In our whirlwind journey across the planet, over the past couple of weeks we stopped in South Africa, Zimbabwe, New Caledonia and Iceland. This week I will make it easy for you and will cover the entire world all at once…
Yes it is possible.
Now if this is way too much for you to absorb, that’s ok too because I have sales info for 160 countries for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. So don’t be shy and click away!
Back to the world.
Forbes has recently released its estimated list of the world’s best-selling models in 2011. As I spend my time counting cars all around the globe I’m sure you can imagine how hard it was for me to mask my excitement when I discovered that list…
There are a few things in their list that I am not too sure about…so follow me please over the jump.
The main event in 2011 is the fact that the Hyundai Elantra, outside the Top 10 in 2009 and 2010, is now the second best-selling nameplate on the planet with over 1 million units sold (1.01 million to be exact)…only 10,000 units below the Toyota Corolla! Yes sir, who would have thought the Elantra, with the new generation only one year old, would already threaten the Boss itself… Remember though that included in this figure are the two generations of the model that were on sale this year.
Now selling more than 1 million units in a single year is a feat not many cars have achieved in the past, and it is the first time a Korean model does so! A very, very significant benchmark indeed. Other millionaire cars that come to mind include the Ford Model T, VW Beetle, Chevrolet Impala, VW Golf, Ford F-Series and of course the Toyota Corolla.
So yes, Corolla still #1 in spite of tsunamis and floods that disrupted its production, but just. Moreover, it is unclear whether that 1.02 million figure includes the Auris hatchback, sold in some markets (Australia, South Africa) as a Corolla… If it does include the hatchback, then the Hyundai Elantra is the runaway leader.
In third place worldwide we find the Wuling Sunshine with 943,000 units sold. The Wuling Sunshine is a commercial minibus and the best-selling vehicle in China. Now I have reservations on this number because the Sunshine would have sold around 740,000 units in China this year and I’m not sure where the additional 200,000 sales come from…
Then in 4th position is the Ford Focus, now with a unified design all around the world, with 919,000 sales. This in spite of a slow start for the new generation that ranked 7th in Europe.
At #5 we have the Kia Rio/Pride with 815,337 units. This is an interesting one: yes, as a nameplate the Rio sells that much, but this figure is composed of 3 very different cars. Approximately 500,000 units are of the 1987 first generation Pride sold in Iran under a joint-venture with Saipa where it leads the market by far, the rest is a mix of 2005 Gen 2 and 2011 Gen 3…
At #6 comes the Ford Fiesta with 781,147 units, ahead of the VW Jetta at 745,000, Toyota Camry at 726,000 and Chevrolet Cruze at 691,000.
Here again the Jetta figure is composed of very different models: the 1984 second generation in China (pictured above), the 1998 fourth generation in China (called Bora) and Mexico (called Clasico) and the 2010 6th generation everywhere else…
The Cruze figure, nearly double that of last year and making it #9 in the world, is very impressive and reflects its success in as varied markets as the US, China and Australia.
Leader in Europe, the VW Golf is only #10 with 648,000 units, a far cry from the million units it used to sell worldwide around 10 years ago.
Now the Ford F-Series didn’t appear in Forbes ranking but based on US and Canada sales and the fact that it doesn’t sell much outside those 2 countries I have estimated it to be #11 with around 645,000 sales, ahead of the VW Passat and Honda Civic.
Best-selling nameplates in the world in 2011 (according to Forbes)
|11||Ford F-Series (e)||645,000|
Now I need to give you ammunition in case people challenge you when you share this ranking at posh dinners…
I’m sure you will notice the absence of such successful nameplates as the Toyota Hilux, Honda Accord, Opel Astra, Opel Corsa or VW Polo and the fact that there is no French car in the ranking.
Here are the explanations:
The Honda Accord sold around 230,000 units in the US, down 14%, and America is still by far its strongest market as the model doesn’t sell well in Europe or Asia, so no chance.
The Opel Astra, Corsa and VW Polo, although very successful in Europe where they sold between 280,000 (Astra) and 360,000 units (Polo), are not exceptionally strong anywhere else, preventing them to reach the highest ranks.
As for French models, again they are only truly popular in Europe, moreover both the Renault Clio and Peugeot 207 are at the end of their career, with their replacement both due in 2012 so even their European figures are not flash this year.
Last but not least, the Toyota Hilux. If you are an avid reader of my weekly updates you will know that the Hilux is estimated to be the best-selling model in no less than 33 countries around the globe. So the logic would dictate that you should at least see it in the worldwide Top 10, right?
Yes but 22 of these countries are in Africa where the volume are really low, with Thailand being its highest volume earner at around 100,000 units. So at maximum you are looking at 350,000 to 400,000 sales worldwide for the Hilux, which could possibly get it a spot in the Top 20, but certainly not in the Top 10…
The world’s best-selling models have no secrets for you anymore.
But please feel free to fire any questions you have, I will do my best to answer them.
Figures were sourced on Forbes, except for the Ford F-Series which is my estimate.
Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.