Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: World September 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 7th installment.

Last month, the Subaru XV made the headlines by toppling the VW Golf in Switzerland. In September, the Focus is on China (capital F intended)…

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

Had enough of the world and you just want to know which cars sell best in your own backyard? Easy. You can visit 170 countries and territories in my blog, one by one, in the comfort of your own lounge. Yes sir.

Back to our Roundup.

The biggest worldwide car sales event this month is undoubtedly the impact the diplomatic tensions between China and Japan over the Diaoyu/Senkaku islands had on the Chinese models ranking. All Japanese carmakers and their Chinese joint-ventures lost a lot of ground this month with Toyota (-49 percent) hit the hardest, and potentially for the first time since soon after Japanese models arrived in China, there was no Nipponese in the Top 25 best-selling models.

The Ford Focus is the big winner, ranking #1 passenger car in China for the 2nd month running and the third time in the last 4 months. With 33,587 sales in September, it even becomes only the 4th passenger car ever to sell more than 30,000 units in a single month in China, along with the Chevrolet Sail, VW Passat and the BYD F3.

We saw recently that the Focus could potentially start claiming the title of best-selling car in the world with around 60 to 66,000 sales or the current generation around the globe in August compared to around 65,000 of the 10th generation Corolla, once all variants have been removed from the official total. With the Corolla weak in China due to the island dispute and the Focus extra-strong there, September could well be the first month when the Focus officially takes the lead worldwide. I’ll be able to confirm this once absolutely all sales figures for September have been received.

Lada Granta

Another big, albeit significantly less big, worldwide car sales event this month is the accession of the Lada Granta in pole position of the Russian ranking, 8 months after its sales kick started there last January. It sells a record 14,050 units for a 5.4% share. Lada has now sold 80,965 Grantas this year and should finish 2012 at around 120,000 which is above the 100,000 units the manufacturer planned for at the start of the year, so a good start for AvtoVaz.

The third model under the spotlight this month is the Skoda Octavia, flamboyantly taking the lead in Switzerland thanks to 725 sales for a 3.4 percent market share vs. 565 and 2.7 percent for the VW Golf, beaten for the 2nd consecutive month after the Subaru XV led in August. The Octavia also leads in Czech Republic and Iceland and celebrates its 43rd consecutive month in pole position in Poland ( since March 2009!). It also breaks into the German monthly Top 10 for the first time since I have access to monthly German rankings in 2002, selling 4,649 units at #9.

The Nissan Qashqai continues to evolve at stratospheric heights 3 years after the launch of its facelifted version and less than a year before its replacement: it is #2 in Spain and in Poland where it beats its ranking and market share records this month at 3 percent, and also beats its ranking record in France at #13. In Finland, the Qashqai ranks #1 for the third month in a row, beating its market share record there too at 6.5 percent. This means it now leads the Finnish 2012 year-to-date models ranking, making Finland the only country in the world where the Qashqai is #1 year-to-date… Overall it ranks #9 in Europe this month.

The VW Up! has taken control of the Dutch market with no less than 1,892 sales and a record 5.9 percent share, after ranking #2 in July and #3 in August. The Netherlands is therefore the the third (and largest) country in the world to crown the Up! after Denmark ( in March, June, August and September) and Croatia ( in June). The Up! is also up to a record #6 in Greece and a record #23 in Italy.

The Peugeot 208 continues its progression, however its sales are lower than expected which has led Peugeot to lower its 2012 prediction from 175,000 down to 140,000. The 208 is #1 in France and in Portugal (August figures), #2 in Croatia, #5 in the Netherlands, #7 in Italy, #9 in Greece and #10 in the UK where it breaks into the Top 10 for the first time in September. Overall it ranks #5 in Europe.

In other news for Peugeot, sales of 4008 have also been disappointing so far, with its world-best performance a #30 spot this month in Norway.

As far as Renault is concerned, the all-new Renault Clio 4th generation is already #10 in France but this is a little artificial as only due to 3,000 pre-sales to dealerships.

Renault can’t produce Indian Dusters fast enough: it sells 4,211 for only its third month of sales there, breaking into the Top 20 for the first time at #20 and 2 percent share. In Russia, the Duster is up 4 spots on August to fall short of breaking into the Top 10 for the first time for just… 8 sales! It also ranks #20 in Venezuela. Renault also launched the Scala in India which is in fact a rebadged Nissan Sunny sedan.

Extremely successful launch for the 2nd generation Nissan Note in Japan, selling 18,355 units in September – that’s more than the previous generation’s sales in the last 5 months combined and an all-time volume record for the Note nameplate, originally launched in the country in January 2005. Other good news for Nissan is the 5th place of the Patrol in Kuwait (August figures).

The European car market is now frankly in recession, down 11% year-on-year in September. For only the 2nd time ever and in the last 6 months with last March, the Toyota Yaris manages to rank within the Top 10 at up an astounding 69 percent year-on-year to 17,933 sales. In Sweden, the Volvo V40 takes off, up a fantastic 17 ranks on August to land in 6th position. German premium brands continue to perform very solidly in a challenging European context:

Mercedes B-Class

Mercedes delivers its strongest ever market share in the UK at 4.6 percent, its third biggest monthly volume ever after March 2006 and 2007 and its highest September ever at 16,569 units. The C-Class is up to a record 6th place with a best-ever 7,948 sales and 2.2% share, bettering the #7 rank it reached last July.

The B-Class ranks on the German podium for the very first time in the nameplate’s 7 year-career at #3 with 5,801 sales and 2.3%. This is the B-Class’ 2nd best market share ever in Germany after the 2.4% it reached last month and equal with July 2012. Finally, the E-Class dominates the Hong Kong models ranking with over 5% share of the market.

BMW is the best-selling brand in Singapore (year-to-date) and Luxembourg (in September). The 1 Series is up to #4 in Germany, the model’s second highest ranking ever in the country behind the third place it held in January 2009. The 3 Series takes the lead in Ireland albeit in a very weak market. BMW places 2 models in the Spanish Top 10: the 3 Series lands on the podium for the first time ever at #3 while the 1 Series ranks Finally, the X3 is up to a best-ever #24 in Italy.

The Honda Brio now has its first Top 10 country (in the absence of official models ranking information in Thailand where I understand it performs extremely well also): it ranks #10 in Indonesia with 2,410 units and 2.4 percent share for only its 2nd month in market, up 7 spots and 127 percent on August. The Brio is already the brand’s best-seller in the country.

Toyota Hilux. Picture by Abdulmalik Al-Sabeg, all rights reserved.

The Toyota Hilux is #1 for the 7th month in a row in the Gulf Cooperation Council (August figures) thanks to 9,963 sales and 8.6 percent, while in Saudi Arabia (August figures), the Ford Expedition reaches never-seen before heights: up 57% year-on-year to #6 with 1,977 sales and 4.1% market share, compared to with 3,219 units in the US…

VW Lavida

Apart from the Ford Focus dominating the passenger car ranking, other Chinese highlights this month include the VW Lavida back up to to #3 with 24,600 sales thanks to the new generation of the model. This is its highest ranking in the country since last February and best volume since… December 2010! The Emgrand EC7 is the most popular Chinese passenger car for only the 2nd time after last June, up a massive 19 spots on August to a record #12 with 15,886 sales. This is the best ranking for a Chinese model at home since the Great Wall Haval H-Series reached #10 last March.

BYD F3 Surui

A very important newcomer makes its first appearance in the Chinese model ranking in September: the BYD F3 Surui (the 2nd generation of the model) lands directly at #42 with 7,889 sales – already the #9 best-selling local model in between the Chery Tiggo and the BYD S6. Two models launched last month already break into the Chinese Top 100 in September: the Brilliance H230 is up 194% to #85 and the ChangAn Yuexiang V3 is up 80% to

In the US, the new car market is up a very healthy 13% year-on-year. With 100,694 units sold Audi delivers its third best ever month in the country, Volkswagen has its best September in 40 years (since 1972!) and both Hyundai and Kia enjoyed their 25th consecutive month of year-on-year growth. Model-wise, the Ford F-Series lodges its 14th consecutive month of year-on-year growth and with the Chevrolet Silverado at #2 and the Dodge Ram at there are 3 pick-ups in the Top 5 for the first time since September 2011. The Kia Optima continues to test uncharted territories for the brand, up to #19 – its highest ranking ever while the Chevrolet Volt is at with a best-ever 2,851 sales.

Ford C-Max

It’s a fertile month for newcomers in the USA: 3 models make their first appearance in the ranking in September: the Ford C-Max lands at with 969 units, the Cadillac ATS ranks at 611 sales and the Subaru XV Crosstrek is with 192 units.

The Ford Ranger is starting to see the results of its new generation going on sale around the world. For example in Argentina, it manages to sell more than its arch rival the Toyota Hilux for the second time ever after July, ranking #7 with 1,974 sales and a record 3.1% share.

Toyota Etios

September 2012 is also the month Toyota launched the Etios in Brazil, now the model’s third production centre in the world with India where it debuted in December 2010 and South Africa where it started in May 2012. The Etios hatchback lands at with 293 sales while the sedan ranks at 192 units. Disappointing in India, the Etios continues to do really well in South Africa, delivering an almost perfect scoresheet since its launch in the country: #7 for its first month in May, #4 in June, July and September and #6 in August

Skoda Citigo

The Bratislava sisters (all 3 models are manufactured in Bratislava, Slovakia) continue to kick arse in Denmark. Apart from the Up! in pole position, the Skoda Citigo is up two spots to #6 with 495 units and 3.6 percent – this is the highest ranking it has reached so far in the world (equal with its native Czech Republic where it ranked #6 last month) and by far its strongest market share anywhere around the globe, while the Seat Mii is down 5 ranks on August to #12 but with 271 sales and 1.9 percent Denmark is still by far its best country in the world – it is with 66 units and 0.2% in Spain this month!

Mini Countryman

The Mini is up a massive 18 spots to hit its highest monthly ranking in Germany since the 2000 relaunch at #14 with 4,106 sales and 1.6%. This is the Mini’s second biggest volume below the scrappage scheme fuelled 4,363 it reached in June 2009 and its highest ever market share equal with December 2011… (note these figures include the Countryman version).

Chevrolet Aveo

In Mexico, the Chevrolet Aveo leads the models ranking for the 10th month in a row and breaks its volume and share records once again in September at 6,534 sales and 8.2 percent. This is in fact the highest share reached by any model in Mexico since the Nissan Tsuru hit 9% in June 2010 and the biggest monthly volume for a single model in potentially 4 years.

In Austria, we nearly witnessed a massive event this month: had the VW Tiguan sold 45 more units, it would have snapped the Austrian models pole position away from the VW Golf, a feat that no car has achieved in the country since the Seat Ibiza ranked #1 in June 2009

Kia K3

In other news, the Hyundai i30 ranks #3 in Australia for only the 2nd time ever, the Toyota Prius is up to a best-ever #3 spot in Norway, in South Africa the VW Polo Vivo (previous generation) passes the Toyota Hilux to become the country’sbest-selling model year-to-date in 2012, the Ford Ka lands on the Argentinean podium for the first time in the nameplate’s career, in India with 16,256 sales the Maruti Wagon R hits its 2nd best monthly figure after the 16,952 it sold in October 2010 while the Suzuki Wagon R (completely different car) is back to #1 kei car in Japan.

Suzuki Mehran

In Australia, Mazda becomes the first full-importer to sell above 10,000 units in a single month, the Kia K3 (new gen Cerato) makes its very first world appearance at home in South Korea, ranking the Fiat 500L reaches a best-ever #25 in Italy, the new gen Mitsubishi Outlander is up to #16 in Russia, the Suzuki Mehran takes the lead in Pakistan ahead of the Toyota Corolla, the Hyundai Accent reclaims the top spot in Algeria, and in Iran the Iran Khodro Runna cranks up its production, reaching 479 units, nearly double its August score and up one spot to #8.

That’s all for the September Roundup!

Now you know everything there is to know about the Best Selling Cars Around The Globe….

Previous World Roundups:

World August 2012 Roundup: Subaru XV topples almighty Golf in Switzerland

World July 2012 Roundup: Geely CK writes history in Ukraine

World June 2012 Roundup: Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Focus shine

World May 2012 Roundup: GM and Toyota Etios make headlines

World April 2012 Roundup: Maruti Swift and Mazda CX-5 impress

World March 2012 Roundup: Toyota Prius breaks a leg

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.
Join the conversation
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.
  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.
  • Master Baiter This is horrible. Delaying this ban will raise the Earth's temperature by 0.00000001°C in the year 2100.
  • Alan Buy a Skoda Superb.