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Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – March 2012

2011 Ford Focus hatchback red

Surely Nissan remains pleased with the fact that the company’s U.S. division sold more than 41,000 Altimas in March. But to get to that high and lofty figure and not be holding America’s best-selling car crown at the end of the month has to be irritating. Toyota sold 42,567 Camrys in March 2012.

Ford won the battle of American midsize sedans in March, doubling up the Chrysler 200 and beating the Chevrolet Malibu by 4675 units. The Ford Focus was America’s top-selling compact in March, although one might question how many went to fleets. Not that Ford cares how many cars go to fleets.

Honda’s best-selling vehicle isn’t on this list. Sales of the CR-V crossover nearly reached 31,000 in March, enough to easily pip the Civic and Accord. 

There are four Koreans on the list to go with the single German, nine Japanese-badged cars, and six Americans. The Hyundai Sonata was the only Korean in the top 10.

Four Prius models combined to make the hybrid-only Toyota sub-family the third-best-selling passenger car nameplate in America in March. GoodCarBadCar isn’t ready to separate Prius numbers so that we don’t get to a point where full year-over-year info isn’t available. We do know, however, that sales of the regular Prius reached 18,008 in March, not a large enough drop to allow any other car onto this list of 20 best-selling cars; only the order would change. Moreover, the Prius Plug-in is really only a powertrain option on a regular Prius, which means sales of the Prius climb back up to 18,899. The Prius V is a wagon version of the Prius, and we certainly don’t exclude cars because they’re available in multiple bodystyles. So now we have 23,836 March Prius sales. Only the Prius C seems to be definitively distinctive. Prius C sales reached 4875 in its first month on the market.

With this overly wordy explanation complete, take a long look at this list of the 20 best-selling cars in America from March 2012. Links to other key best seller lists are at the bottom of this post. You can find detailed monthly and yearly sales figures for all these models and every other vehicle currently on sale in North America by utilizing the dropdown menu at the top right of this page.

Best-Selling Car
March 2012
Year To Date
% Change
Toyota Camry
42,567 + 35.3% 105,405 + 37.2%
Nissan Altima
41,050 + 27.1% 96,360 + 38.5%
Toyota Prius Family
28,711 + 54.3% 60,859 + 42.3%
Ford Fusion
28,562 + 3.6% 63,949 – 1.7%
Ford Focus
28,293 + 64.7% 66,043 + 78.2%
Toyota Corolla/Matrix
28,289 – 6.4% 68,428 – 10.8%
Honda Civic
28,199 – 9.7% 77,169 + 18.8%
Honda Accord
26,771 – 15.1% 61,132 – 7.6%
Chevrolet Malibu
23,887 + 53.6% 58,550 + 20.1%
Hyundai Sonata
23,281 + 1.7% 55,195 + 6.4%
Chevrolet Cruze
21,607 + 19.9% 57,083 + 13.7%
Hyundai Elantra
19,681 + 2.2% 44,401 + 7.8%
Chevrolet Impala
19,035 + 5.4% 50,377 + 1.7%
Nissan Versa
15,587 + 40.7% 35,195 + 16.0%
Kia Optima
15,008 + 118% 35,380 + 128%
Volkswagen Jetta
14,966 – 11.8% 38,766 – 5.5%
Chrysler 200
14,914 + 93.1% 31,638 + 159%
Nissan Sentra
14,092 – 21.1% 31,763 – 20.6%
Kia Soul
13,607 + 35.7% 32,574 + 47.7%
Mazda 3
13,235 + 6.2% 33,710 + 31.9%

Source: Manufacturers
Red font indicates year-over-year declining sales 
Chrysler 200 sales compare with Chrysler Sebring/200 sales combined.

Related From
Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – March 2013
Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – April 2012
Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – February 2012
Top 20 Best-Selling Cars In America – March 2011
U.S. Auto Sales By Brand – March 2012
Top 30 Best-Selling Vehicles In America – March 2012

  1. Bloggin, the goal would be to separate sales figures with as much detail as possible. But if the manufacturers don't provide the breakdowns, GoodCarBadCar can't provide the breakdowns, either. The Prius breakdown just happened to be available this month, but it wasn't a part of Toyota's official record, and until we know that Toyota will provide these figures (with full year-to-date and year-over-year numbers, too) there's no point in charting the differences. We forget that we're all accustomed to viewing sales figures this way: BMW sells the $34,900 328i and the $68,750 M3, but in a sales report, they're both just a 3-Series. Hopefully the Prius breakdown becomes the norm, as it has in Canada, but don't get your hopes up for a separation like you wish for at Ford.

  2. Hey Good Car Guy… not separating the plug-in from the hybrid from the electric will really distort the sales numbers. As the plug-in or EV version will cost about $20k more than the gasoline or hybrid version of the car. What's important is to be able to track the sales of the Hybrid, separate from the plug-in, from the full EV, regardless if the manufacturer gives the cars different names.

    This will get even more muddy when combining the sales of the C-MAX Hybrid and Energi(plug-in), Fusion gasoline, hybrid, Energi(plug-in), and the Focus gasoline and Electric, or MKZ gasoline and hybrid that's coming this fall.

    This would also allow for your grid of all the hybrid, plug in, electric cars for a true comparison of monthly/yearly sales.

    Just a suggestion for the BEST car stats website!!!!!!

  3. Like I said, publish ALL the facts and stats on the other companies. See what models are top in rental sales. Maybe Ford is on there. But Automotive Fleet data is a year old, but there's not a Ford in the top 5 rental sales.

  4. Ford sucks.. Americans know this, hence why they purchase Japanese cars..

    It won't be long before Toyota is back to #1 spot on this list..

  5. Is this the bias that landed the Ford Focus and Ford F-150 in GoodCarBadCar's Good 12 for 2012?

    Ford fleet sales are big subjects in the automotive twitterverse and the subject has received major news coverage of late, particularly given Ford's defence of the program. If Ford's content it seems to me to be a perfectly acceptable business practice, at least in the short term. But that's not to say it isn't news when Kevin Koswick says, "It's good for our business."

  6. Come on… do you have to make a comment in every article today about Ford fleet sales? Talk about biased writing. Since 93% of Camry fleet winds up a rental lot, how about posting an article on that? Or maybe actual stats on rental car sales, etc. Otherwise don't bother to write it, just shows your bias.

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