By on June 19, 2012

After reviving a few fond memories in some of you by taking you on a trip down memory lane to France since 1949, let’s go back to worldwide rankings one more time if you don’t mind. You saw my April World Round-up and the Top 100 best-selling models worldwide over the First Quarter of 2012, but now I can share with you the most popular cars around the globe for April.

Enough of the world? No worries, you can visit 163 additional countries and territories in my blog, go on, you know you want to!

So looking at the worldwide best-selling cars ranking for April a big question looms: can the Ford Focus ever beat the Toyota Corolla to become the world’s most popular car?

The Focus ranks #2 this month…

In April the Toyota Corolla is faithful to its worldwide pole position this month with 93,728 sales while the ‘Prius threat’ seems to have gone away, with the hybrid’s sales down to 69,642 this month at #4. Note that in this figure are included 23,657 Prius c/Aqua and 14,362 Prius v.

But is the Corolla domination set to last forever? With a new generation of the model out in Japan and due to be launched worldwide by the end of the year, you could argue so.

However, the last generation Ford Focus has just hit dealerships across the whole of China, and it’s given the model a healthy kick in sales.

Let’s not beat around the bush much. To have a genuine chance of becoming the world’s favorite car, a model has to:

- Succeed in China, the biggest car market in the world these days

- Succeed in the States, still the #2 car market worldwide

- Succeed in Europe, the #2 car market if it would be counted as one

- As a bonus it’s great if you also succeed in Brazil / Latin America, or India / South East Asia

Anything less and you’re out the picture. Example: the VW Golf is a hit in Europe, but not so much in the States and China. And it’s currently got no chance at holding the worldwide pole position.

The Corolla is not sot hot right now in Europe (even in its hatchback version called Auris) but it compensates by big sales in South East Asia and the Middle East. Interestingly, the Corolla has managed to keep the lead in worldwide sales despite miserable sales in its native Japan where it’s absolutely beaten up by the Prius family: it sold a meager 3,331 units in April vs. 40,387 for the Prius/Prius+/Prius c! Less than one-tenth!

Now that the Focus is a hit in China (it ranked #3 there in April and is #2 in May), is doing OK in the US (#13 in April, #11 in May) and is still in the Top 5 in Europe (#5 in April), it is up to #2 worldwide in April with over 80,000 units sold worldwide, my estimation being 81,337 exactly.

Which brings me to seriously ask the question that Ford has been wanting us to ask since they launched the ‘Global’ Focus nameplate back in 1998: could the Focus become the world’s most popular car?

And the answer is yes. Especially because as you go into more detail and look at the different versions making up each nameplate’s sales, you realize some of them add up to 5 different generations of the nameplate still produced at a given corner of the globe (that’s if a globe had corners…) Yes I’m looking at you VW Jetta: #3 worldwide in April with 79,603 units but between the 6th generation available in Europe and the US, the 2nd gen available in China and 4th and 5th gen available in South America and China again, we are hardly talking about the same car anymore.

Even the Corolla’s sales are made up of over 10,000 units of the previous generation model still on sale in China. Add all hatchbacks sold under the Auris name in Europe and the Matrix MPV version counted as Corolla in the US and the 93,728 April figure goes down to well below 75,000.

None of that for the Focus.

Apart from a few thousands previous gen model sold in Brazil and Argentina, the entirety of April’s figure is made up of the new, global generation shared across the entire planet. Technically that makes it the most popular ‘single model’ in the world already.

So there, take that Corolla.

In other news, the Toyota Camry is up one spot on March to #5 with 66,500 sales and is followed by the VW Passat at 65,200 while the Hyundai Elantra is up 7 ranks on March to get back within the worldwide Top 10 at #7 with 62,734 sales.

VW Golf and Ford Fiesta are down whereas the Hyundai Accent is up 6 spots to #10 thanks to strong sales pretty much everywhere, from its native South Korea where it reached its highest ranking to cold but booming Russia where it ranked at an amazing 2nd spot under the name Solaris.

The Chevrolet Cruze may be down 8 spots on March, it still sells a remarkable 57,782 units. Breaking records in India, the Suzuki Swift/Dzire is up to #17 with 47,954 sales.

You can check out the Full April 2012 Wordwide Top 20 best-selling models ranking here.

Other interesting links for you:

Last World Round-up: World April 2012 Round-up: Suzuki Swift and Mazda CX-5 impress

Previous month: World March 2012: Is the Prius the #1 car in the world?

Previous Quarter: World Q1 2012: Discover the Top 100 best-selling cars!

Previous year: World Full Year 2011: Updated Top 100 now available!

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

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9 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around the Globe: Can the Ford Focus Become the World’s Most Popular Car?...”


  • avatar
    redav

    All I can say is that I can’t go anywhere without seeing a handful of these. A couple months ago, they just sprang up all over the place; it seems like everyone has bought one.

  • avatar
    dwight

    In less than a year, the Focus will hit number one. Looking at the Japan-market Corolla, it falls in line with the new and ugly updated version of Nissan’s Versa sedan. It is not an attractive car from any angle. Hopefully, the next Corolla for North America is a lot more appealing to the eye (even over the current NA market version).

  • avatar
    NN

    this Focus is a phenomenal car, and deserves the success it is seeing worldwide. I rented one for a 300 mile roadtrip last month, mostly highway and winding two lane rural country roads. Perfect drive for this car, and I averaged 40.5 mpg on the trip, verified at the pump. This was not the SFE version but the standard rental-spec 4 door hatch. It was a blast to drive. Renting cars in the US usually means some boring, plasticky, cheap automatic rental fodder. This was a good car.

  • avatar
    afflo

    I had a Fusion as a rental car for a month earlier this year. I hated it in every way. Sloppy, sluggish, and the worst transmission I remember in the recent past – you could floor it on the highway, and count: “One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thou.” before it downshifted and began moving forward.

    Last week, I had a Focus. Fantastic. I cannot beleive that such a wonderful car had “Ford” across the grille. Now would be a great time for a new logo – the blue oval is like the GM chicklet or the Chrysler pentastar – it has so many associations with the crap of the past, it will cause people to pass on what is really a top notch car.

    The car was great – quiet, refined, felt like everything was put together extra tight. It’s the same feeling one got in old Civics and Accords, but more German. I was particularly impressed by the transmission – shifts were so smooth, and the delay minimal. Click it down to S, and you could use the thumb button to shift manually. Double click, and it would shift two gears at a time. Downshift, and it would rev-match. There was very little delay or that “detachment from the driveline” feel that a torque converter so often imparts.

    I’m the type of person who avoids automatic transmissions whenever possible. All but one of my cars have been manuals. I could live with this automatic. From me, that’s a pretty impressive compliment (when I told my girlfriend, she asked if I was feeling ill).

    Supportive, comfortable seats. Gratuitous legroom. A general absence of the sloppy, slushy, Buick-like wobbling that the dreaded Fusion had. My only qualm was that it was a 4 door, so even with the extra legroom, I had the B-pillar next to my face, and the seatbelt anchor was too far foward (not firmly against my shoulder), but this is the norm for 4-door cars if you’re not a shorty.

    I’ve owned four Hondas. I currently drive a Toyota. My stint in a GMC Sonoma convinced me to avoid Detroit like it was in the final stages of Tuberculosis. The past two rental cars I’d had (Ford Focus ’10, Ford Fusion) did nothing to change that impression. This Focus was enough to make me stop and say, “Whoa, what is this?” Color me impressed. They deserve for this car to be a success.

  • avatar
    el scotto

    Kinda like bread or milk when you go grocery shopping. You always buy one or the other; or both. Same level of excitement occurs.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    Ford has to fix that clunky DCT before they can get more sales.

  • avatar
    DIYer

    Rode as a passenger in a 2012 Focus a week ago. Kind of small, a fair amount of road noise. When the car comes to a stop and idles, there is a vibration coming from the transmission. The guy who owns the car said he considered the Fiesta, but it was too small. He said he is happy with his Focus so far, says he gets 38 mpg overall doing mostly freeway driving. The Focus is very similar to a VW Jetta, except the Jetta has a better suspension.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    The Emperor’s New Car.


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