Strong vehicle sales continue into the summer, as July sales brought double-digit increases over last year for major automakers such as Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM), Toyota (NYSE:TM), and Honda (NYSE:HMC). Certain models have jumped significantly in sales this year and have found themselves in the top five best-selling vehicles in the United States. Here's how they ranked.
1. Ford's F-Series: Sales of 60,449 which is up 22.6% from last July and 22.1% for the year.
Of all the vehicles in the top five, this one is the most secure, as the F-Series has been America's best-selling vehicle for 31 years, with no end in sight. For the past three years, Ford's F-Series has sold more than the Silverado and Sierra trucks combined -- which is huge, because trucks represent majority of Ford and GM's profits. Ford's dominance looks to continue next year, when the next generation F-150 drops on the market, which looks to be very impressive.
2. Chevrolet Silverado: Sales of 42,080, which is up a staggering 45.2% over last July and 27.4% for the year.
If there's any company that wants to end Ford's dominance at the top of this list, it's General Motors. In the auto industry, the Silverado is considered a dinosaur, years overdue for the redesign that just hit the market. Since GM took its bailout, it's had to right the ship and needed cash for purposes other than redesigning its vehicles. Now that it's more financially stable, the Silverado is one of the first, and the most important, redesigned vehicles in 2014 for GM. That's one reason sales are picking up and why next year is shaping up to be a dogfight between the F-Series and Silverado.
3. Toyota Camry: Sales of 34,780, which is up 16.3% over last July but down 0.6% for the year.
While the Camry is still enjoying its spot as America's No. 1 selling car, it's definitely feeling pressure from competitors in a crowded and popular market segment. Ford's Fusion has made a splash in the market, offering an aggressive design that had been uncommon in this segment -- driving sales higher and stealing share from the Camry. Toyota is fighting back and has an aggressive leasing program that has helped sales just enough to keep ahead of the Civic and Accord, which make their debut next on the list.
4. Honda Civic: Sales of 32,416, which is up 29.6% over last July but only 1.9% for the year.
The Civic has been a longtime great-selling vehicle and continues to impress consumers, earning four and a half out of five stars from users on Edmunds.com. It's also one of the biggest reasons Honda's brand sales rose 21% in July, the highest percentage increase of any automaker. Its wide selection of powertrains, comfortable ride, good fuel economy, and excellent crash test scores make it an excellent selection at its opening price and will continue to sell very well in the United States.
5. Honda Accord: Sales of 31,507, which is up 10% over last July and 18.8% for the year.
The Accord has been a big winner this year and rounds out the top five. The reason for its nearly 20% increase in 2013 was that its redesign brought a more spacious and premium feel than its outgoing model. The Civic, while successful, was redesigned with a disappointing and plain interior, and some worried the Accord might suffer from the same mistake -- but that wasn't the case. It also added a bit of power with its 2.4-liter engine and upgraded its V-6 engine to push out 278 HP. The Fusion will challenge for market share going forward, but until autumn, Ford will be very short on inventory, as plants are producing it at maximum capacity. The Accord and Camry will continue to do well in the meantime.
For obvious reasons, having some of the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. is a good development for automakers. These high-volume sellers also represent the fastest way companies gain or lose all-important market share figures. It will be interesting to see whether any domestic automaker can have a car break into the top five for vehicles sold. Ford and GM have largely turned around since the recession and are actually producing viable, smaller, and fuel-efficient vehicles, and if they can break into the top five, it will mark a very huge change for their profitability.
Until then, owning the top two positions on the list will continue to provide Ford and GM investors with the necessary profits -- and that doesn't look to change. I still believe Ford and GM to be valuable investments as the industry continues to rebound from its staggering lows.