These are the most popular vehicles of 2021 in every state

It’s pretty easy to think you know what’s going on in the auto industry by looking at the roads. The SUVs are here, the sedans are out and the sedans are hanging by a thread. We rarely have access to enough data to dismiss this near-universal anecdotal evidence. Now we can. Edmunds, the car buying experts, are in charge of publishing the car buying data of the American public.

Breaking down the data, it’s clear that this is an era of automotive transition. Detroit brands such as General Motors cling to large swaths of the United States, which depends on durable all-terrain vehicles and utility vehicles. However, in more urban areas where the white-collar and tech sectors are kings, Japanese brands sell better. The truck is still the motor of choice for Americans, but it is clear that new brands and electric vehicles are taking hold.

We break down trends in the US car-buying public.

What are the best-selling cars in America?

2020 Honda CR-V Hybrid

According to Edmunds, there are no surprises for the top-selling cars in 2021. The top 8 vehicles see entries from Ford, Dodge, Chevrolet and Toyota. Four of these eight vehicles are pickup trucks. The F-series, Silverado, Tacoma and the RAM truck series. All of these vehicles are excellent pickups, however, the F-series is the most successful as a pickup and the best-selling car in America. Winning over 19 southern, midwestern and east coast states. The Silverado and Ram take second and third place respectively.

All these brands are American or Japanese. The only non-truck entries on this nationwide best-selling list are from Japanese brands. Luxury brands like Range Rover, BMW or Mercedes that have a major influence on automotive industry trends are completely missing. With higher prices than domestic and Japanese competitors, these premium brands may indeed have premium and desirable badges, but they are still too expensive to offset the sales volumes of Ford and Chevrolet.

In another interesting result in Northwestern states such as Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin, the Chevrolet Equinox enters the top five selling cars. Chevrolet has conquered the best-selling slots in these markets with its Silverado. In this region of the United States, Chevrolet sells much better than in the South and Midwest, where Ford and Dodge respectfully take the title. No Jeep-branded vehicle made it into the national top 10 bestsellers. However, Jeep fanatics need not despair. In Connecticut and South Dakota, the Grand Cherokee entered the top 5.

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How are the best-selling cars changing?

2022 Honda Civic SI

Edmunds’ report for 2021 acknowledges the rise of the SUV. They write “Nationally, 80% of the top 10 sellers are either trucks or SUVs”, with the Civic and Corrola being the only exceptions to this. Some parts of the United States have a little more SUV fever than others. Edmunds found that “100% of the top-selling vehicles in Alaska are SUVs or trucks.” There are only two states where the top-selling vehicle isn’t an SUV or a truck. The best-selling vehicle in Florida is the Toyota Corolla. In California, that title belongs to the Honda Civic. More urban areas around the East Coast or Washington that in previous years may have tipped in favor of these sedans now favor Honda’s CR-V and Toyota Rav-4.

So far, Korean brands have not entered the top 10 vehicles in America. The Hyundai Tucson is the mid-size SUV of the brand, available in gasoline or hybrid version. Named after an Arizona town and an affordable trend driver, this Hyundai is exactly what the market is looking for. But at just twenty seconds, it shows just how much work Korean brands still have to do. Expect over the next few years to see Korean brands enter the top 5 in areas unrelated to car town brands. Starting at just $23,700, the Tucson undercuts the competing Honda CR-V to around $25,000. Over the next few years, Kia and Hyundai will climb more in the list over the next few years. With Kia’s Telluride receiving the title of Best SUV for 2021, the Korean brand’s trajectories are further up this list.

How do electric vehicles sell?

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Electric vehicles are not yet among the top sellers nationwide. This segment of the market is slowly becoming more competitive with the likes of the Kia EV6 and Ford Mustang Mach-E. The Tesla Model Y is currently the top performer, entering the top 5 in California, Hawaii and the District of Columbia. In California, the Model Y climbed to third place with the Model 3 in fifth. The recent success of the Model 3 makes perfect sense. Cheaper than the $51,490 Model S and more similar to top-selling SUVs, it meets market demand for more legible, better-looking vehicles.

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This contradicts Edmunds’ best car rankings for last year. The Model 3 won its title of best electric vehicle. This indicates the dissonance between consumer demands and what critics think. Just because a car is better doesn’t mean it will sell. Funding, marketing, and brand relationships all come into play.

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