Crossovers have officially taken over.
When most people think of an iconic American car, they tend to think of pickup trucks and muscle cars. This may have been the symbol of the American car back in the 1960s, but the most popular, highest American-built content and highest selling car in recent years has been the Toyota Camry. The Camry has been a dominate seller in the US for years now, but it looks like its reign as the sales king is coming to an end. According to Bloomberg, the Camry was not the best selling car in the US thanks to the hot-selling Nissan Rogue crossover.
Back in 2015, Toyota's US sales chief predicted that the RAV4 would overtake the Camry in sales. Clearly this prediction was not optimistic enough because the Camry has been overtaken by not one, but three crossovers. The highest selling crossover was the Nissan Rogue, but Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V also outsold the Camry. This clearly represents a shift in American consumer preferences. It makes sense that car companies are focusing marketing and development dollars on new crossovers rather than existing sedan models. Through July of this year, the Nissan Rogue was the top-selling vehicle in the US, behind only the full-size pickup trucks with a 25 percent increase in sales.
The Toyota RAV4 saw a 15 percent increase in sales and was only 1,500 units behind the Rogue. Toyota has actually created advertising in regional markets specifically catered to buyers who were considering the Rogue. Judy Wheeler, Nissan's vice president of U.S. sales, said in a phone interview with Bloomberg "They've been pretty aggressive, they're running interference with our Rogue success." The crossover wars have begun, and Nissan and Toyota are set to fight it out. The Camry may be down, but perhaps the refreshed 2018 model will recapture some sales away from the growing crossover market.