5 Cars the Big States Love

DETROIT ( TheStreet) -- Even a quick glimpse at the top vehicles in each of the five biggest states (population-wise) shows that regional preferences vary widely.

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In California, for instance, not only is the Toyota ( TM) Camry the state's favorite new car, but also every one of California's top five vehicles is an import, made by either Toyota or Honda ( HMC), according to figures compiled by TrueCar.

By contrast, Texas, the second-largest state, is pickup country: the top three vehicles are pickups made by each of the Detroit Three.

"The differences in buyer behavior based on location can be dramatic," said TrueCar analyst Jesse Toprak, in a prepared statement. "This data shows that the car is a reflection of not just the person, but also where they live."

California Loves Imports

In California, the largest state with 37.3 million people, the preference for imports is extreme. In sales, the Camry is followed by the Honda Civic, the Toyota Corolla, the Toyota Prius and the Honda Accord.

In 2010, the Camry sold 41,400 units, according to TrueCar. The Civic sold 37,800. The Corolla sold 37,050. The Prius sold 33,600. The Accord sold 33,300.

Interestingly, Ford ( F) is mounting an assault on import dominance of the biggest state.

"For us, California is an emerging market," said Ken Czubay, Ford vice president for marketing and sales, on the company's December sales call. In January, combined sales of small cars Focus and Fiesta enabled Ford's small car retail sales to increase by 99%, while Ford achieved its highest retail share in California since 2006, as Los Angeles became the No. 1 market for the Focus.

Does California remain a trendsetter, despite its economic problems? Czubay said small cars are "where the country's going (and) this is where Ford's going."

Texas Rides Pickups

In Texas, which has 25.1 million people according to the 2010 census, the top-selling vehicle is the Ford F-Series truck. This is not necessarily surprising, since the F-Series is the top-selling vehicle in the U.S. and has been for decades.

The No. 2 vehicle is GM's ( GM) Chevrolet Silverado, which is the country's third-most popular vehicle after the Camry. No. 3 in Texas is the Dodge Ram.

After that, Texans favor two imports, the Camry and the Corolla, as its fourth and fifth-favorite vehicles.

In 2010, the F-Series truck sold 73,050 units. The Silverado sold 48,450. The Dodge Ram sold 27,600. The Camry sold 21,150. The Corolla sold 18,600.

New York Goes Foreign

In New York, the third-largest state with 19.4 million people, imports again top the list. As in California, all five of the best selling-vehicles were made by Honda or Toyota.

But while Toyota leads the parade in California, Honda sells best in New York. The Honda Accord is the No. 1 vehicle, the Honda Civic is the No. 2 vehicle and the Honda CR-V is the No. 5 vehicle.

In 2010, Accord sold 27,150 units. Civic sold 21,150. Camry sold 19,500. Toyota's Rav4 sold 19,350 and Honda's CR-V sold 18,300.

Florida's Mixed Bag

In Florida, which has 18.8 million people, the list of the top five vehicles contains an unusual assortment. Perhaps this reflects that Florida has an unusual assortment of residents -- but that is not for TheStreet to say.

Consider that the top three vehicles in Florida are imports, just as in California and New York. Then comes the Ford F-Series truck and the Hyundai Sonata.

The Corolla sold 26,100 units, about the same as the Camry. The Accord sold 20,850 units. F-Series sold about 20,250 and Sonata also sold about 20,250.

Illinois Is Ford Country

Illinois, the fifth biggest state, is Ford territory.

The most popular vehicle is the F-Series truck. Second is the mid-sized Fusion, shown above because F-Series was pictured in the Texas segment. Third is the Ford Escape SUV. Clearly, Illinois has embraced the concept of a Ford for every taste.

In 2010, F-Series sold 15,600 units. Fusion sold 13,200 units. Escape sold 11,700. Silverado sold 11,100. Camry sold 10,800.

-- Written by Ted Reed in Charlotte, N.C.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Ted Reed

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