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The auto industry is fickle: unstable and likely to change. Yet, by looking at the best selling vehicles of 2010, we may be able to gain insight into what will be popular this year.

The first thing to notice about the top ten vehicles sold in the U.S. last year was that trucks and SUVs are back. Their sales had previously declined due to high gas prices. Yet, in 2010 the Ford F-Series not only retained its first place finish, but sales increased a whopping 28 percent.

Chevy’s Silverado moved passed the Toyota Camry to take over second place. Silverado truck sales increased by 17 percent. The Camry’s decline of 8 percent, along with the Corolla’s drop of almost 10 percent, reflected Toyota’s mismanaged recall problems that gave it a public relations black eye.

Here is the full list of the ten best-selling vehicles of 2010:

1.       Ford F-Series

2.       Chevy Silverado

3.       Toyota Camry

4.       Honda Accord

5.       Toyota Corolla

6.       Honda Civic

7.       Nissan Altima

8.       Ford Fusion

9.       Honda CR-V

10.     Dodge Ram

What the Future Holds

Did I mention that the auto industry is fickle? One of the factors that affects its volatility is the price of gasoline. When fuel prices shoot up, large vehicle sales drop like a rock. However, when the price of gas slowly increases, as it has been, there is less reactivity in the market place.

Common wisdom indicates that fuel prices will continue to increase in the first half of 2011. This means that we can probably expect continued interest in fuel efficient vehicles–hybrids, and small car and SUVs–and a corresponding decline in truck and large SUV sales.

It should be an interesting year.


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