Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: The Top 10 Highlights of 2013

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier
best selling cars around the globe the top 10 highlights of 2013
For the first time in history, more than 20 million new vehicles were sold annually in a single country…

What were the sales highlights of 2013? A combination of big growth in certain markets and specific segments meant for an interesting 2013. Hit the jump to see my own highlights.

1. China becomes first country above 20 million sales

The Chinese new car market breaks a new record in 2013: up 14% year-on-year to 21.98 million, making China the first country in the history of automobile to clock over 20 million new vehicle sales in a single year. It is predicted China will cross another historical milestone (30 million sales) by 2020. The significant trend in the Chinese passenger car market in 2013 is the return to grace of local models: the Wuling Hongguang, newly moved out of the LCV category, leads the overall ranking, while the Haval (ex-Great Wall) H6 reached a record 7th place in July and the Emgrand EC7 double-dipped in the Top 10…

The US are back to their old habits: buying pick-up trucks in droves.

2. US market back to pre-recession levels

2013 is the year the US market returned to its pre-recession levels and habits: buying over 15 million new light vehicles annually including heaps of pick-up trucks. In May, with 71,604 sales the Ford F-Series crossed the 70,000 monthly units milestone for the first time since March 2007, hitting its best May figure since 2005 and its best month overall in almost 7 years, since August 2006 when it sold 76,804 units… In June, the SAAR (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Sales Rate), a key barometer of long-term sales trends, surged to just under 16 million, compared to 14.4 million a year ago, officially bringing the industry back to its late 2007 level. Finally in October, for the first time since February 2006, the top 3 most popular vehicles in the USA were all XXL pick-up trucks. The Ford F-Series led, followed by the Chevrolet Silverado and the RAM 1500/3500. In the same vein, the Ford F-Series had already beaten the all-time annual sales record in Canada by the end of October at 106,861 units.

The Tesla Model S incredibly topped the Norwegian models ranking in September.

3. Tesla Model S and Nissan Leaf are superstars in Norway

Norway was the site of a couple of shocking sales events in 2013. In September, the Model S did what no electric car ever managed before in the world: finish one month in pole position in any country. Selling an incredible 616 units for a 5.1% market share vs. 561 units and 4.6% for the VW Golf, the Model S was the first model to beat the VW Golf in a Norwegian monthly ranking in 2013 . With notoriety comes criticism, and Tesla has had to endure the repercussions of a couple of its models setting fire after an accident, which didn’t prevent it to place the Model S back up to pole position in Norway in December! The other big winner in Norway is the Nissan Leaf: it topped the sales charts in October thanks to 716 units for a splendid 5.6% market share!

A big tick of approval for the Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 in 2013.

4. Renault Captur and Peugeot 2008 revive French manufacturers

A lot was resting on the two new French mini SUVs this year as both manufacturers had been struggling profit-wise since the global financial crisis. And both hit the market on the nail. The Renault Captur brilliantly broke into the French Top 5 for the first time in June at #4 and has not left it since, peaking at #3 in September. For its part the Peugeot 2008 was among the 10 most popular cars in France in July for the first time before stepping up to #4 in October and remaining there in November. Both models have also garnered solid sales figures all through Europe, with the Captur sometimes even passing the Clio IV and the 2008 passing the 208! I’m betting on one of them breaking into the overall European Top 10 briefly in 2014.

Daihatsu Ayla

5. Toyota minis succeed in Indonesia

The Toyota Agya and Daihatsu Ayla twins were launched ‘under the radar’ in September in Indonesia as Toyota’s answer to a new government law. In a country obsessed with low-cost MPV, it was a daring move indeed. The Low Cost Green Car (LCGC) regulation exempts from the luxury tax models made up from at least 60% domestic components, priced between Rp 50-85 million with a maximum displacement of 1,200cc and fuel efficiency of at least 20 km/l. Only two months after their first appearance in the Indonesian sales charts, ( in November) the Toyota Agya is up to an incredible 2nd place with 6,591 sales and a 5.9% market share, while its twin the Daihatsu Ayla is #4 with 5,095 sales and 4.6%. This means the two locally produced models already account for over 10% of the Indonesian new car market, only two months after launch! 2014 results will be fascinating to follow indeed.

2014 Nissan Qashqai. The new model should improve the nameplate’s sales further in 2014.

6. Nissan SUVs continue to conquer Europe

In 2013 Nissan proved that it had changed the European car market forever with its UK-produced Qashqai and Juke SUVs. The Qasqhai reached a record overall #5 spot in Europe in February, up 4% year-on-year in a market down 10% in spite of its 6 years of age, and remained #5 in March thanks to a massive 29,116 sales, delivering the highest ever ranking for a Japanese model in the continent. The Qashqai also broke its ranking, volume and share records in Italy in March at #6 and became only the 2nd Japanese model to ever crack the monthly French Top 10 in March at #9, repeating this feat in May at #10 and equalling the French-produced Toyota Yaris which did so in January and March 2007. The smaller Nissan Juke also reached new heights in 2013: it brokes into the UK Top 10 for the very first time in January ( and managed that feat 3 more times during the year! It ranked #10 in February, and #9 in July before hitting a record 7th position in October. The Juke also broke into the Spanish Top 10 for the first time ever at #9.

7. The Hyundai HB20 invades Brazil

Launched in late 2012, the Hyundai HB20 reached a record 4th place in Brazil in February thanks to 10,179 sales, the first time a Korean model managed to sell over 10,000 monthly units win Brazil and the first Korean model to ever rank within the Brazilian monthly Top 5. The HB20 broke its monthly volume and share records one more time in March to 12,537 units and 5.6% share. Unveiled at the same time, the Chevrolet Onix reaches a very similar sales level over 2013.

Renault Duster

8. Success of Renault’s low-cost range

2013 confirmed Renault is definitely on the right track with its low-cost Dacia brand, inaugurated by the Logan back in 2004. Sold under the Dacia or Renault brands depending on the country, the most successful models of the range this year were the Duster and Sandero, breaking records and passing significant milestones across the planet. Notably, the Duster climbed onto the Russian monthly podium for the first time in November and ranked inside the Indian Top 10 for two consecutive months. The Sandero took the overall lead in Spain in January & August and jumped inside the French podium in July and August for only the second and third time ever, the firsts for this generation.

Peugeot 301

9. Is Peugeot back to Africa?

Why the French (and specifically Peugeot) lost the African continent is one of the 10 things I don’t understan d in the worldwide car industry nowadays. This fact may be about to be overturned thanks to the success of the Peugeot 301, conceived specifically for emerging markets. The 301 finished 2013 at #2 below only the Dacia Logan in Algeria, #5 in Tunisia and #10 in Morocco, while it managed a 4th place in Egypt in July. Could these performances signal the rebirth of Peugeot in Africa?

10. The Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia break new ground in Europe

This year Audi placed a second model inside the monthly overall European Top 10: the A3 is among Europe’s top 10 most popular cars in April at #9 thanks to 16,787 sales. Before the A3, only the A4 managed to rank inside the European Top 10, peaking at #2 in August 2008. But the A3 didn’t stop there: thanks to an all-time high 2nd place in Germany, it hit a record 6th spot Europe-wide in August and #2 in its segment behind only the VW Golf and above the Ford Focus and Opel Astra. A lot of records in 2013 for a 17 year-old nameplate!

Skoda Octavia

The other VAG Group model to break new ground in Europe this year is the Skoda Octavia, jumping into the Top 5 best-sellers for the first time in October and repeating this performance in November, whereas it had only managed twoEuropean Top 10 rankings in the past (in January 2012 and last August when it both ranked This is the first time a Skoda ranks inside the European Top 5, with the only other Skoda to achieve a Top 10 finish being the Skoda Fabia (#10 in August 2008 and #8 in August 2009). In other Skoda news, the Czech brand managed to place its entire range (7 models!) inside the Top 10 at home in Czech Republic for the first time in history.

What are your worldwide sales highlights for 2013? Comment on here to let us all know.

Join the conversation
4 of 22 comments
  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Jan 30, 2014

    Please correct me if I'm wrong...but, doesn't Norway have a significant amount of electrical power coming from wind farms? I know that Denmark does, and my understanding was that Norway was also following the trend.

    • MeaCulpa MeaCulpa on Jan 30, 2014

      Hydroelectric plants generates close to all the power (more than 19/20) in Norway.

  • Wmba Wmba on Jan 30, 2014

    I understood that in Norway, a VW Golf costs the same as a Tesla due to far lower, if any, taxes. The country rewards green. $134,000 tax saving on Tesla Model S At the same price as a premium Golf, I'd probably try out a Tesla myself, or leave the country and go somewhere else that doesn't stand everyday logic on its head.

    • Pch101 Pch101 on Jan 30, 2014

      Ironically, the policy has also helped to get affluent commuters out of public transit and into private cars. (I'm presuming that particular consequence wasn't intentional.)

  • ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
  • ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
  • Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
  • Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
  • ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂