By on April 9, 2013

Ford says now what Matt Gasnier said months ago: The Ford Focus model was the world’s best-selling passenger car in 2012. Ford’s assertion is based on data from automotive consulting firm Polk.

According to Reuters, Ford sold 1,020,410 of its Focus compact in 2012. More than one out of four Focus cars were sold in China, where registrations climbed 51 percent.

Focus was launched in China in late March last year, and was on top of China’s sales charts for most of the months to follow, a remarkable achievement for late-to-China Ford.  Ford’s China sales rose 65 percent in March to 81,387 units.


According to Matt, the Focus was followed by Toyota’s Corolla in second place, and Hyundai’s Elantra in third.

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18 Comments on “It’s Official: Ford Focus World’s Best-Selling Car...”

  • avatar

    Good to see something selling in significant numbers that is *not* a Volkswagen product for once (not to speak badly of Volkswagen, but because the ubiquity of its cars one sometimes wishes to see someone else succeed as well, if only to prevent the creeping sameness of the current automotive landscape).

    But if the sales figures of the Golf and Jetta were combined (which would be a natural thing to do seeing as the sales figures of the Ford Focus sedan and hatch are likely to be combined), I suspect Volkswagen Golf/Jetta would indeed be the world’s best-selling car – am I right?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I myself am a bit weary of the Focus. It doesn’t seem like it would be as durable in the long-term as the Elantra, Civic, Corolla, Jetta and especially the Cruze. Still, the Focus is extremely nice and offers tons of features…and I’m happy to see it doing well at all…

  • avatar

    Best-selling “nameplate”, no? Isn’t it true that a big chunk of those sales were the Chinese-market “Classic Focus”, i.e. the last-gen Euro model?

    What they’ve done in China is still very impressive, and it’s kind of just getting started. Mondeo/Fusion will start arriving at Chinese Ford dealers in May…

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, Ford used “nameplate” in the lede of their press release. The bone of contention on this thing in the past has been that Ford essentially counts two different cars called “Focus”, vs Toyota which sells the Corolla under a couple of different names in a few markets. So viewed from a certain perspective, Polk et al overcount the Ford and undercount the Toyota. Which “car” was really the best-seller?

      Long story short it’ll be fun to watch Toyota’s PR folks react to this today.

      • 0 avatar

        I guess it’s the best selling carS then…

      • 0 avatar

        Isn`t the Matrix included in the Corolla sales here?

        • 0 avatar
          Sammy B

          It sure is thanks to the “official” name of Corolla Matrix. Just like the “official” name had been Camry Solara when that model was alive. It’s a bit sneaky, but I get why they do it.

          • 0 avatar

            Well, the Camry Solara was just a Camry coupe (or convertible), wasn’t it? That seems reasonably legit.

          • 0 avatar
            Sammy B

            to John Rosevear — it’s legit & sneaky at the same time. Legit in the sense that yes, it’s essentially the same car. Same for the Corolla wagon (aka Matrix). Toyota just wants to have their cake and eat it too. They want to count the sales like Honda (100% rightfully) does w Accord/Civic coupes, but they also want to come up with a fancy new name for marketing. Keep the marketers happy with a new nameplate, but keep the business happy with better sales #s (by model). Neither Solara or Matrix ever sold well enough to really make that much of a difference, but it still helps in the fight against Honda

          • 0 avatar

            Yep, Toyota’s been playing that game for years. The badging, website, and marketing materials all say “Matrix”, with no “Corolla” in sight, but when it comes time to report sales figures, you have “Corolla/Matrix”.

  • avatar

    In Southern California, a basic road rule:

    When looking for a spot to cut into traffic, be on the lookout for a newer Detroit vehicle, then check for the rental bar code before squeezing in. *

    *This theorm is based on the premise that out of town types tend not to exhibit road rage.

    Based on this Ford headline, I suggest the following new rule:

    When looking for a spot to cut into traffic, be on the lookout for a newer Focus vehicle, then check for the rental bar code before squeezing in.

    Note … I had already been on the lookout for an unusually large number of the “game changing” Fusion sedans with the rental bar code when cutting in.

    • 0 avatar

      Contrary to popular belief Southern California is not the center of the world. I fully accept Ford (and the other Domestics) do not sell well in California. This article was about world sales and I am amazed how quickly Ford has made the Focus a success in China especially since they were very late to the party.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      “When looking for a spot to cut into traffic, be on the lookout for a newer Detroit vehicle, then check for the rental bar code before squeezing in. *”

      So, you wait 5 minutes before merging into traffic because you are afraid of upsetting the locals? Did you not realize that all the people stuck behind you are probably locals?

      Or – is every third car in Southern California a rental vehicle? If so, perhaps you should do your best to avoid upsetting the tourists because your economy will crash if they stop visiting.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve only ever used the rule: “People with Washington plates in California are complete idiots on the road.” Sometimes they just randomly stop in the middle of the road.

  • avatar

    WTF?!? I go over to USAToday and they talk about this same subject and source and they list the Ford F-series truck as the 3rd best seller along with the “Wuling Zhiguang” as number 4. The Hyundai Elantra isn’t even on their top 10 list. What gives?

  • avatar

    Matt updated his article 2 weeks ago:

    Included Auris numbers….

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