2021 was a bizarre year for auto sales, even after 2020. Both were heavily influenced by Covid and the ensuing supply chain mess, and the ongoing shortages of chips and other critical materials and components will surely linger into 2022. But the show must go on, and go on it did. While it may not look like it on paper, 2021 saw customers return to showrooms in droves, driving up demand for new cars. Here’s what they took home most often.
10 – Honda Civic
This staple has been a sales leader for Honda for decades, inching further and further ahead of the Accord as the midsize segment has contracted. It slipped from 8th place to 10th in 2021, but remained in the top 10 despite ongoing parts shortages.
9 – Toyota Highlander
Believe it or not, three-rows don’t typically crack the top 10. Just goes to show how strange 2021 really was. The Highlander was in 14th place last year, so this is a big leap for the family hauler.
8 – Jeep Grand Cherokee
This is another surprise, and a first for Jeep, if our notes are correct. The Grand Cherokee was bolstered by the addition of a new three-row model this year (Jeep combines the two for its sales reports) but keep in mind that the vast majority of volume here was actually the outgoing (as in not the brand-new 2022) two-row model. Kudos to Jeep on jumping from 15th to 8th.
7 – Nissan Rogue
The new Rogue is outselling its predecessor handily — 7th place is a four-spot bump for the little volume SUV. That’s a big win for Nissan, which could use a few of those.
6 – Toyota Camry
From here on out, the list gets a bit more predictable. The Camry slotted in 6th last year too, and it’s interesting how Toyota’s script is flipped from that of Honda, which sees more volume from its compact sedan than its midsize. The Corolla family landed in 12th. Not bad, just not this good.
5 – Honda CR-V
We said before that Honda’s midsize Accord has fallen a bit from its previous heights, but the CR-V has risen in proportion to replace it. Honda struggled with the chip shortage like everybody else in the second half, but early volume kept its year-end figures healthy despite the production shortfalls.
4 – Toyota RAV4
Meanwhile, Toyota managed to get both its midsize sedan and compact SUV into the top 10. The RAV4 is perfectly named for this position, which it also held last year.
3 – Chevrolet Silverado
Well, this one’s a biggie. GM’s combined sales of its Silverado and Sierra pickups technically makes it the largest full-size truck maker by volume in the United States, but thanks to the separate nameplates, that distinction doesn’t translate to higher placement on this list. Not only is the Silverado not in first, but it actually slipped a spot this year to third due to production constraints and the continued success of Ram’s new pickup line.
2 – Ram Pickup
Quite the coup for Stellantis. As we noted above, this was largely due to GM’s inability to build trucks due to component shortages, but Ram has been nipping at the General’s heels for years, with the two nameplates trading places often in quarterly sales results over the past few years. This was a pretty solid thumping though (a difference of 40,000 units) and to Ram’s credit, the truck line finished up 1% over last year. Silverado (down 10.8%) and F-Series (down 6.8%) can’t say the same.
1 – Ford F-Series
As predictable as always. The F-Series has been America’s best selling vehicle line basically forever. Ford’s total full-size volume has slipped behind GM’s again in recent years due to production issues even pre-Covid, but it remains the king of the hill at the end of the day (month, quarter or year).