March was a month with little surprises in the midsize sedan segment. The winner's list reads almost exactly the same as last month, and as we said last month, there's something of a natural pecking order among the competitors. Three of the cars from the middle of the pack, the Chrysler 200, Dodge Avenger, and Chevrolet Malibu, ended up making the fight a little bit more interesting.
Once again, the top four midsizers stayed in the same competitive place in the month of March. The Toyota Camry came in first, selling 42,567 units last month. It's an amazing showing for the Camry, but the model still faces stiff competition from the second-place entrant, the Nissan Altima. The Altima sold 41,050 cars last month, just 1517 fewer than the Camry. That's been the name of Nissan's game of late, considering that the separation between the Camry and Altima last month was also under 1600 units. We look forward to Nissan bringing bigger guns to the fight later this year, when it puts the new 2013 Altima on sale.
Third and fourth places went to the Ford Fusion and Honda Accord, which sold 28,562 units and 26,771 units, respectively. Both cars have impending redesigns as well: the Ford Fusion is headed to dealerships in the second half of this year, and Honda recently showed an Accord Concept at the Detroit Auto Show.
Coming in at fifth place was the combination of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger. The duo earned a combined 24,276 sales last month. The 200 accounted for 14,914 of those sales, while the Avenger made up the remaining 9362. This was enough to push the two twins from a combined seventh place last month to fifth place this month. Some of this could be due to Chrysler's high incentive spending: the 200 and Avenger both presently have $3000 on the hood, the highest in the segment.
The Hyundai Sonata sold 23,281 units last month, good enough for sixth place, while its Kia Optima sibling sold 15,008 units, earning it eighth place. The two have grown in volume but have stayed in roughly the same competitive place in recent history.
Seventh place went to the Chevrolet Malibu. While the Malibu posted a great 54 percent year-over-year sales increase, it sold just 19,035 units, placing it dead last among the American competitors. Chevrolet's 2013 Malibu is due to hit dealers some time this year, however, so expect this to shake up the Bowtied sedan's numbers to edge up.
The Volkswagen Passat and Mazda 6 earned ninth and tenth place, respectively. The new Passat had its best month on record, selling 10,032 units, while the Mazda6 sold 7855 units, up a staggering 90 percent from a year ago. Both the German and Japanese contenders are experiencing good growth this year, but still have a ways to go until they will truly compete with the powerhouses from Nissan or Ford.
Sources: Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Hyundai, Kia, Ford, General Motors, Chrysler Group, VW