As expected, the March earthquake in Japan has knocked the status quo out of whack in the new car market. Generally speaking there tends to be very little change in sales ranking among the leading cars on a month to month, and even year to year, basis.
You could pretty much predict that the and would be top sellers, closely followed by the , and . Indeed, so far this year that's been the case with the only change being the , which has just barely outsold the Honda Civic to take fifth position in the sales race.
Sales in the month of May changed the rankings substantially, at least for the one month.
|1. Chevrolet Malibu||25,600|
|2. Nissan Altima||25,525|
|3. Ford Fusion||24,666|
|8. Toyota Camry||18,830|
|9. Honda Civic||18,341|
|10. Honda Accord||18,185|
The Chevrolet Malibu, normally the seventh best seller, was the most popular car sold in May, just beating the Nissan Altima. The Camry slid from first to eighth spot while the Honda Accord dropped from second to tenth. I'm not sure how Nissan managed to increase sales of the Altima while its bigger rivals were clearly hurt by the earthquake's aftermath. All three are manufactured in the U.S. so you would have expected them all to be equally affected.
The Ford Fusion finished third in the sales chart for the month followed by the Hyundai Sonata, Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus all bunched together with almost identical sales volumes. The Chevrolet Cruze, in fifth position, easily outsold the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla during the month as their rankings fell from fourth and third respectively to ninth and eleventh in the standings.
Apart from the Chevrolet Cruze, which is an all new entry in the top ten list, the other newcomer was the Hyundai Elantra which doubled its sales volume in May to take seventh, compared to an 12th position ranking last year.
Overall the new vehicle market in May was down by 4 percent compared to the same month last year. Considering how badly Toyota and Honda were affected it was surprising sales were not worse. Sadly the fact Ford and GM showed a modest decline in sales indicates that perhaps the sales recovery the industry has been enjoying so far this year has slowed.