Ford Focus the world's best-selling car?

Ford says yes but Toyota says it's the Corolla. So who's right?

Published: September 4, 2012, 11:00 AM
Updated: April 29, 2018, 4:03 PM

With 489,616 units sold worldwide, the Ford Focus is the best-selling single car nameplate in the world through the first half of 2012, Ford says.

It bases that statement on global data provided by the automotive research and intelligence firm, IHS Automotive.

The Focus's nearest competitor, the Toyota Corolla, sold 462,187 units over the same period per IHS's figures.

But Toyota is claiming first-half Corolla sales of 603,840 units. Why the discrepancy?

It all depends on how you count them.


IHS includes just the Corolla nameplate in its count. Toyota includes a raft of Corolla derivatives, sold under different names in different parts of the world, as part of its calculation.

Those nameplates include the Matrix, sold here in North America, as well as the Auris sedan, sold in Europe, and the Versos wagon (similar to the Matrix) sold in Japan.

By the same token, the Focus figures do not include the C-Max, which is built on the same platform.

Here in Canada, the Corolla ranked third in passenger car sales, through July, with 22,001 vehicles sold (not counting Matrix), while the Focus was sixth with 14,806 sales.

So which car is the world's best seller? If it really matters to you, you'll have to decide for yourself.

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