The Cars Most Americans Are Shopping For

5. Nissan
> Consideration: 8.8%
> YTD sales: 477,466 (5th most)
> YTD market share: 7.4%
> Top model: Altima

For the past five full years of sales, Nissan has consistently been the number five auto brand in the country. It appears that it will continue along that track this year, being fifth best-selling brand in the first five months of 2013. The brand hit its record for May sales this year, shipping 106,558 models in the United States, compared to just over 81,000 in the same month last year. Among the car brands providing Nissan with boosts in sales were the Pathfinder and the Leaf, which have both tripled sales in the first five months of this year compared to last year.

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4. Chevrolet
> Consideration: 9.1%
> YTD sales: 821,674 (2nd most)
> YTD market share: 12.8%
> Top model: Silverado

Chevrolet has sold more than 820,000 cars through May, behind only Ford. Similarly, the Silverado pickup was one of America’s favorite cars in the first five months of the year with nearly 200,000 units sold, up 23.9% from the same period in 2012. But of General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) five brands, none grew at a slower clip domestically than Chevy. Sales so far this year through May were up just 5.1% from the same period in 2012, well below the 37.6% growth rate recorded by GM’s Cadillac.

3. Honda
> Consideration: 12.0%
> YTD sales: 545,447 (4th most)
> YTD market share: 8.5%
> Top model: Accord

Honda was one of just four car brands that had sold more than half a million vehicles in the first five months of 2013. The brand’s sales rose 5.6% in that period, versus the same period the year before. Currently, Honda has 8.5% share of the auto market. Although this is the fourth-highest U.S. auto market share, it is still well behind Chevy, Ford and Toyota, all of which had at least 12% of the market so far in 2013. One positive for Honda Motor Co. Ltd. (NYSE: HMC) is that consideration among car buyers rose from 10.7% last May to 12.0% in May 2013, overtaking Chevrolet.

2. Toyota
> Consideration: 14.6%
> YTD sales: 787,836 (3rd most)
> YTD market share: 12.3%
> Top model: Camry

The Toyota brand, which once had a tight grip on the number one spot in the U.S. auto market, has dropped to the number three spot in the past three full years of sales. However, sales appear to be moving in the right direction again for the Japanese auto brand. Sales of its two closest competitors, Chevy and Ford, grew by only 5% and 4%, respectively, between 2011 and 2012, while Toyota Motor Corp’s (NYSE: TM) grew by 26%. In May, Toyota came close to driving Chevrolet out of the number two spot in sales, and was second in the country for consideration as well. Some bad news for the brand include the decline in sales of two of its top nameplates, in the first five months of this year compared to the first five months of last year.

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1. Ford
> Consideration: 15.0%
> YTD sales: 1,024,000 (the most)
> YTD market share: 16%
> Top model: F-Series

Ford is the best-selling car brand in the nation with more than 1 million vehicle sales this year through May. For this part of 2013, sales of the make were up 13.9% from the year before, driven especially by growth in the sales of its Escape, Explorer, Fusion and F-Series models, all of which were up by at least 20% from the year before. Especially impressive was the growth in the F-Series, America’s most popular car, with nearly 300,000 sold through May. Ford has also effectively converted possible buyers into actual car owners. While it frequently battles Toyota for the lead spot on customers wish lists, Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) 16% market share in 2013 sales is well above its rivals.