Taps Coogan – July 19th, 2021
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The following infographic, from Visual Capitalist, shows the best selling passenger car in the US every year since 1978.
It is worth noting that this list does not include pickup trucks and SUVs. If it did, the Ford F-150 would take the top spot every single year since 1977. 787,422 F-150s were sold in 2020 compared to 294,348 Camrys. Indeed, the Chevy Silverado, Dodge Ram pickup, Toyota RAV4, and Honda CR-V all outsold the Camry, but count as pickup trucks or SUVs, not passenger cars.
Nonetheless, the Toyota Camry overtook the Ford Taurus in 1996 as the most popular passenger car in the US, and with the exception of the Honda Accord in 2001, Americans have never looked back.
Interestingly, passenger car sales were 520,279 in 1978 and have trended lower ever since, hitting just 294,348 in 2020. Part of this reflects the shift to SUVs and pickups, but it also reflects the better reliability and longer life of newer cars. While all car brands have trended towards being more reliable over the years, American manufacturers still come up at the bottom of the list for reliability every single year, a point of national embarrassment as far as old Taps is concerned. This is especially disappointing when one considers that the shortcoming has been well known for decades and meaningfully contributed to the bankruptcy of GM and its subsequent taxpayer bailout. The most reliable American brand is now Buick, the only one to rank among the ‘Most Reliable’ according to Consumer Reports. Buick now only makes SUVs and crossover SUVs. The least reliable brand in the US is Lincoln.
Electric vehicles grew from about 1.4% of the market in 2019 to 1.8% in 2020. For what it’s worth, the Tesla Model 3 is now officially the most ‘American Made’ car in the US, and while Tesla ranks quite poorly for reliability thanks to a plethora of issues with the Model Y, Model S, and Model X, the Model 3 ranks fairly well for reliability and safety, as long as you don’t engage the ‘auto-pilot’…
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