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.

Join the conversation
3 of 5 comments
  • 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.

  • Tassos What was the last time we had any good news from Ford? (or GM for that matter?)The last one was probably when Alan Mulally was CEO. Were you even born back then?Fields was a total disaster, then they go hire this clown from Toyota's PR department, the current Ford CEO, Fart-ley or something.He claims to be an auto enthusiast too (unlike Mary Barra who is even worse, but of course always forgiven, as she is the proud owner of a set of female genitals.
  • Tassos I know some would want to own a collectible Mustang. (sure as hell not me. This crappy 'secretary's car' (that was exactly its intended buying demo) was as sophisticated (transl. : CRUDE) as the FLintstone's mobile. Solid Real Axle? Are you effing kidding me?There is a huge number of these around, so they are neither expensive nor valuable.WHen it came out, it was $2,000 or so new. A colleague bought a recent one with the stupid Ecoboost which also promised good fuel economy. He drives a hard bargain and spends time shopping and I remember he paid $37k ( the fool only bought domestic crap, but luckily he is good with his hands and can fix lots of stuff on them).He told me that the alleged fuel economy is obtained only if you drive it like a VERY old lady. WHich defeats the purpose, of course, you might as well buy a used Toyota Yaris (not even a Corolla).
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.