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RICK KRANZ

The Toyota Camry's days at No. 1 may be numbered

Rick Kranz is product editor for Automotive News.
The Camry continues to be the No. 1 selling car in the United States, but Toyota’s bragging rights are in jeopardy.

Specifically, sales of Toyota’s top-selling vehicle are losing steam.

Despite an overall market that bounced back 17 percent in November, Camry sales dropped a whopping 24 percent last month. For the year, sales are off 8 percent.

The competition, meanwhile, is gaining steam.

For the 11-month period, the Honda Accord, the No. 2 selling car, is closing in, 17,581 units behind. Sales are up 7 percent for the year. The Accord is unlikely to surpass Camry this year, but 2011 could be a different story if Toyota’s recall woes remain on the minds of shoppers.

Besides the Accord, each similar-sized sedan in the 11-month Top 10 list is on the plus side.

Sales of Hyundai’s redesigned Sonata jumped 65 percent. The Chevrolet Malibu is up 32 percent; Ford Fusion, 22 percent; and Nissan Altima, 12 percent. Even the long-in-the-tooth Impala climbed 6 percent.

Camry has been the No. 1 selling car since 2002 -- this year would be ninth straight year. But with Toyota’s bulletproof reputation damaged, Honda could end 2011 shouting, “We’re No. 1.”

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