The race to be the top selling car in America is heated most years. Pick-ups usually hold the position of best selling vehicles, but among passenger cars, Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Camry has been the top seller so far in 2014 due to sales of its Camry. However, it has not been without a challenger.
Camry sales in April were 38,009, up 19.9% from a year ago. Sales of Honda Motor Co.’s (NYSE: HMC) Accord were 32,682. For the time being, traditional, gasoline-powered Accord’s sales are moving in the wrong direction, off 2.4% for the month.
Honda has gotten aggressive in its effort to boast Accord sales. Currently, it has a lease program for the CVX LS-X model which offers $2,499 on signing for a lease which is $219 for 36 months. The offer for the Accord plug-in models are even more aggressive. For the CVT PHEV, Honda offers $3,299 cash at signing on a 36 month lease of $269 a month
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Beyond the Accord, the Camry does not have a challenger, which boosts the chances it will remain in the top position for all of 2014. Honda sold 28,485 CRVs in April, but this was up only 7.4% over April 2013. Honda’s Civic sold 27,611. But, this was an increase of only 4.4%. The only American made car which was among the top selling ten in April was Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Fusion with sales of 26,435. But that was up just 1.1% from April 2013.
Two of the primary reasons the Camry has the top spot among passenger car sales in the U.S. is Toyota’s overall quality reputation. In the most recent American Customer Satisfaction Index, Toyota finished tied for third among all automobile and light truck manufacturers. after its own luxury brand–Lexus– and Mercedes Benz .
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The second strength the Camry has is that it is a well established brand. The first Camry was built in 1982. It does not face any of the brand recognition challenges that a new vehicle does.
Based on almost any measure, Camry will almost certainly hold its lead for the entire year.