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Forecast: Best-Selling Cars, Trucks and Crossover for 2013

Midsize, compact sedans dominate list.

by on Dec.04, 2012

The Toyota Camry is forecast to land on the top of the sales charts next year.

The Ford F-Series has been the best-selling truck in America for three decades and topped the chart among all vehicles for a quarter century.  The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord traditionally haven’t been far behind.

In fact, of the estimated 14.3 million cars, trucks and crossovers expected to be sold by the time the books are closed on 2012 perhaps two dozen models will make up the vast majority of that volume.  And that list includes a number of usual suspects, such as the F-Series, Camry and Accord.

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That said, the U.S. market is in the midst of some of the most dramatic changes it’s experienced in decades.  Fuel economy is one reason.  Since the middle of the last decade, the small car segment has surged from barely 13% of total U.S. sales to more than 20%, a trend likely to continue. And new competitors, such as Korea’s Hyundai and Kia, have shaken up the established order – even as Detroit makers show new signs of resilience in segments where they have long been also-rans, notably with midsize sedans.

Heading off into the sunset? Not quite, but the new forecast puts the long-dominant F-Series at the #2 spot for 2013.

Based on traditional rankings, sales for the first 11 months of 2011 – and recent industry trends – the folks at 24/7 Wall Street are forecasting the likely top-sellers of 2013, a list that includes the 16 models expected to generate sales of at least 200,000 apiece next year.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the prediction that the latest-generation Camry will dethrone the F-Series as the nation’s best-selling vehicle for the first time in decades. The Camry will already be approaching its mid-lifecycle and facing some serious competition from newer players like the updated 2013 Nissan Altima, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord and Chevrolet Malibu. But, in fact, all four of those models are also among the predicted winners.

The Sweet 16 list notably includes no models whose base price is more than $25,000 – or about $5,000 less than the current typical U.S. transaction price, according to data tracking service TrueCar.com.

Meanwhile, 14 of the 16 now offer inline-four-cylinder options. On several models, high-mileage I-4s are the only powertrains available.  The two exceptions are the Ford F-Series and the Chevrolet Silverado. The Ford pickup has scored a big success with its optional V-6s, including the premium 3.5-liter EcoBoost. Chevy is expected to offer new, higher-mileage powertrain packages when it unveils the updated Silverado next year.

Of the Top 10, the chart anticipates Japanese makers dominating with six different models. Detroit comes in with four offerings, including those two trucks as well as the well-reviewed Ford Fusion sedan and the new Ford Escape crossover. In fact, 24/7 Wall Street anticipates Ford will have three models in the Top 10, more than any other maker — and four in the Sweet 16, where it is expected to tie with General Motors.

Hyundai, meanwhile, rounds out the 16, landing the last two models — the Sonata and Elantra — twice as many as Nissan.

While light trucks have dominated the U.S. sales charts since the mid-1980s, they’ve been losing ground of late, and that’s backed up by the forecast which anticipates there will six midsize sedans among the Sweet 16 and five compact models.

Three compact crossovers land on the list, but only two classic “truck-trucks,” the F-Series and the Silverado.

Here’s the complete list of the likely Best-Selling Cars, Trucks and Crossovers for 2013 and the anticipated sales:

1)      Toyota Camry, 2013 sales forecast 483,977

2)      Ford F-150, 455,305

3)      Honda Accord, 387,779

4)      Nissan Altima, 358,187

5)      Honda Civic, 357,621

6)      Toyota Corolla, 333,933

7)      Honda CR-V, 327,955

8)      Ford Fusion, 290,424

9)      Chevrolet Silverado 1500, 282,627

10)   Ford Escape, 273,846

11)   Chevrolet Malibu, 251,403

12)   Chevrolet Cruze, 247,870

13)   Chevrolet Equinox, 247,468

14)   Ford Focus, 243,965

15)   Hyundai Sonata, 235,218

16)   Hyundai Elantra, 215,721

The forecast reveals another significant trend in the American market. There are now an estimated 250 models available to U.S. motorists, more than ever before. But that means a smaller and smaller share for every individual product.  Only two models are expected to top the 400,000 mark, just five will likely generate sales in the 300,000 range. The rest will land somewhere north of 200,000.

Not that many decades back, a long list of offerings would routinely top 400,000 or more. At one point, Chevrolet sold a million Impalas. But as this product proliferation trend continues, even the best-sellers are likely to continue to see demand decline, analysts anticipate.

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2 Responses to “Forecast: Best-Selling Cars, Trucks and Crossover for 2013”

  1. lray801 says:

    The Camry upend the F-Series for 2013? You’re daft. You’re completely ignoring the fact that the F-Series had it’s best month in 7 years, it has a 20k+ lead on second place in November sales, has minimal competition changes coming (the GM twins’ update isn’t going to be that huge), and the Camry will be facing extremely stiff competition from the new Altima and Fusion…and Malibu to a lesser degree.

    • Paul A. Eisenstein says:

      I have to admit I was a little more than skeptical when I saw the projections of 24/7, especially with the F-Series shown as less than 500,000 sales for 2013 — or barely half its one-time peak. No question, the personal use network has slipped, but…

      And, yes, you’re absolutely right about midsize competition, as I did stress in the report. But the piece was based on the 24/7 study, not TheDetroitBureau.com data and projections, and thus we show what they predicted. Let’s see. But I would not be surprised if we corrected them a year from now.

      Paul A. Eisenstein
      Publisher, TheDetroitBureau.com