Nissan Altima Most Popular Vehicle Among CarMax Shoppers

nissan altima
2014 Nissan Altima

RICHMOND, VA--June 6, 2014: To kick off the summer car buying season, CarMax today published its inaugural CarMax Used Car Shopping Report. According to data from more than 130 locations across the country, the Nissan Altima is by far the most frequently test-driven and purchased make and model at the nation’s largest used car retailer. Ford is the best-selling make in the pickup truck and SUV categories. The inaugural report is based on the total number of vehicle sales and test drives recorded by CarMax from March 2013 through February 2014, the company’s fiscal year.

“In 20 years, CarMax has sold more than 5 million cars. The hardest part about buying a car is finding the right one for you – no matter your age”

According to the 2014 CarMax Used Car Shopping Report, Americans buying a used car have favored the Nissan Altima for the past two years. The 2014 ranking of best-selling cars also included the Toyota Camry, in second place, as well as the Chevrolet Malibu, Honda Accord and Honda Civic. In the pickup truck category, the Ford 150 has been the best-selling used automobile for two years in a row. Another Ford model, the Escape, ranks highest in SUV sales.

“In 20 years, CarMax has sold more than 5 million cars. The hardest part about buying a car is finding the right one for you – no matter your age,” said Cliff Wood, executive vice president of stores at CarMax. “Fortunately, CarMax has virtually every make and model, all on one lot. Each of our locations carries about 30 different brands, making CarMax the best place to start your car shopping experience.”

Ford and Hyundai Fuel Interest of the Under-50 Set

Ford is a popular manufacturer among both Millennials (ages 18 to 33) and Generation X (ages 34 to 49). Three of the 10 most-purchased used vehicles by Millennials are Ford models, a higher share than Ford has with any other age group. CarMax also compared the sales and test drive data with its last fiscal year, March 2012 through February 2013, and found one model in particular gained significant ground: from 2013 to 2014, the Ford Edge moved up 25 spots to rank eighth in car sales among Generation X.

The Hyundai Sonata also showed gains among younger consumers. The Sonata saw a double-digit increase in the sales rankings for Millennials and Generation X from fiscal years 2013 to 2014. It also broke into the top 10 for overall used car purchases.

Baby Boomers Prefer Foreign Manufacturers

Baby Boomers (ages 50 to 68) are more likely than any other age group to buy a foreign car, the 2014 CarMax Used Car Shopping Report shows. Foreign makes represented eight of the top 10 used vehicles sold to Boomers in fiscal year 2014. The most popular foreign makes and models within this category proved to be the Toyota Camry, Nissan Altima, and the Honda Accord.

Baby Boomers also favor foreign makes when it comes to test drives. According to CarMax’s data, the five most frequently test-driven vehicles in this age group are the Toyota Camry, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV and the Nissan Altima.

Luxury Cars Rank Much Higher in Test Drives than Sales

According to the 2014 CarMax Used Car Shopping Report, used luxury and fun vehicles (convertibles or sports cars), ranked much higher in total number of test drives compared to the number of vehicles actually being sold. Last year, this was true for the BMW 328, the Infiniti G37 and the MINI Cooper. Among larger vehicles, the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 both ranked in the top 10 in terms of test-driven models, but only in the top 20 or lower in actual purchases. The top three most frequently test-driven vehicles, however, stayed in line with the most-purchased: the Nissan Altima, followed by the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry, respectively.

Cross-Generation Trends and Insights

Overall, the 2014 CarMax Used Car Shopping Report does not show a clear trend in moving to or away from domestic makes. From fiscal years 2013 to 2014, the ratio of domestic to foreign top-ranked sold cars remained about the same. The Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord revealed themselves to be “everyman” vehicles, transcending all generations. Both models ranked in the top five for sales in every age group last year.

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