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America’s Best-Selling Car for Each Year Since 1978

Over the past decades, consumer preferences, technological advances, and economic trends have shaped the American automotive industry’s landscape. Each vehicle reflects the spirit and challenges of its time as it drives through automotive history. Come along as we reveal how each model has captured the hearts and driveways of Americans since 1978. 1978: Oldsmobile Cutlass …

Over the past decades, consumer preferences, technological advances, and economic trends have shaped the American automotive industry’s landscape. Each vehicle reflects the spirit and challenges of its time as it drives through automotive history. Come along as we reveal how each model has captured the hearts and driveways of Americans since 1978.

1978: Oldsmobile Cutlass


Units Sold: 520,279
The Oldsmobile Cutlass topped sales charts in 1978, with 520,279 units sold, due to its economical appeal amid the oil crisis. It blended style with efficiency, resonating deeply with American consumers looking for value. This car set a precedent for future models by balancing performance with affordability.

1979: Ford Fairmont


Units Sold: 459,054
In 1979, the Ford Fairmont emerged as the bestseller, thanks to its versatile design and fuel efficiency. With 459,054 units sold, it appealed to a broad market during economic fluctuation. Its lightweight and spacious design made it a preferred choice for American families.

1980: Chevrolet Citation


Units Sold: 811,540
The Chevrolet Citation dominated the 1980 market with its compact design that didn’t compromise on space, selling 811,540 units. At the time, its front-wheel drive offered better handling and traction, a valuable feature during the late 1970s fuel crisis.

1981: Ford Escort

Kieran White/Wikipedia

Units Sold: 337,667
Introduced to the North American market in 1981, the Ford Escort became America’s top-selling vehicle due to its compact design and fuel efficiency. It was also hailed for its reliability and affordability.

1982: Chevrolet Cavalier


Units Sold: 462,611
This stylish and practical vehicle became a favorite of American motorists when it was introduced in 1982. Since it could handle everyday use at a reasonable price, it won the hearts of many motorists.

1983: Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme


Units Sold: 297,138
With its comfortable interiors and improved engine performance, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme became a favorite among buyers looking for upscale yet affordable automobiles.

1984: Chevrolet Celebrity


Units Sold: 408,946
As the highest-selling car in 1984, the Chevrolet Celebrity boasted a mid-sized platform with ample room and comfort. Known for its durability and smooth ride, it catered to families and professionals alike, proving that practicality could still be stylish.

1985: Chevrolet Cavalier


Units Sold: 422,927
Once again, the Chevrolet Cavalier captured the market in 1985, maintaining its popularity with fuel efficiency and design enhancements. Its adaptability to various consumer needs, from basic transport to sporty options, solidified its place at the top.

1986: Ford Taurus


Units Sold: 278,562
The Ford Taurus revolutionized American car design with its aerodynamic shape and focus on the driver’s experience. This model provided a smoother ride and introduced new standards in car safety, influencing future designs in the automotive industry.

1987: Chevrolet Corsica

Kersten Watson/Wikipedia

Units Sold: 290,745
As a fuel-efficient and compact vehicle, the Chevrolet Corsica became popular in 1987, demonstrating consumer interest in comfortable yet economical transportation.

1988: Honda Accord


Units Sold: 362,707
Breaking into the American market, the Honda Accord became the top-selling car in 1988 due to its durability and fuel efficiency. It was one of the first Japanese cars to be embraced widely in the U.S., setting a new trend for foreign automakers.

1989: Honda Accord


Units Sold: 362,707
Continuing its reign, the Honda Accord remained the bestseller in 1989, thanks to its reputation for reliability and superior engineering. The Accord’s appeal was its blend of economy, comfort, and refined features that catered to a broad audience.

1990: Honda Accord


Units sold: 417,179
Continuous innovation in comfort and technology, including enhancements of engine efficiency and safety features, returned the Honda Accord to the top of the sales charts in 1990.

1991: Honda Accord


Units Sold: 399,297
Its continuous updates and features set a high standard in the competitive sedan market. In 1991, Honda’s Accord once again clinched the top spot, appealing to families and young professionals.

1992: Ford Taurus


Units sold: 409,751
This year marked another win for the Ford Taurus, with its design and technology updates maintaining its popularity among American families. It continued to offer a balance of luxury and practicality, appealing to a wide demographic.

1993: Ford Taurus


Units sold: 360,448
Dominating for another year, the Ford Taurus’s commitment to innovation and comfort kept it at the forefront of the consumer market. This period highlighted the model’s peak in popularity and influence in the automotive industry.

1994: Ford Taurus


The Ford Taurus remained the top seller, with consumers praising its reliability and the manufacturer’s attention to detail in both performance and comfort. It was a preferred choice for a dependable family vehicle.

1995: Ford Taurus

Ben Schumin/Wikipedia

The Ford Taurus once again led the market in 1995, capitalizing on its reputation for comfort and reliability. Its user-friendly design and improved safety features solidified its status as a family favorite in the U.S., reflecting Ford’s understanding of American consumer preferences.

1996: Toyota Camry


The Toyota Camry took the lead as the best-selling car in the U.S. in 1996. Known for its exceptional reliability and efficiency, the Camry offered consumers a smooth ride with lower maintenance costs, appealing broadly to middle-class families.

1997: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 394,121
The Toyota Camry continued to dominate the auto market with its combination of durability, fuel efficiency, and affordability along with its reputation for longevity and resale value, making it a smart purchase for value-conscious consumers.

1998: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 429,575
The Toyota Camry held its position at the top, with 1998 models featuring enhanced safety and technology. Its appeal extended across a wide demographic, thanks to its well-rounded capabilities in performance and comfort.

1999: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 448,162
With enhanced safety and technology, the Camry maintained its position at the top. Due to its well-rounded performance and comfort, it appealed to a wide demographic.

2000: Honda Accord


Units Sold: 404,515
The Honda Accord regained its position as a bestseller in 2000, offering an attractive mix of style, power, and cutting-edge technology. With Honda’s better emissions technology and its reliability, the vehicle appealed to a broad audience.

2001: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 390,449
The new millennium saw the Toyota Camry return to the top with a redesigned model that emphasized comfort and luxury alongside maintaining its traditional values of reliability and efficiency.

2002: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 434,145
With its enhanced safety features and powerful engine, the Toyota Camry once again dominated the market, catering to consumers’ demand for both performance and security.

2003: Toyota Camry

Toyota Camry Altise/Wikimedia

Units Sold: 413,296
Toyota continued to innovate with the Camry, enhancing its interior and technology to offer a more premium driving experience. This year’s model emphasized quieter, more comfortable rides and robust performance capabilities.

2004: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 426,990
The Toyota Camry’s appeal remained strong with further engine efficiency and comfort enhancements. This year, its dependable performance and the introduction of hybrid technology marked significant milestones in automotive innovation.

2005: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 431,703
The Toyota Camry maintained its lead with enhanced interior comfort and cutting-edge technology, including an improved navigation system and options for a hybrid model. Despite constant competition, it remained a market leader due to its commitment to reliability and consumer trust.

2006: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 448,445
Once again, the Toyota Camry led the market, this time incorporating more advanced safety features like electronic stability control and improved airbag systems, making it one of the safest vehicles on the road.

2007: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 473,108
The Toyota Camry’s new design this year offered a more modern look and an even more spacious interior, catering to consumer demand for a stylish yet practical vehicle. It continued to set standards in the midsize sedan market.

2008: Honda Accord


Units Sold: 372,789
The Honda Accord took the top spot with a completely redesigned model that offered more power, luxury, and efficiency. With advanced environmental credentials, the Honda Accord appealed to consumers seeking sophisticated vehicles.

2009: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 356,824
Despite a tough economic year, the Toyota Camry regained its position at the top thanks to its reputation for dependability and excellent value retention, making it a prudent choice for budget-conscious buyers.

2010: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 327,804
Toyota continued to dominate with the Camry, focusing on enhancing user experience with more intuitive technology interfaces and improved fuel efficiency in both its traditional and hybrid variants.

2011: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 308,510
The Toyota Camry focused on upgrading safety features, including a standard vehicle stability control system, which was highly valued by consumers interested in both new and used car markets.

2012: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 404,886
The Camry introduced more luxurious features and a more aggressive exterior design, appealing to a younger demographic while maintaining the core attributes of safety and reliability that long-term fans appreciated.

2013: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 408,484
Continuing its streak, the Toyota Camry combined innovative in-car technology like touch screen interfaces and Bluetooth connectivity with its traditional attributes of durability and cost-effectiveness.

2014: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 428,606
The Toyota Camry maintained strong sales by focusing on a more dynamic driving experience and modern design elements, helping to keep it relevant in a competitive market.

2015: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 429,355
Toyota’s Camry stayed at the forefront by introducing advanced driver assistance technologies, which began to become a standard expectation in new vehicles around this time.

2016: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 388,618
The Toyota Camry continued to appeal to a broad market by balancing performance, luxury, and efficiency, making it the go-to model for reliability and comfort.

2017: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 387,081
The newly redesigned Camry offered a sharper look and greater emphasis on sporty performance, attracting a demographic interested in a more engaging driving experience.

2018: Toyota Camry

Scott Olson/Getty

Units Sold: 343,439
With the Camry’s addition of cutting-edge safety technology and commitment to hybrid technology, Toyota further cemented its reputation as an innovator and environmental champion.

2019: Toyota Camry

John Sommers II/Getty

Units Sold: 336,978
With the automotive industry shifting towards SUVs and crossovers, the Toyota Camry maintained strong sales by offering a compelling mix of technology, safety, and performance features, catering to the sedan market effectively.

2020: Toyota Camry

ArtEvent ET/Getty

Units Sold: 294,348
Even in a challenging year marked by a global pandemic, the Toyota Camry adapted quickly to market changes with flexible purchasing options and a focus on hybrid technology to meet evolving consumer demands.

2021: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 313,795
The Toyota Camry emerged as the top-selling passenger car in the U.S. despite challenges such as Chip shortages and supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID pandemic.

2022: Toyota Camry


Units Sold: 295,201
A slight dip in overall sales from 2022 to 2023 led to Camry’s dominance of passenger car sales, while Toyota’s Corolla ranked second with 222,216 sales.

2023: Toyota Camry

Dinkun Chen/Wikipedia

Units Sold: 290,649
Although there was a glut of SUVs on the market in 2012, the Camry did better than some notable models. Despite a 1.5% decline in sales, the Camry remains a major player in the industry.