By on March 26, 2012

Over the past few of weeks we have traveled to Chile and GeorgiaMyanmar and Bolivia, the last 3 destinations being all your fault: you asked for it! Now I felt I had to interrupt this elan of generosity and hold on going to countries you asked for just for one week.

I have to rectify a very important ranking: the best-selling cars in the world.

You may remember earlier this year I wrote an article detailing the Top 10 best-selling models in the world in 2011, based on an article published on Forbes. Which I had a few issues with. Well a few official figures, a lot of work and a couple of long nights later, I now have a ranking that looks much more like reality…and is much bigger: the Top 100 best-selling models in the world in 2011!

All this after the jump.

But wait, if the world is too much for you to handle today, that’s fine 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 said the Hyundai Elantra became millionaire last year. Not true. They must have added sales of the i30 in the mix or sumfin. Not fair.

So let’s get back to the beginning.

If the Toyota Corolla is confirmed as 2011 world’s best-selling car with 1,141,709 sales, a big disappointment is in store for Hyundai fans: the Elantra is far from threatening the Corolla for the pole position and is not millionaire in 2011 in spite of what Forbes told you. Even including the 3 generations of the model still in production somewhere in the world (especially in China), Elantra sales amount to 751,967 units, placing the model in 6th position…

In second place we find the now globally aligned Ford Focus with 882,541 sales…

…followed by the VW Golf at 864,452 units

…and the VW Polo with 788,789 sales, thanks to its success at every corner of the globe, from Europe to South Africa to China to India.

The Ford Fiesta comes in 5th position at 765,465 units ahead of the Hyundai Elantra.

Then, a crowded pack, consisting of the Wuling Sunshine with 731,689 sales and not the 900,000+ reported by Forbes, the Chevrolet Cruze (the best-selling passenger car coming out of a General Motors factory this year), Ford F-Series and VW Jetta. Suddenly it all makes sense, doesn’t it?

The Iranian Saipa Pride is at #13 – yes it doesn’t make any sense to add it to the 2012 Kia Forte as Forbes did: they absolutely have nothing in common. So I divorced them.

The best-selling SUV in the world is the Honda CR-V at #20 with an estimated 530,000 units.

World’s Top 30 best-selling cars in 2011:

Pos Model 2011
1 Toyota Corolla 1,141,709
2 Ford Focus 882,551
3 VW Golf 864,452
4 VW Polo 788,789
5 Ford Fiesta 767,465
6 Hyundai Elantra 751,967
7 Wuling Sunshine 731,689
8 Chevrolet Cruze 704,691
9 Ford F-Series 698,319
10 VW Jetta 695,159
11 VW Passat 628,097
12 Toyota Camry 621,679
13 Saipa Pride 618,265
14 Opel Corsa 591,505
15 Nissan Tiida/Versa 568,319
16 Toyota Yaris/Vios 556,092
17 Honda Civic 555,071
18 Suzuki Alto 549,931
19 Hyundai Accent 541,519
20 Honda CR-V 530,000
21 Hyundai Sonata 499,168
22 Toyota Hilux 490,000
23 Honda Accord 488,000
24 VW Gol/Voyage 479,135
25 Chevrolet Silverado 468,977
26 Renault Clio 460,000
27 Opel Astra 457,957
28 Hyundai Tucson/ix35 420,649
29 Kia Cerato/Forte 410,709
30 Foton Forland 403,000

But where’s the Top 100 I hear you ask? Fear not, You can check out 2011’s Top 105 best-selling models in the world here

Note this is not an official ranking but based on the country-by-country information, some official annual sales data by manufacturer and my best informed estimates.

Further down, the Toyota Hilux, #1 in 35 countries, is #22, while the Hyundai Tucson/ix35 excels at #28 with 420,649 sales. Excellent showing also of the Suzuki Swift/Dzire at #31 with 399,446 units.

The BMW 3 Series is the best-selling luxury model at #36 and 384,464 sales and should improve vastly in 2012 thanks to the new generation. It is followed in its category by the Mercedes C-Class at #40, the BMW 5 Series at #46 and the Audi A4 at #48.

Best year ever for the Nissan Qashqai at #38 and 382,741 units.

With the Peugeot 207 at the end of its career at #57, the 24 year-old Peugeot 405/Pars produced in Iran should be the brand’s best-seller this year at #52 and an estimated 306,000 sales!

Fiat’s top seller is the South American Uno at #54 with 297,234 units, above the Punto at #58 and the Palio at #63.

Dacia manages to place its 3 models within the worldwide Top 100 with the Logan at #44, the Sandero at #59 and the Duster at #99, compared to only two Renault models: the Clio at #26 and the Megane at #60!

Notice also the Nissan Juke above 215,000 units at #79, the FAW Xiali N3/N5 at #83 with an estimated 207,000 sales and the BYD F3 at #92 with an estimated 190,000 units.

Never had anyone compiled the Top 100 best-selling models in the world for any year. Until now. And you witnessed it. A moment of history. Now go boasting about it to your mates, go on!

This data is the result of my own estimates based on official sales in 60 countries in the world, some manufacturers’ official data and the hard work of Austin from Ford Inside News.

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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11 Comments on “The Top 100 Best-Selling Models In The World. (Hint: The Hyundai Elantra is Actually Not Millionaire)...”

  • avatar

    I want to thank you for compiling this information. In a global world, it is good to finally see good global figures.

    As to the top sellers – well, it could be a good thing to be on this short list, if you made a profit doing so.

    • 0 avatar

      “I want to thank you for compiling this information. In a global world, it is good to finally see good global figures.”
      +1 – thanks again.

      One interesting thing this list shows is how very important it is to have competitive C segment and smaller offerings to be successful outside of North America.

  • avatar

    The Iranian Saipa Pride looks like it could have some Ford Festiva/Mazda 121 DNA, particularly the front fenders and doors. Kia built the Festiva and 121, although that was old independentish Kia.

  • avatar


    The Nissan Teana being lumped in with the Maxima is strange to me. The Teana is very similarly equipped in reference to the Altima. Not that it makes a big difference… I’m just curious of the underlying logic. Could you share some insight???

  • avatar

    I would like to purchase an Iranian Peugeot 405! Such handsome cars. I remember when they reached the market and I was seriously considering buying one.

  • avatar

    Impressive groups from different brand names in different markets. Well done.

  • avatar

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I noticed a new wrinkle. The Ford F-series now outsells the GM twins (Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra). And the (Dodge) Ram appears to have fallen back to pre-1994 sales numbers.

  • avatar

    Does the Corolla nos. still include US Matrix sales?

  • avatar

    Actually the Ford Focus still isn’t globally aligned. South America (or Argentina and Brazil at least) still have to wait until next year for the new Focus. We’re always the last ones to get the cool stuff…

  • avatar

    The Saipa Pride is the old Kia Pride aka Ford Festiva aka Mazda 121. Alas, I have some doubts about the yearly production of more than 600.000 cars. Iran Khodro’s and Saipa’s combined production capacity, according to AIDCO’s website, is 1,200,000 cars. Iranian totol production is around 1.400.000 cars. Saipa also claims that they are gradually replacing the Pride and it’s derivatives with the Tiba/Miniator. According to the dull but generally reliable Swiss magazine Automoblie Revue, Saipa’s annual production is around 200.000 cars, including models that are more modern than the Pride.

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