For the first time since October 1991, the long-reigning Ford F-150 has surrendered its best-seller crown to the Honda Civic, and was edged out by three other Japanese cars, as well. Ford moved 42,973 F-Seres trucks in May, but was trounced by the Toyota Corolla with 52,826 units sold, the Toyota Camry with 51,291 units sold, and the Honda Civic with 53,299 units sold. The Honda Accord also managed to edge out the F-150 by 755 units.
The May sales results certainly do not come unheralded. For some time now the truck and SUV markets have been diminishing while small and economical cars have been gaining ground. Ford's sales news isn't all bad, however. The Ford Focus and Ford Fusion have been enjoying large gains. The Focus is up a massive 53 percent over a year ago and the Fusion is up 27 percent.
There is still a lot of 2008 left to see how the market fares for the F-150, but automakers are declaring the shift from pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles to smaller cars as permanent. General Motors announced yesterday that it would shutter four truck plants and perform a strategic review of the Hummer brand. Even Ford executive Jim Farley, VP of Marketing and Communications, grudgingly accepted the May results, citing rising fuel prices and the move toward smaller cars as "a sign of the times."