize sedan for 2012 but as for September, it placed third.
2. Honda Accord (29,182/YTD 247,847)
Another heavyweight in the midsize sedan segment, the Honda Accord has constantly sold well for the Japanese automaker. First introduced back in 1976, the Accord has ranked near the top for Honda every year that it’s been on sale. Now in its eighth generation, the Accord received an update for the 2011 model year and has continued to receive positive reviews as a whole. The Accord has continued to place high in comparison tests and is considered a more refined version of the same basic formula as the Nissan Altima. Even after the natural disaster that struck Japan last year knocked off almost all business, including Accord production, Honda has rebounded quite nicely and we expect this trend to pick right back up where it left off in 2011.
1. Toyota Camry (34,252/YTD 314,788)
The Toyota Camry sold 34,252 units last month piling onto its overall lead of 314,788 units sold so far this year. Even if Toyota decided to halt production of the Camry today, it will still retain its title for best-selling midsize sedan for what feels like the last hundred years. The Camry has a chance to turn in one of its most profitable years on record with an estimated 416,000 units sold in 2012. Even with that number, it still won’t break the record set back in 2007 when a staggering 473,108 units were moved. The Camry will have to keep up its current pace if it hopes to break 400,000 units for the year.
Source: Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Volkswagen