By on May 24, 2012

I know how much you like big rankings… Last week, I gave you the Top 265 best-selling models in China in April, but you also enjoyed the Top 265 best-selling models in the USA over Q1 2012 and the Top 318 best-selling models in Europe in 2011.

So today, before our worldwide roundup monthly appointment (coming up next week!), I thought I would share with you one more sizeable ranking: my estimation of the Top 100 best-selling cars in the world over the First Quarter of 2012.

Does that make you happy?

No? Well there are 163 additional countries and territories for you to visit in my blog, all one by one. Click. The link. You will love it.

Back to the world.

As I mentioned in my last world roundup, it’s looking like the hybrid era has now started for good around the world…

In spite of a scare (or a historical loss, depending on which way you split the numbers) in March where it was neck and neck with the Prius family, the Toyota Corolla remains the best-selling model worldwide over the period with 285,352 sales, on its way to yet another 1 million+ year. The massive event in this start of 2012 is the thunderous take off of the Prius family, delivering an out-of-this world 242,947 units, which means 1 million Priuses could find a buyer in 2012 alone…

Granted, this figure includes the 3 bodystyles that now compose the Prius family. But even when split, each version would find its way in the world Top 80: the Prius would rank #26 with 116,756 sales compared to #42 in 2011, the Prius c/Aqua would be #57 at 69,983 units and the Prius MPV #78 with 56,208.

Down from #2 in 2011, the Ford Focus lodges an excellent quarter at 236,261 sales and is followed by the VW Jetta, up an impressive 6 spots on its 2011 ranking with 202,804 sales, including various generations of the model on sale in each corner of the planet which all sell very well at the same time and make the Jetta Volkswagen’s best-selling nameplate over the period.

The Toyota Camry, boosted by the arrival of its new generation, also has an excellent quarter, up 7 ranks on 2011 to #5 with 196,892 sales, ahead of the Ford Fiesta (-1) and VW Golf (-4).

Possibly helped by the new hatchback version, the Chevrolet Cruze stays #8 but with 188,863 sales it is General Motors’ best-seller (and not the Wuling Sunshine) for the first time ever.

The Nissan Versa is also called Tiida and Sunny in its hatchback and sedan versions in different parts of the globe but it’s all the same model and it sells very well, up from #15 in 2011 to #9 with 187,867 units.

Further down, notice the Hyundai Accent up 4 spots to #15 thanks to astounding success in Russia notably where it is sold as Solaris, the Honda CR-V also up 4 ranks to #16, the Suzuki Swift/Dzire up 14 to #17 thanks to huge numbers in India, the Nissan Qashqai up 14 as well to #24 with record-breaking sales all across Europe, the VW Tiguan up 25 to #28 and the Kia Rio up a massive  59 spots to #35 with 101,059 sales.

First Quarter 2012 Top 20 best-selling models worldwide

Pos Model Q1 2012 2011 Pos ’11
1 Toyota Corolla 285,352 1,141,709 1
2 Toyota Prius 242,947 367,627 42
3 Ford Focus 236,261 882,551 2
4 VW Jetta 202,804 695,159 10
5 Toyota Camry 196,892 621,679 12
6 Ford Fiesta 193,842 767,465 5
7 VW Golf 191,532 864,452 3
8 Chevrolet Cruze 188,863 704,691 8
9 Nissan Tiida/Versa/Sunny 187,867 568,319 15
10 VW Passat 182,405 628,097 11
11 VW Polo 181,805 788,789 4
12 Hyundai Elantra 173,894 751,967 6
13 Ford F-Series 173,153 698,319 9
14 Wuling Sunshine 152,681 731,689 7
15 Hyundai Accent 152,646 541,519 19
16 Honda CR-V 147,199 530,000 20
17 Suzuki Swift/Dzire 142,456 399,446 31
18 Honda Civic 141,541 555,071 17
19 Toyota Yaris/Vios 137,168 556,092 16
20 Suzuki Alto 129,562 549,931 18

For the Full Top 100 best-selling models worldwide click here

There are a few newcomers in the Top 100, among them the Daihatsu Mira Kei car up to #55 with 71,539 sales all in Japan, the  Wuling Hongguang up to #58 at 69,445 units and the Isuzu D-Max up to #72 with 57,497 sales. The best-selling Chinese vehicle is still the Wuling Sunshine but it is down 7 spots to #14. In the passenger car category, the FAW Xiali N3/N5 leads at #83 with 50,327 units, ahead of the Great Wall Haval H3/H5/H6, breaking into the World Top 100 for the first time at #95 with 45,775 sales.

Note this an estimation based on official figures in over 60 countries around the planet. Many thanks to Austin Rutherford for all the help.


The best-selling cars in the world have no secret for you.

And so they should.

Until next time!

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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