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By the numbers

March 2013: America’s Top 10 Best Selling Compact Cars

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2013 Hyundai Elantra Coupe

Already one of the largest vehicle segments in the U.S., the compact car segment is increasingly becoming the most prominent, largely because the so-called “compact” cars are, well, pretty large and offer most, if not all, of the luxury, safety and convenience features once sought after in their mid-size counterparts. Needless to say, competition has become fiercer.

In march, the once untouchable Japanese models lost ground to their Korean and American rivals. While the Toyota Corolla held on to its top dog status convincingly, the Honda Civic saw a slight decline, making room for the Hyundai Elantra (sales surged by a whopping 32.90%) to almost topple it.

The Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus also had a good month, despite the latter’s 11.90% sales decline. Aside from the Mazda3‘s 21.63% sales decline, there were no noteworthy changes at the bottom half of the list.

Rank Car March 2013 % Change vs 2012 Year to Date YTD % Change vs 2012
1. Toyota Corolla/Matrix 31,432 11.10% 80,244 17.30%
2. Honda Civic 27,665 -1.90% 72,259 -6.40%
3. Hyundai Elantra 26,153 32.90% 54,546 22.80%
4. Ford Focus 24,929 -11.90% 61,898 -6.30%
5. Chevrolet Cruze 23,260 7.70% 55,731 -2.40%
7. Volkswagen Jetta 15,005 0.30% 32,359 -5.40%
8. Nissan Sentra 13,965 -0.90% 33,002 3.90%
9. Mazda3 10,505 -21.63% 29,133 3.90%
10. Dodge Dart 8,091 N/A 22,965 3.90%
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Ford Focus, The World’s Best-Selling Car in 2012

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2013 Ford Focus ST

The Ford Focus had a stellar year in 2012, becoming the world’s best-selling car for the second year in a row.

According to research by R.L. Polk, Ford sold 1,020,410 units of the compact car worldwide in 2012 — 879,914 deliveries made in 2011 — beating out the second place Toyota Corolla‘s 872,774 sales by a large margin.

Ford also laid claim to the No. 3 and 6 spots with its F-150 pickup truck (785,630 sales) and Fiesta subcompact (723,130), respectively. The Chinese-made Wuling Zhiguang (768,870 units) took spot number four, while the Toyota Camry (729,793 units) rounded out the top five best performers.

Other strong performers were the Volkswagen Golf (699,148 units) at No. 7, the Chevrolet Cruze (661,325 units) at Np.8 and the Honda Civic (651,159 units) and CR-V (624,982 units) at No. 9 and 10, respectively..

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March 2013: Top 10 Best Selling Cars

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2013 Nissan Altima

These are the top 10 best-selling cars in the U.S. in March 2013. Do you see any surprises? Sure you do. While the Ford F150 and the Chevrolet Silverado at the number one and two spots, respectively, come as no surprise, the Nissan Altima unseating the Toyota Camary as the top-selling car is a doozy.

This is not the first time that the Altima has performed very well, but the fact that it outsold the Camry fair and square (no tsunami or natural disaster to blame) is a telling sign of just how ultra competitive the mid-size sedan segment has become. It’s not only because most of the competing cars are good, but also because many automakers that once shunned discounts and attractive financing deals — the Japanese in particular — are now embracing them in pursuit of segment domination.

Despite their strong showings, both the Altima and Camry saw their sales decline over last March. On the other hand, the Honda Accord saw a large gain and was nipping at the heels of the Camry for the number four spot. The Ford Fusion saw a modest gain and is increasingly becoming a regular on the top 10 list, while the the Honda Civic seems to be just about ready to drop off the list, permanently replaced by either the Ford Escape or the Honda CR-V.

As often seems the case, we lied about the list just containing the top 10 best-selling cars. For your convenience, we’ve extended it to include the top 20 cars. Sorry.

Rank Vehicle March, 2013 % Change Year to Date YTD
1 Ford F-Series 67,513 16.30% 168,843 17.40%
2 Chevrolet Silverado 39,561 8.40% 116,649 22.00%
3 Nissan Altima 37,763 -8.00% 86,952 -9.80%
4 Toyota Camry 37,663 -11.50% 100,830 -4.30%
5 Honda Accord 36,504 36.40% 88,427 44.60%
6 Dodge Ram 33,831 25.50% 77,594 15.00%
7 Toyota Corolla/Matrix 31,423 11.10% 80,244 17.30%
8 Ford Fusion 30,284 6.00% 80,558 26.00%
9 Ford Escape 28,934 27.60% 72,983 24.50%
10 Honda Civic 27,665 -1.90% 72,259 -6.40%
11 Honda CR-V 26,897 -12.90% 65,374 -12.40%
12 Hyundai Elantra 26,153 32.90% 54,546 22.80%
13 Ford Focus 24,929 -11.90% 61,898 -6.30%
14 Chevrolet Cruze 23,260 7.70% 55,731 -2.40%
15 Chevrolet Equinox 20,997 4.70% 58,869 14.10%
16 Ford Explorer 18,599 40.50% 51,197 52.20%
17 Chevrolet Malibu 18,539 -22.40% 49,179 -16.00%
18 Hyundai Sonata 18,031 -22.60% 47,285 -14.30%
19 Chrysler 200 16,593 11.30% 36,885 16.60%
20 Toyota RAV4 16,474 -5.10% 41,413 3.90%
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March 2013: U.S. Auto Sales Automaker Rankings

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2013 Cadillac ATS

March was another strong month for the U.S. automotive industry. with most automakers posting sales gains.

The American automakers had modest gains, with General Motors leading the way. While Chevrolet sales remained flat, Cadillac and Buick were untouchable, thanks to the success of the newly-introduced Cadillac ATS and updated Buick Enclave. In fact, all three of GM’s Lambda-based crossovers — Enclave, Traverse and Acadia — had a stellar month.

Nissan and Subaru recorded their best sales months ever in March, while the once-hot Kia and Hyundai saw their sales slip by a bit, partly because of production constraints.

Honda and Toyota also recorded sales gains, with the latter claiming that it had the highest retail volume in the industry. Acura, Honda’s luxury division, was a standout with an impressive gain of 26.30 percent. For the culprit, look no further than the RDX crossover.

The worst performing automaker was Mitsubishi with just 5,286 vehicles sold last month. Having discontinued several of its cars, the struggling Japanese automaker is betting on new cars like the upcoming Mirage subcompact to reverse its fortunes.

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