Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: World August 2012 Roundup

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

Yes it is that time of the month, the time for our acclaimed monthly rendezvous: the World Roundup, now in its 6th instalment.

Last month all eyes were on Ukraine where the Geely CK notched the top spot in a world first for a Chinese manufacturer in a large export market. In August, Switzerland, Brazil and Denmark are the epicenters of world car sales.

You can check out previous world Roundups here for March 2012 (“Has the Hybrid era started for good?”), here for April 2012 (“Big change coming from India”), here for May 2012 (“GM and Toyota Etios make headlines”) and here for June 2012 (“Geely CK writes history in Ukraine“).

Enough of the world and you just want to know which cars sell best in your own backyard? Easy. You can visit 168 countries and territories in my blog, one by one, in the comfort of your own lounge. Yes sir.

Back to our Roundup.

The biggest earthquake this month undoubtedly occurred in Switzerland: like Germany and Austria, Switzerland is the kingdom of the VW Golf, #1 there since the nameplate’s original launch in 1974. Although no monthly ranking was available before this year, looking at the margin it has had over the #2 each year the Golf has likely been in pole position most months in the last 38 years, bar potentially a few odd ones when it was #2 (this is not confirmed). This month it is down to #3 while the Subaru XV, after holding a world-best 4th place in the country in July, shoots up to an incredible first place in Switzerland with 722 sales and 3.3 percent share. That should spell heated arguments in Wolfsburg …

Switzerland has been the best performing European market for Subaru for decades, starting with the Subaru Leone ( #7 in the eighties) and the Subaru Legacy ( #11 in the nineties,) but the XV by far exceeds the success of these previous models. Can it confirm and keep the pole position next month? It will be fascinating to see where the XV stabilises once the ‘honeymoon’ with consumers is over. You can see the Subaru XV’s Swiss TV commercials here. Note also that Switzerland is not an isolated case: the XV is also up to a fantastic 6th place in Norway this month.

1957 Renault Dauphine. For the first time in the history of Renault, France is not its #1 country.

The Brazilian new car market is now in uncharted territory, passing 400,000 monthly sales for the first time ever at 405,511 units (+32%), installing it in third position worldwide below only the USA and China, and ahead of Japan at 370,777. Such massive volumes mean that records will be busted. For the first time in the 113 year-history of the brand, Renault’s #1 country in the world is not France but Brazil, mainly thanks to Dacia models sold as Renault, notably the Sandero at #9 and a record 11,743 sales.

Note that both Volkswagen and Fiat have long been delivering higher sales in Brazil than in their native countries. In August, VW sold 88,761 vehicles in Brazil vs. 47,931 in Germany and Fiat had 98,210 Brazilian buyers vs. just 12,165 in Italy…

As a result, alot of models hit their highest monthly volumes: among them the VW Gol is at a 12-year high with 32,632 sales, but not reaching the pinncle of 34,964, scaled in August 1997. The Fiat Uno is above 30,000 monthly units for the first time at 30,373, with its previous record at 28,828 in November 1995. The VW Fox/CrossFox beats its volume record for the third consecutive month at 23,318 sales, its first time above 20,000. Notice also the Chevrolet Spin landing directly at #26.

The third star of the month is the VW Up!, back in the spotlight after a first appearance in the March 2012 World Roundup. The Up! holds the pole position in Denmark for the third time in the last 6 months at a world-best 8.2% market share, and is now also #1 year-to-date. This makes Denmark the first country in the world to crown the Up! in a year-to-date ranking… There is a big difference between a one-off pole position and regularity at that level, and the VW Up! has now achieved the latter in Denmark.

The Netherlands could be next: the Up! ranks third there with a strong 4.1% share and is now #10 year-to-date. But perhaps the most promising score for the Up! so far is its 5th place with Private Buyers in Germany this month, showing it is a true hit with ‘real’ consumers. It is not just the Up! that Danish buyers are fans of, its two twins are also extremely successful there: the Seat Mii ranks at a world-best #7 ( compared to in Spain!) and the Skoda Citigo is up to only slightly lower than in its native Czech Republic where it is #6 this month. All in all, the Bratislava sisters (all 3 models are manufactured there) sell 2,150 units in Denmark in August for an out-of-this world 12.9 percent market share which could go up even further in the coming months.

Relatively unknown worldwide, the Suzuki Ertiga is shaping up to be a runaway hit in the two countries it launched in so far: it is up to a brilliant 4th place in Indonesia thanks to 3,477 sales and 4.6% share and up to #6 in India with 6,643 units and a record 3.9% share.

The good news keep coming month after month for the Dacia/Renault Duster. Let’s first salute its amazing launch in India: up a brilliant 15 spots to sit in 21st place for its second month of sales in the country at 3,184 units, enabling Renault to pass both Nissan and Skoda there with 4,036 sales vs. 482 last May! The Duster also confirms its incredible spot in the Top 10 best-selling models to Private Buyers in Germany at #9 and ranks at a superb #15 in Russia with 4,308 sales, while maintaining itself in the Top 10 in France and on the podium in Romania and potentially in Morocco.

The Dacia Lodgy brilliantly breaks into the French monthly Top 10 only 5 months after its launch at #10 with 1,914 sales and 2% share. Since the brand was relaunched by Renault in 2004, all Dacias have broken into the French monthly Top 10 at some stage, with the Logan peaking at #7 in December 2007, the Sandero at #2 in March 2010 and the Duster at #5 in November 2011. The Lodgy is however the fastest of them to reach the Top 10. Finally, the latest addition to the range, the Dacia Dokker, is starting to make waves also, selling 100 units in August in Morocco where it is manufactured.

‘The Nissan Qashqai continues to impress’ is probably the sentence I wrote the most in the last 2 years… This month it confirms the Spanish pole position it already held in July and stays #1 twice in a row for the first time there. It is also #1 in Finland for the third time ever but somehow misses a spot in the European Top 10.

While it continues to fly above the competition in the Middle East (July figures only available at this stage) but got beaten by the Ford Ranger for the first time in Argentina, the Toyota Hilux manages to stay in pole position for the 5th consecutive month in Australia, a feat only the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore had achieved in the last 35 years!

Mercedes has another strong month, and it should only get better now that the all-new A-Class is hitting dealerships all across Europe (it is already #52 in France). The B-Class beats its market share record in Germany for the 2nd consecutive month at 2.4%, staying at a record 5th place, and delivers its best ever ranking in France at beating the #28 it hit in January 2007 and lodging the highest ranking of any Mercedes in France since the C-Class hit #19 in August 2004

Audi is also doing well, with the A3 is up to a superb 7th place in the UK, its best ranking there since March 2009 ( and its second-best ever below the #6 it reached in January 2009. In Germany the Audi A4 is up to a brilliant 2nd place, a level it hadn’t reached since January 2009, helping it break into the European Top 10 for the first time since… January 2009 also. The Q3 reaches its highest ever ranking, volume and market share in Germany at #21 with 2,685 units and 1.2 percent but is up to a significantly more impressive 6th position when only sales to private buyers are taken into account…

In India, labour unrest at the Manesar Maruti plant triggered a reshuffle of Maruti’s production priorities and had a massive ripple effect on the new car market as a whole, with a few models lodging best-ever rankings and/or volumes even though August was the weakest sales month in India in almost 2 years. The Mahindra Bolero climbs onto the Indian podium for the first time at the Hyundai i20 reaches a record 4th place, the Toyota Innova delivers its highest ever market share at 3.8% and the Mahindra Verito (aka Dacia Logan) is above 2,000 monthly sales for the first time. In contrast the Suzuki Alto is at only 10,488 sales, potentially its lowest volume in 7 years.

The US new car market is on fire again, up 20% year-on-year in August. A few brands lodge historical performances: Volkswagen delivers its best August sales since 1973 (that’s 39 years!), Hyundai posts its best August ever and Kia celebrates its 24th consecutive monthly sales record. The Ford F-Series delivers its best month of the year so far at 58,201 units, up 19% year-on-year and its 13th consecutive month of year-on-year growth ( it delivers its strongest month since March 2009 in Canada), 4 Chevrolets break their monthly volume record: the Cruze at 25,975 sales ( Sonic at 8,703 ( Volt at 2,831 ( and the Spark at 2,630 ( The Dodge Dart takes off: up 294% and 74 ranks on last month to at 3,045 units.

In China, the 3 best-selling vehicles are Wuling models: the Sunshine (36,371 sales), Hongguang (at a record 27,592) and Rongguang/Xingwang (27,235). The Ford Focus holds the Passenger Car crown for only the second time ever after last June, followed by the Chevrolet Sail and Buick Excelle, still #1 year-to-date. Volkswagen places 9 models in the Top 20, the Great Wall Haval H3/H5 is the best-selling Chinese model at followed this time by the BYD F3, potentially boosted by the new generation and up 12 spots to We welcome 3 newcomers in the Passenger Car ranking: the Hyundai Elantra Langdong at the ChangAn Yuexiang V3 at and the Brilliance H230 at

The Lada Granta finally takes off in Russia, up to #2 and selling over 10,000 monthly units for the first time at 12,511…

In Japan, the twins new gen Toyota Porte and Toyota Spade both land directly in the Top 10 at #8 and #9 respectively. This is actually the first time in almost 8 years the Porte ranks within the Japanese Top 10 and a first for the all-new Spade…

The Peugeot 208 confirms it is now the French’s favourite car, ranking #1 there for the 2nd consecutive month and landing on the European podium for the very first time…

The Toyota Prius+ is up to a world-best #5 in the Netherlands where the Renault Megane leads for the 4th consecutive month…

The Mazda CX-5 breaks into the Top 10 in Australia…

The Volkswagen Group places 10 models in the Top 11 in Austria

The Kia Morning (aka Picanto) is back in first place in its native South Korea for only the second time in the last 5 years after February 2011

Bulgaria makes its models ranking available for the first time with access to a full All-models Top 224 Ranking, dominated by the Dacia Logan and Kia Sportage…

The Chevrolet Aveo hits its highest ever market share in Mexico at 7.3%, ranking #1 there for the 9th month in a row.

Matt Gasnier
Matt Gasnier

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3 of 5 comments
  • Marcelo de Vasconcellos Marcelo de Vasconcellos on Sep 23, 2012

    Wow Matt! Great post! A sweeping and comprehensive view of the world. In Brazil, look for the market to cool down a little. The race to be the 3rd largest market in the world this year is still not guaranteed. It'll be very interesting to see how the Etios and especially the Hyundai HB20 (see tomorrow on TTAC!) will affect sales of market leaders. They have potential to steal a lot of sales from Gol and Uno (specially the Hyundai).

  • Th009 Th009 on Sep 23, 2012

    The Golf is at about half the monthly rate in Switzerland as production of Mk6 has effectively ended, and the Mk7 has not yet reached the dealers. Looks like there's not much risk of Wolfsburg losing its annual sales crown there. Actually, the VW Group has top five of the top six positions at the annual level: VW Golf, Skoda Octavia, VW Polo, VW Tiguan at the top four, and VW Passat is sixth (behind the Mercedes C-Class).

  • James Hendricks The depreciation on the Turbo S is going to be epic!
  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.