Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Chile Loves Japanese And American Cars. I Mean Chinese And Korean Cars.

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

In the last couple of weeks I have taken you to Oman, Israel, Belarus and Eritrea. Those of you that religiously read my column every week (endless thanks to you!) will remember that last week I also asked you which country you would want to travel to next. Well I have decided to grant not one, but ALL your wishes and the next few weeks will be dedicated to the countries you have requested.

Yes. I’m nice like that.

So this week we’re going to Chile, as per marjanmm’s wish. Why did I choose Chile? Because marjanmm was first to ask!

That’s right.

Now if you have ordered another country and couldn’t care less about Chile, I won’t get offended because I have prepared 159 additional countries for you to visit in my blog, so don’t sulk and click away!

In Chile, ‘Chevrolet’ and Nissan fight a very tight battle…

Yes I wrote Chevrolet like this – and apologies to anyone who works at General Motors – because the Chevrolet in question is the Sail and imported from China. But I’m getting ahead of myself…

The latest models data I have for Chile dates back to July 2011. No that recent but that’s all I have for you I’m afraid. You’ll get over it I’m sure…

Over the first 7 months of 2011, the Chilean market was up a massive 32 percent year-on-year to 187,736 units. Three models sit within 0.1 percentage point market share of each other on the podium… (hence the ‘tight battle’ tip above.)

The Nissan Tiida is the best-selling model in the country over the period with 7,739 sales and a 4.1 percent share…

…but it is closely followed by the Chevrolet Sail (yes, the one that’s imported from China) at 7,674 units. The Sail was even #1 over the first half of the year! Chile is therefore the Sail’s second-most important export country, together with Algeria where the Sail is delivering outstanding numbers, making the Sail the first true successful Chinese export…ever.

A second Nissan, the Terrano (aka Frontier, the previous generation Navara… wow, 3 names for one car. Bit much) rounds up the podium and leads the commercial vehicles ranking with 7,549 sales and 4 percent share. The Terrano has been the best-selling pick-up in Chile for the last 6 years.

A second ‘Chevrolet’ (mmm I can hear our friends at General Motors are getting a little bit annoyed), the Spark freshly imported from Korea I believe, is #4 at 6,979 units and 3.7 percent, ahead of the 2010 market leader, the Hyundai Accent down to #5 with 5,309 sales and a 2.8 percent share.

Notice also the Samsung SM3, unashamedly Korean, holding itself very well in 7th place at 2.5 percent share and the Suzuki Alto breaking into the overall Top 10 at 1.9 percent. In the SUV ranking, the Hyundai New Tucson (2,326 sales) and Santa Fe (2,226) dominate, while the Great Wall Hover ranks #10 at 975 units.

Chile All Models – 7 Months 2011

PosModel7m 2011%1Nissan Tiida7,7394.1%2Chevrolet Sail7,6744.1%3Nissan Terrano7,5494.0%4Chevrolet Spark6,9793.7%5Hyundai Accent5,3092.8%6Kia Rio4,7482.5%7Samsung SM34,6232.5%8Chevrolet Spark GT4,1862.2%9Kia Morning3,9262.1%10Suzuki Alto3,5081.9%11Chevrolet Aveo3,3101.8%12Mitsubishi L2003,1931.7%

Chile Commercial Vehicles – 7 months 2011

PosCommercial vehicles7m 2011%1Nissan Terrano7,5494.0%2Mitsubishi L2003,1931.7%3SsangYong Actyon2,6621.4%4Toyota Hilux2,5071.3%5Chevrolet D-Max2,1091.1%6Nissan Navara1,7590.9%7Ford Ranger1,5440.8%8Mahindra Pik Up1,3400.7%9VW Amarok1,2530.7%10Mazda BT-508770.5%

Chile SUVs – 7 Months 2011

PosSUVs7m 2011%1Hyundai New Tucson2,3261.2%2Hyundai Santa Fe2,2261.2%3Nissan Qashqai2,0071.1%4Toyota RAV41,9131.0%5Nissan X-Trail1,8701.0%6Kia Sportage1,6390.9%7Suzuki Grand Nomade1,4800.8%8Jeep Compass1,4050.7%9Chevrolet Captiva1,3650.7%10Great Wall Hover 39750.5%

You can find more info on the Chilean car market here.

All data was sourced on

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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3 of 12 comments
  • Pleiades Pleiades on Feb 28, 2012

    The "Spark" in this photo is actually the older Daewoo Matiz (with a minor change to the front bumper and lights), as opposed to the newer GM Korea Spark. (Daewoo = GM Korea) As Athos Nobile correctly identified, the SM3 does look a lot like a Nissan. In Korea, Samsung uses Nissan designs and tweaks them just a little bit to make them unique. For example, the SM5 has been a tweak of the late 90's Maxima (first generation - SM520) and the early 00's Altima (second generation). The newest version is based on a Renault platform. First and second gen SM5 sedans, in addition to SM3 sedans, still roam the roads of Korea in LARGE numbers (many as taxis).

    • Matt Gasnier Matt Gasnier on Feb 29, 2012

      Hi Pleiades, the Spark in the photo, although it is indeed the Daewoo Matiz, is sold as Spark in Chile. The "new" Spark is called Spark GT there but does not sell as well.

  • Karldunkerley Karldunkerley on Jan 31, 2015

    Hola, I realise this is an old post and things may have changed. However, I'd appreciate some advice. I'm in the planning stage of a photographic tour of Chile in 2016 lasting between 3 and 6 months. Apart from a brief sojourn to Southern Peru to finish off a previous trip, I plan to spend the whole time in Chile. Probably fly into Santiago, buy a cheap, reliable car and then head north to Peru, all the way back south through the Lake District and down to Tierra del Fuego returning to Santiago. I need something I can sleep in so possibly an estate or SUV but also something smooth to do the kind of photography I'm thinking of. Has to be reliable and able to get the large distances between petrol stations. It also has to be easily resellable and I can afford $2-3000 so very cheap. I realise that this is a tall order but can anyone give me a starting point? The cars on sale in Chile are totally different to the UK. Cheers, Karl.

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