Car and light truck sales in the U.S. were up 15 percent for the first half of 2012 compared with the first half of 2011, Automotive News says. Midsize cars were stronger than ever, with the five best-selling models in this category up 23 percent to 804,468 for the period. Dealers used heavy incentives to clear their lots of models replaced this fall, including the Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Fusion. Even with gas prices peaking above $4/gallon early in the year, sales of the top five-best-selling compacts rose 11.6 percent for the first half of 2012, to 656,984 units.
What about niche models? Online reader gt500 asked about sales of the Nissan Juke and Scion xB on a recent sales analysis blog at motortrend.com. It’s the Camrys and Altimas of the world that financially contribute to the business case for the more interesting models. These niche cars and trucks — the models that pique our interest — rise and fall on their own life cycles, not with the mass market. Here’s how a selection of niche models fared for the first half of 2012.