Honda’s Accord beat Camry as top U.S. car in individual sales

Honda Accord

LOS ANGELES (Bloomberg) — Honda Motor Co. said its Accord was the best-selling car to U.S. individual customers in 2013, surpassing Toyota Motor Corp.’s Camry, the leader in total volume to retail and fleet buyers for a 12th consecutive year.

Americans bought 360,089 Accords last year, Honda said in a statement on Thursday, citing registration data from IHS Automotive’s Polk unit. Total U.S. sales for the Accord, including fleet, rose 11 percent in 2013 to 366,678 units.

Camry retail sales were 342,007 out of 408,484 total deliveries for the sedan, said Amanda Rice, a Toyota spokeswoman. Total Camry U.S. sales, including fleet, last year rose 1 percent to 408,484 units.

Honda’s strategy to concentrate on retail sales is paying off, as they aid resale values and typically are more profitable than those to fleets. Sales to individuals accounted for more than 98 percent of Accord’s U.S. volume last year, compared with about 84 percent for the Camry. U.S. automakers generally rely on fleets for a quarter or more of sales.

“Our focus on retail sales to individual buyers has a direct correlation to the high resale value of Honda products,” John Mendel, Honda’s U.S. executive vice president, said in the statement.

Toyota and Honda have vied for U.S. car sales leadership since the 1980s.

Both are under pressure to hold volume leads in those segments as new models from General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co. gain ground.

The Accord had the highest residual value among mid-size cars in 2013, according to ALG, the California-based company that calculates such figures. The Honda model also led Kelley Blue Book’s resale value awards for mid-size cars.

Camry isn’t in the top three of either ranking.

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