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July: Full-size surprise

by Bill Cawthon on

In 1965, Chevrolet sold more than a million Impalas in the U.S., a single-year record than has not been matched in more than 50 years.  Back then, anyone who said a Dodge would outsell an Impala would have been laughed at.

Seven months into the year, the 2017 Dodge Charger is the best-selling full-size sedan.

But that has happened in 2017. The Dodge Charger not only beat the Impala in July, it beat the combined total of the Impala, the SS, and the Caprice Police Pursuit Vehicle (PPV). It’s not just a one-month anomaly: the Charger is ahead of the three Chevy full-size cars in total sales for the first seven months of 2017.

The Charger also outsells the combined Ford Taurus and Ford Police Interceptor Sedan. In fact, the Charger outsold the combined total of all Ford- and Lincoln-branded full-size cars.

The Chrysler 300 also beat the Impala and Taurus in July, though the Chevy has the advantage in total deliveries in the first seven months of this year.

GM can only be made a winner by adding the Cadillac XTS, which was the top-selling full-size sedan in July, beating the Charger by all of 78 sales. Even then, year to date, GM would only be ahead by 317 sales.

In year to date volume, the Charger and 300, combined, are 7,380 deliveries ahead of GM’s full-size total.

Another, less pleasant, surprise was the top crossover/SUV brand for July: Toyota. Building on record sales of the RAV4, Toyota finished the month with 75,296 sales, compared to Jeep’s 69,351. Ford was third, followed by Chevrolet. Toyota Motor Sales, including Toyota and Lexus, combined to be July’s top SUV/crossover automaker. Still, Jeep and FCA kept their year-to-date lead in the market’s largest segment.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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