Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: April 2013

Nissan and Ford led a strong month for the auto industry, with sales up 23.2% at Nissan and 17.9% at Ford thanks to big gains among both carmakers' strongest sellers. Nissan Altima sales gained 35.4% while Ford Escape sales spiked 52% — despite similar year-over-year incentives on both and lower dealership supply for the Escape.

It may seem bizarre that the Altima, then, isn't among the top 10 best-sellers. It's been there for ninth months straight, and in March it was the best-selling car (not truck) in America. But a year ago, sales were dismal — less than 17,000 in April 2012 — so even a healthy spike kept Nissan off April 2013's top 10.

The Toyota Camry and Honda Accord had higher-profile struggles. The Camry's sales drop could signal plateauing demand for Toyota's seventh-generation family sedan, whose year-over-year sales have declined for three straight months. The new Accord, meanwhile, is just 7 months old, and shoppers found significantly lower discounts versus the 2012 Accord a year ago. It's a factor that could affect Accord sales through autumn. Still, Ford didn't seem to have a problem with that. Anyone considering the new Fusion found a similar situation — lower discounts versus year-ago levels — but it didn't stop shoppers from flocking toward the popular sedan, whose sales boomed 23.7%.

The Hyundai Elantra snuck past Toyota's Corolla/ Matrix for a spot in the top 10, where the compact car hasn't landed since June 2011. Hyundai pulled the coup with a coupe — the Elantra coupe, that is. The automaker told us earlier this year that 25% of Elantra sales come from the coupe and new Elantra GT hatchback. In April 2012, you could only buy the Elantra sedan or the prior-gen Elantra Touring wagon.

With the top seven automakers reporting their numbers, overall new-car sales gained 9.5% in April. Toyota, Honda and Hyundai-Kia fell below that mark. GM outpaced it, with overall sales up 11.4%. And despite less-than-stellar quarterly profits, Chrysler's U.S. sales also picked up — thanks to, well, pickups. Bolstered with a host of updates for 2013, the Ram 1500 and Heavy-Duty combined for a 48.7% sales increase despite lower incentives.

All full-size pickup trucks had a good month, fueled by a housing market that drives pickup sales like summer temperatures drive ice cream. It was a rocky road, so to speak, for new-home construction until 2012, but the recovery continues. Housing starts neared a five-year high in March, and full-size pickup sales gained 26.9% in April. The Detroit Three's best-sellers — the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Ram — led the way, combining for a 30.7% increase despite stable or lower incentives.

Such is how the discount wars, or lack thereof, continue. The auto industry has found pricing discipline not seen in years, as new-car discounts hold steady and transaction prices continue their upward march. The average new car in April sold for $32,507, up 2% ($632) from April 2012, according to CNW Marketing Research.
Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: March 2013

March’s Fastest- and Slowest-Selling Cars
More Automotive News

Dodge Hyundai Elantra GT Ford F150 Ford Escape RAM 1500 Nissan Toyota Hyundai Elantra Nissan Altima Honda CR-V Ford Fusion Honda Accord Honda Toyota Camry Honda Civic Hyundai Ford Chevrolet Best Sellers Ford Super Duty Industry Top 10s


Senior Consumer Affairs Editor Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price.  Email Kelsey

Enter to Win $100

Review your car to enter our drawing today.
Write a Review

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. 18+