Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Ford Focus Triumphs In China

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

After a couple of weeks of break, guess who’s back to haunt you?

Last time I gave you the best-selling models in the world, and since then a few things have happened, one of them being the end of 2012 and a plethora of new sales data and stats I have in store for you. Let’s start with the biggest market of them all, China. Simply because…an American car is in the lead of the Passenger Cars ranking for the 2nd consecutive year…

Yep. What the Yankies couldn’t do at home, they do it in China. Nice.

Discover the Top 304 best-selling models in China below the jump, or you can also check:

The Top 279 best-selling models in the USA in 2012 here

The Top 10 best-selling models in Europe in 2012 here

The Top 200 best-selling models in Brazil in 2012 here

The Top 30 best-selling models in Japan in 2012 here

The Chinese new Passenger Vehicle market slows down its growth in 2012 to a still very respectable 6 percent year-on-year to 14,682,215 units. The models pole position changes hands for the third consecutive year: after the BYD F3 in 2010 and the Buick Excelle in 2011, the Ford Focus brilliantly takes the lead in 2012 with 296,360 sales, up a massive 57 percent on 2011.

The Focus led the monthly ranking for 6 of the last 7 months of the year and hit an all-time monthly record of 38,362 units in November. Its annual total is also a new all-time record for any model in China, beating the 291,010 units sold by the BYD F3 in 2009. In fact the Focus wasn’t #1 in the Year-to-date ranking until December, with the Buick Excelle, up 9 percent year-on-year but down to leading most of the year. Note sales of the Focus include both the previous and current generations, both still available in China.

Chevrolet Sail

The Chevrolet Sail also delivers a fantastic performance, up 41 percent to 279,740 sales. Before 2012, only the BYD F3 had managed to ever sell over 30,000 monthly units. This year 4 models did this for the first time: the VW Passat (up 41 percent to #6 in the Full Year) passed that milestone in January, the Chevrolet Sail in May, Ford Focus in September and VW Lavida in November. One of the biggest events of the year in China was the impact the tensions with Japan over the Denku islands had over Chinese car sales, with all but one Japanese model kicked out of the Top 50 in October.

VW Magotan

Top 10 best-selling Passenger Cars in China 2012:

You can check out the entire Top 304 All-models ranking here

PosModel2012Pos/112011Pos1Ford Focus296,360157%188,96192Chevrolet Sail279,740241%197,87463Buick Excelle277,07139%253,51414VW Lavida246,68740%247,47525VW Jetta242,528511%218,86446VW Passat233,321641%165,858127Chevrolet Cruze232,59275%221,19638VW Bora222,73589%205,05859Hyundai Elantra Yuedong213,974912%190,995810Hyundai Verna201,7461046%138,52521

You can check out the entire Top 304 All-models ranking here

Other great performers atop the Chinese ranking this year include the Hyundai Verna up 46% to VW Sagitar (aka new generation Jetta) up 54% to VW Magotan (aka European Passat) up 93% to Buick Excelle XT/GT up 29% to VW Tiguan up 34% to Nissan Tiida up 31% to Kia K2 up 145% to Audi A6L up 23% to BMW 5 Series L up 65% to #36 and Audi Q5 up 54% to

Emgrand EC7

Progressing through the ranking all year, the Emgrand EC7 takes the title of most popular local Passenger Car in 2012, up 52% and 26 spots to #17 with 146,516 sales and breaking into the monthly Top 10 for the first time in December. It was however a disappointing year for Chinese models: the FAW Xiali N3/N5 is down 26% to Chery QQ down 5% to Great Wall Voleex C30 down 4% to #27 and BYD F3 down 32% to The Great Wall Haval H6 led the local charts for most of the year and finishes 2012 at #33 with 112,262 units for its first full year in market.

Great Wall Haval M4

A testament to how dynamic the Chinese market is, there are no less than 43 all-new models in the ranking in 2012. The Hyundai Elantra Langdong leads the charge at #54 with 80,460 sales, peaking at #8 in December, followed by the Chevrolet Malibu at Great Wall Haval M4 at #92 and Great Wall Voleex C50 at Notice also new low-cost Nissan brand Venucia placing the R50/50 at the BYD F3 Surui (new generation) at Zotye Z300 at Brilliance H230 at low cost model Ciimo Si Ming at Fiat Viaggio at and plug-in hybrid Roewe E50 at

You can check out the entire Top 304 All-models ranking in China here

And you are now an expert on car sales in China… You’re welcome!

Matt Gasnier, based in Sydney, Australia, runs a blog named Best Selling Cars, dedicated to counting cars all over the world.

Matt Gasnier
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  • Niky Niky on Jan 22, 2013

    The problem is building a car to US-ready specs and building it to global specs. The rest of the world is standardizing around NCAP rules. That means Europe, Australia, South-East Asia and China now form a large international market with standardized rules for crashworthiness and safety. The US market still follows its own. And its own emissions and environmental requirements.

    • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 23, 2013

      The US is unique this way in many markets - electrical standards, health care products, food products, you name it. Why? Because it can due to its large market size, and the Spirit of '76 and all that.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Jan 23, 2013

    In the US, my Leaf came in at 186, beating out a lot of other surprising cars. I guess that's not bad for a pure EV. I didn't see any numbers for Tesla or Fisker.

  • C-b65792653 I'm starting to wonder about Elon....again!!I see a parallel with Henry Ford who was the wealthiest industrialist at one time. Henry went off on a tangent with the peace ship for WWI, Ford TriMotor, invasive social engineering, etc. Once the economy went bad, the focus fell back to cars. Elon became one of the wealthiest industrialist in the 21st century. Then he went off with the space venture, boring holes in the ground venture, "X" (formerly Twitter), etc, etc, etc. Once Tesla hit a plateau and he realized his EVs were a commodity, he too is focused on his primary money making machine. Yet, I feel Elon is over reacting. Down sizing is the nature of the beast in the auto industry; you can't get around that. But hacking the Super Charger division is like cutting off your own leg. IIRC, GM and Ford were scheduled to sign on to the exclusive Tesla charging format. That would have doubled or tripled his charging opportunity. I wonder what those at the Renaissance Center and the Glass House are thinking now. As alluded to, there's blood in the water and other charging companies will fill the void. I believe other nations have standardized EV charging (EU & China). Elon had the chance to have his charging system as the default in North America. Now, he's dropped the ball. He's lost considerable influence on what the standardized format will eventually be. Tremendous opportunity lost. 🚗🚗🚗
  • Tassos I never used winter tires, and the last two decades I am driving almost only rear wheel drive cars, half of them in MI. I always bought all season tires for them, but the diff between touring and non touring flavors never came up. Does it make even the smallest bit of difference? (I will not read the lengthy article because I believe it does not).
  • Lou_BC ???
  • Lou_BC Mustang sedan? 4 doors? A quarterhorse?Ford nomenclature will become:F Series - Pickups Raptor - performance division Bronco - 4x4 SUV/CUVExplorer - police fleetsMustang- cars
  • Ede65792611 Got one. It was my Dad's and now has 132K on it. I pay my Mercedes guy zillions of dollars to keep it going. But, I do, and he does and it's an excellent vehicle. I've put in the full Android panel for BT handsfree and streaming with a backup cam.