Detroit has finally achieved its dream — for one month, anyway. It knocked Japan’s four best-selling cars out of the Top 10 best-sellers in the USA in May results reported this week.
The Honda Accord and Civic, and Toyota Camry and Corolla are always grouped behind the two best-selling pickups, Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Silverado, on the list of top 10. This month, they fell into the teens, Autodata figures show.
A year ago, Camry was the nation’s third best-selling vehicle for May. Last month it was 12th. The fourth-place Civic moved to 13th. The fifth-place Accord is now 15th. And the sixth-place Corolla fell to 16th.
It wasn’t due to fading popularity. Instead, plants both in the U.S. and Japan have been operating at reduced levels because of parts shortages in the wake of the disaster in Japan. Toyota, for instance, reports a lack of Camrys, with a 30-day supply, and Corolla, with a 50-day supply, well below average.
The result, for the moment, is the kind of world that General Motors and Ford could only imagine. Their cars, not just trucks, outdistanced head-to-head Japanese rivals in sales in May. Chevrolet Malibu was the nation’s best-selling vehicle. The midsize car was up 17.9% compared with May 2010. Ford’s midsize Fusion was fifth, and the new, heavily touted Chevrolet Cruze compact was eighth.
Times were so good for the domestic makers that for the first time in ages, the Detroit 3 also finished 1-2-3 as the biggest automakers in America, with not only Ford but Chrysler ahead of Japan’s top 3 — Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.
The Motor City’s good times may not last: Toyota and Honda say their plants are closer to returning to normal and they expect supplies to start showing up in the next couple months.
But for this summer, it must feel like the 1960s all over again in Detroit.
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