By Andrew Ganz
Thursday, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:30 pm
 
New car buyers - both retail and fleet consumers - lined up in droves to buy cars in 2011. While overall industry sales aren't quite what they were a few years ago before the market began a rapid slide in the wrong direction, they showed positive, encouraging signs of recovery.

We've compiled a list of the 10 best-selling cars of 2011. While automakers don't break out fleet and retail numbers, it's safe to say that a good number of these cars went to commercial buyers last year. While fleet sales are generally a little less profitable for carmakers, they still provide much-needed volume.

The list doesn't have many surprises on it, although it's worth noting that most of the Japanese-branded models - with the exception of the Nissan Altima - faced parts shortages that affected production as a result of the March 2011 tsunami and flooding in Japan.

As usual, full-size pickups were at the top of the chart. Ford's F-Series was the runaway winner, well ahead of the Chevrolet Silverado. Even if we were to group the nearly identical GMC Sierra with its Chevrolet cousin, its 149,170 unit boost wouldn't catapult it to first place.

Interestingly, several of the cars on the list are up for redesigns in 2012, which means that they still sold very strongly in their last model years. The Nissan Altima, Ford Escape and Ford Fusion are all set for redesigns that will hit the market during the first half of 2012, while a new Toyota Camry entered showrooms last fall. Only one car on the list - the Chevrolet Cruze - was all-new for 2011, although the Ford F-Series featured a fresh powertrain lineup that almost helps it qualify as "all-new."

Despite appearing several times on the monthly top 10 lists, neither the Hyundai Sonata (225,961) or Honda Civic (221,235) cracked the annual list.

The 10 best-selling cars of 2011
1. Ford F-Series 584,917
2. Chevrolet Silverado 415,130
3. Toyota Camry 308,510
4. Nissan Altima 268,981
5. Ford Escape 254,923
6. Ford Fusion 248,067
7. Ram Pickup 244,763
8. Toyota Corolla 240,259
9. Honda Accord 235,625
10. Chevrolet Cruze 231,732