In each of the last 14 years, the Toyota Camry finished New Year's Eve as America's best-selling car. It's a streak that began in 2002 and continued unabated through 2015.
Although U.S. passenger car volume slid 2% in 2015 and midsize car sales likewise declined 2% compared with 2014, Camry volume increased last year. Granted, the year-over-year uptick in Camry volume was slight: only 749 more Camrys were sold in 2015 than in 2014, a 0.2% increase equal to an extra two Camry sales per day.
Complete Toyota Motor Sales USA 2015 Calendar Year Sales
Historical Month/Yearly Toyota Camry Sales
But a Camry increase and sharp decreases from numerous other cars in its category presented Toyota with another measurable market share increase. 18.0% of the new midsize cars sold in America in 2015 were Camrys, up from 17.7% in 2014, 17.0% in 2013, and 17.2% in 2012.
MIND THE GAP
Among the broader passenger car market, the Camry outsold its next-best-selling rival, the Honda Accord, by 40,232 units in 2014. That margin of victory exploded to 66,023 units in 2015, the Camry's second-greatest margin of victory in eight years as another Toyota, the Corolla, claimed second place.
|Click Chart To Expand|
Complete U.S. Vehicle Sales Rankings By Model - 2015 Year End
Search New & Used Toyota Camrys On GCBC
2015 was, nevertheless, noteworthy in that it was the second consecutive year in which the Camry trailed three pickup trucks in the race to end the year as America's best-selling vehicle overall.
The Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, and Ram P/U lineups take into account a far greater number of bodystyles (the Camry has but one), engine variants (the Camry has just three), and platforms (the full-size trucks' sales figures take into account heavy duty models, as well).
But the American acceptance of pickup trucks is once again growing, and it was growing more rapidly than the industry as a whole even before fuel prices began rapidly declining.
Americans registered 2,544,589 pickup trucks in 2015, more than at any time since 2007, when more than 2.7 million pickups were sold.
Among overall vehicles, the Camry's best-selling car streak began in 2002 when it ranked third overall. The Camry then trailed all three pickup trucks in 2003 but ranked third in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008; second in 2009; third in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 before falling into fourth in each of the last two years.
Even if the Camry holds on to top spot among cars, it may fall further down the overall vehicles list. Camry sales have essentially flat-lined, and it'll be difficult for Toyota to keep up the pace as consumers turn away from traditional sedans; toward SUVs and crossovers. Toyota RAV4 sales, for example, more than doubled between 2011 and 2015.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.