For the first time in the past 17 months, Toyota’s Camry lost the first place as the best-selling mid-size car in the US to Nissan’s Altima.

Toyota’s Camry not only lost the first place to Nissan’s Altima, but it also lost share to Ford and Honda models. In March Camry sales in the US dropped 12% to 37, 663 units, 100 less compared with Altima’s sales, who saw deliveries drop 8%. Both mid-size sedans were surpassed in market share by Ford’s Fusion and Honda’s Accord, which saw sales increase 6% and 36% respectively.

“Long gone are the days when you saw Camry as the perennial winner by a big margin,” Al Castignetti, Nissan’s vice president of U.S. sales, said in a phone interview yesterday. “We’ll all fight for that pie, and it will be more of an equal pie now that we’ll all share in.”

Since 2002 the best-selling flagship sedan in the US has been Toyota’s Camry, but this year’s tough competition made the model lose its crown. The mid-size segment is the biggest in the US auto market and light-vehicle sales are pushed to their highest levels seen over the past five years.

“Toyota may not have realized just how competitive the segment would get,” Alec Gutierrez, industry analyst for auto- market researcher Kelley Blue Book, said in a telephone interview. “This is the best-selling segment in the U.S., and the surge will continue for the rest of the year.”


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