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Like ‘Em Or Not, These Are The Top-Selling Cars & Trucks of 2015

Often the best vehicle in a category isn’t recognized by the buying public who buy something inferior instead. You be the judge if the public got it right.

What’s interesting is that US car companies (of which there are really just two left) took just two of the 10 categories (3, if you insist on pretending that Jeep is a division of a US company besides the fact that its parent company is now based in Belgium). On the other hand, five of the 10 are from Toyota. Make of that what you will.

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Top-Selling Pickup: Ford F-Series

The Ford F-Series has once again topped the charts as the year’s best selling pickup truck with sales so far of 695,143 units. Much doom and gloom was predicted by some as the F-Series underwent perhaps its greatest single-year changes in 2015. The change to aluminum construction and reliance on a highly-sophisticated turbocharged V6 engine (and its equally-sophisticated PowerStroke diesel) had critics (and probably a lot of people at Ford) hold their breaths. It turned out, the buying public accepted the new technologies and Ford keeps the crown for another year.

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Top-Selling Compact Sedan: Toyota Corolla

First launched in 1966, the Toyota Corolla has been the mainstay for Toyota all these year across the globe. In the United States 330,887 Corollas were sold in 2015 (year-to-date). Of course, that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the 40+ million Corollas that Toyota has sold around the world in the last 49 years. As the Birkenstocks of cars, the Corollas are made to be sensible, not necessarily stylish. However it does  appear that Toyota has begun to address that perception (Toyota-style = slowly), given the competition in the segment, particularly from the Korean brands.

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Top-Selling Luxury Sedan: BMW 3 Series

The BMW 3 Series is a bit of a Swiss Army Knife of cars. You can purchase it as a four-door sedan, a four-door coupe, or a station wagon, with your choice of three gasoline and one diesel engine, and two-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. And there would be more if the 3 Series two-door coupe hadn’t been pulled out of the line and named the 4 series. With that line-up its not surprising that BMW sold 89,265 3 Series in the US in 2015 (year-to-date, of course).

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Top-Selling Full-Size SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee

Despite an ongoing and well-publicized reliability issue with its automatic transmission, the Jeep Cherokee continues to sell like hot cakes (actually 174,950 hot cakes, year-to-date). The reasons are pretty straightforward: compared to its competition the Grand Cherokee offers a good deal of value for the money – in terms of running gear as well as interior accouterments. The other is the Jeep name. It’s all perception of course, but most people somehow feel they’re getting a more rugged vehicle if a Jeep badge is on the fender, versus say Nissan.

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Top-Selling Midsize Sedan: Toyota Camry 

The Toyota Camry to the car for the individual who subscribes to and follows the recommendations of Consumer Reports. Not that it’s a bad thing. Major appliance have become incredibly expensive so you want to make sure you by the make and model with the features you want, one that has a high degree of reliability, and will just hum along in the background and not make a nuisance of itself. But that’s what they want from a car (which is what separates them from Gearhead readers). And that’s why they bought 392,056 Camrys so far this year.

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Top-Selling Hybrid: Toyota Prius

A few weeks ago we ran an article on the 10 Most Groundbreaking Cars in Automotive History and we included the Toyota Prius. Many readers were outraged, questioning our credentials as automotive journalist, but then were looking at the Prius with a microscope and not a set of binoculars. You see, without the Prius, we would be no where as far along with hybrid technology as we are today. Toyota proved that a hybrid system could be reliable and the public would accept the concept. So in fact there would have been no Porsche 918, La Ferrari, or McLaren P1 had the Prius not come first, or at least not for some time. That said, it’s a solid car, well-engineered and supported by Toyota. If you were interested in a hybrid, everything else (short of a Porsche 918) is a compromise.

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Top-Selling Compact Crossover: Honda CR-V

I started counting the number of competitors to the Honda CR-V in the Compact Crossover category and I quickly ran out of fingers. This is a crowded category with many choices for consumers. So how does Honda sell 314,462 CR-Vs YTD? They’ve just continued to refine the CR-V concept with each generation. Doors open wide, making it a real alternative to a smaller minivan, a flat floor in the rear (also like what you’d find in a minivan), the rear seats fold completely flat for real storage, and more. Maybe that’s the secret – the functionality of a minivan without the stigma. Well done, Honda.

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Top-Selling Minivan: Toyota Sienna

You’d think a  sports car was a luxury and a minivan was a necessity, yet the class-leading Toyota Sienna barely outsold the Ford Mustang with 125,090 deliveries year-to-date. Let’s face it, the minivan market has been marginalized and manufacturers are working hard to hold onto those customers who will still consider purchasing a new one. Minivans have to be the most-feature feature-laden vehicles on the planet, as not only do they have all the bells and whistles presented to the driver and front seat passenger, there’s a whole additional set of features for the back-benchers: optional lounge seating (like the movie theaters!), center console, dual screen Blu-ray video system, and more.

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Top-Selling Sports Car: Ford Mustang

It’s hard not to imagine the Ford not winning this category, with 113,607 sales YTD. It’s not that its vastly superior to the Camaro (both are excellent cars and probably the current models are the best ever built), it’s just that the Mustang an icon in automotive history. Think of it this way: You’ve been asked to pick 5 vehicles to represent the range of cars for the last 100 years. You’d probably end up with the Model T, Jeep MB, VW Beetle, ’55 Chevy and the Ford Mustang. It’s just tough to beat roots that deep in our culture, no matter how good the competitor.

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Top-Selling Luxury Crossover: Lexus RX350

The genius of Lexus has been that the customer purchases vehicles of Toyota quality, with extra bells and whistles either optional or not available on a comparable Toyota, the Lexus badge, for which Toyota has successfully created brand value over the years, and customer service that caused even the most premium brands to raise their games. This past year Lexus sold 88,711 of its RX350 SUVs and I’d e surprised that even with more luxury brands brings SUVs to market that number will change much.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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