Toyota hits a milestone

The Japanese auto giant finishes 2009 on a high note, selling more cars to U.S. buyers than anyone else. Ford sees strong momentum as well.

By Kim Peterson Jan 6, 2010 2:31PM
Credit: © Ford Motor Company
Caption: 2009 Ford F-150 XLTLast year was absolutely brutal for carmakers, but Toyota (TM) and Ford (F) came out with some good news.

Toyota sold more cars to U.S. buyers than anyone else, and it passed General Motors in retail sales for the first time, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The "retail" sales don't include fleet sales to customers such as car-rental companies. GM is strong in that area and so was able to still top the charts in overall sales.
But Toyota clearly has seized new opportunities as the U.S. auto industry has tanked.

Seems like we can't hear enough good things about Ford lately, and the company is definitely entering the new year with strong momentum.

Ford, Toyota and Honda all had nice sales increases in December, and Ford in particular saw sales spike 33% that month. The Ford F-series truck (pictured) was the top-selling model of 2009, although its sales volume of 414,000 was down some 20% from the previous year.

Ford estimates that its U.S. market share actually grew by a percentage point last year to 15%. And GM likely held on to its 20% market share, even with bankruptcy and all of its other problems.

So which car company suffered the most? Probably Chrysler, which has seen its sales plummet by 55% in the past two years. Its 2009 drop alone was about 36%.

For the first time since 1962, Chrysler sold fewer than a million cars and trucks.

Here are the top 20 bestselling models in the U.S. in 2009, according to The Detroit Free Press. Listed is the model name, the sales volume for 2009 and the percentage change from the previous year:

1. Ford F-Series 413,625 -19.8%
2. Toyota Camry 356,824 -18.3%
3. Chevrolet Silverado
316,544 -31.9%
4. Toyota Corolla 296,874 -15.4%
5. Honda Accord  287,492 -22.9%
6. Honda Civic 259,722 -23.5%
7. Nissan Altima 203,568 -24.5%
8. Honda CR-V 191,214 -3.1%
9. Ford Fusion 180,671 22.4%
10. Dodge Ram 177,268 -27.9%
11. Ford Escape 173,044 10.5%
12. Chevrolet Impala 165,565 -37.7%
13. Chevrolet Malibu
161,568 -8.8%
14. Ford Focus 160,433 -18.1%
15. Toyota RAV4 149,088 8.8%
16. Toyota Prius 139.682 -12.1%
17. GMC Sierra 111,842 -33.6%
18. Lexus RX 93,379 10.9%
19. Subaru Legacy 86,330 29.1%
20. Chevrolet Equinox 86,148 27.7%

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