It's hard to think of two words in the automotive lexicon that are linked to one another as often as Camry and Accord. Any discussion of midsize cars inevitably comes around to mentioning these two models, the most popular midsize entries in the U.S. for many years. Competing directly with one another, the Camry and Accord are the same size, offer a similar choice of powertrains, and serve as flagships for their respective brands.
While the Camry and Accord are recognized as the most popular midsize sedans in America, this is actually not true. These two models are indeed the most popular midsize cars, but they are not the most popular midsize sedans. As shown on the table below, the Accord (and Altima) both are available as a coupe as well as a sedan, and when the coupe registrations are subtracted from the total Accord number, the net Accord sedan tally, through four months this year, falls short of the Fusion sedan total (and not that far ahead of the Altima sedan total). The Fusion's climb to the number two spot among midsize sedans stems partly from its 21% year-over-year increase this year, the second highest gain among the group after that of the Sonata.
Some other observations about the six most popular midsize sedans:
- The Camry's margin over the runner-up has actually widened from last year to this despite the fact that the Camry is near the end of its life cycle, reflecting its exceptional underlying strength (and Toyota’s aggressive recent incentives)
- The Fusion's number two ranking suggests the domestics are finally climbing back into contention in general in the midsize car category
- The five models trailing the Camry are grouped closely together based on January – April 2011 registrations, suggesting continued intense competition and downward pressure on prices
- There are large opportunities for Chrysler/Fiat in this arena, as neither Dodge nor Chrysler has a model in this group
- If Volkswagen hopes to reach its goal of 800,000 annual registrations in the U.S. by 2018, it will have to move up in this part of the market (something it hopes the new U.S.-built Passat will do).