The Honda Accord was the best-selling car in the U.S. last year, pushing the Toyota Camry from a position it has held for four years. Honda, which trails Toyota as Japan's second-biggest automaker, said Accord sales in the U.S. rose 2.5 percent to 414,718 vehicles. Toyota said in a statement that Camry sales fell 7.7 percent to 390,449.

The newly awarded title gives Honda an immediate marketing advantage as it begins the year amid expectations of lower U.S. auto demand in a recession. The Accord, produced at the company's main North American plant in Marysville, Ohio, last held the top spot in 1991.