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In Q1 of 2021, a few brands stood out on top. These five brands outperformed every other automotive brand in the U.S. in terms of unit sales. Here are America’s most popular car brands as per this year’s first quarter. 

Toyota Motor Corporation logo on a white screen with a phone that also has the logo pulled up
Toyota Motor Corporation logo | Thiago Prudencio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Japanese car manufacturers have three of the top five spots including the nation’s sales leader

a 2021 Toyota RAV4 parked in a scenic forested area
2021 Toyota RAV4 | Toyota USA

When Japanese brands first began making their way across the pond to the U.S. auto market they didn’t rise to instant success. However, over time brands like Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Mazda, and Subaru have become household names and staples of the American family car. Each brand stakes a claim to performance, reliability, and/or safety, and competes with the “big dogs” when car shoppers are searching for their next family vehicle. 

Overall, however, some of these Japanese brands have risen to more popularity than others. Toyota, Honda, and Nissan are all among the top five most sold brands in America. In fact, Toyota holds the leading position in terms of unit sales. America’s most popular car brands include three Japanese manufacturers. 

a white Honda Civic Type R in the city
Honda Civic Type R | Honda

Toyota sold 517,017 units in Q1 of 2021, according to Good Car Bad Car. This is unsurprising, considering the popularity of models like the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota RAV4. Honda, in fourth place, sold 309,203 units. Then in fifth place, Nissan sold 266,481 units in the first quarter of this year. All three of these brands have one thing in common: they all sell boat loads of affordable commuter cars like the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, and Nissan Sentra.

Which American car brand sold the most units in Q1 of 2021? 

The front end of Ford's F-150 truck
2021 Ford F-150 | Ford

In both second and third place for unit sales this year in Q1 are two American car brands. Unchockingly, the leading truck manufacturer Ford is in second place. Chevrolet, most often called Chevy by us common folk, took a close third. 

Ford sold 492,271 units in the first quarter of the year, according to Good Car Bad Car. Of those, 203,797 were Ford F-Series models. Taking the third place podium spot for unit sales in Q1 is Chevy. 

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado parked next to a lake.
2021 Chevy Silverado | Chevrolet

Chevy sold 463,913 units in Q1. Out of all of the units sold, Chevy’s popular Silverado also dominated that number. In Q1 of 2021, Chevy sold 126,591 Silverado models in Q1. 

A dark green 2021 Toyota Tacoma sitting on top of a brown rocky terrain with a cloud covered background.
2021 Toyota Tacoma | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

So, Toyota is America’s most popular car brand. Then, in a pretty close second is Ford––thanks to solid F-Series sales numbers. Chevy is another popular American auto brand that also came out quite well in terms of sales this year in Q1. 

Due to the effects the pandemic had on car sales and the overall market last year, every car brand here has sold more units this year than it did last year. In fact, it looks like the market is stabilizing in favor of the seller and not the buyer. Anyone that has shopped for either a new or used car lately has likely seen that it’s a seller’s market. 

the new Nissan logo
Nissan company logo | Stanislav Kogiku/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

With prices skyrocketed into numbers high above the MSRP, things like the chip shortage and shipping hiccups are keeping prices up. Still, it’s likely that we will see things level out in the coming months as the supply chain uncoils and shortages end. But with strong numbers like this so far in 2021, we are likely to see a continued trend when it comes to solid unit sales numbers for America’s most popular car brands.


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