By on August 17, 2017

2017 Ford F-150 Towing - Image: FordThe Ford F-Series was the planet’s best-selling line of new vehicles in the first half of 2017. Boosted by a 9-percent year-over-year global sales increase, the broad F-Series range produced 519,000 total sales in 2017’s first six months, according to JATO Dynamics, about 47,000 more sales than the second-ranked Toyota Corolla.

The F-Series wasn’t the only pickup truck on the list of Earth’s 20 most popular vehicles in 2017, to date. FCA’s Ram P/U lineup ranked 11th and the Chevrolet Silverado grabbed the 15th position. The United States market, on its own, accounts for the overwhelming majority of global sales generated by these full-size pickup families: more than 80 percent for the F-Series, just under 80 percent for the Ram, and nearly 90 percent for the Silverado.

Utility vehicles, meanwhile, earned seven of the top 20 positions. And while seven of the nine cars sold less often in the first half of 2017 than in the equivalent period in 2016, six of the seven crossovers reported year-over-year improvements.


America-oriented success earned the Ford F-Series, Ram P/U, and Chevrolet Silverado their positions in the top 20, but there are a number of vehicles that make their way into the top 20 in spite of a dearth of American volume. Indeed, the Wuling Hongguang MPV and Volkswagen Polo aren’t even offered in the U.S. market.

The third-ranked global best seller, Volkswagen’s Golf, generates less than 10 percent of its global volume in the United States. Although it’s been a success for American Honda, barely more than one out of every 10 Honda HR-Vs sold around the world are parked in American driveways. Only 5 percent of the Volkswagen Tiguan’s global volume is U.S.-generated.

All of these vehicles would be global best sellers even if they weren’t sold in the United States.2017 Nissan Rogue SL - Image: NissanMany of America’s leading vehicles are nevertheless prominent figures in other markets.

The Nissan Rogue, for example, is America’s top-selling utility vehicle * so far this year, and it’s tops among utility vehicles around the world, as well, earning more than half its sales outside of America.

The Honda Civic is America’s top-selling car through the first seven months of 2017 and the Toyota Corolla ranks third in the U.S. — they’re the planet’s first and second-ranked cars. The Civic and Corolla produce slightly more than half and two-thirds, respectively, of their global volume in non-U.S. markets.

Moreover, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class is the top-selling premium brand car in America in 2017, and it’s the top-selling premium brand car in the world, as well. Eighty-four percent of global C-Class volume is generated outside the U.S.

[Images: Ford Motor Company, Nissan]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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36 Comments on “The World’s 20 Best-Selling Vehicles in 2017’s First Half...”


  • avatar
    bikegoesbaa

    “The Ford F-Series was the planet’s best-selling line of new vehicles in the first half of 2017. Boosted by a 9-percent year-over-year global sales increase…”

    This can’t be true! Commentators on this very site promised me that boosted engines and aluminum body panels would surely tank Ford truck sales.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      Not immediately…you have to wait until turbo failures and body repairs start rolling in. *crickets*

      Does anyone know if the insurance rates on the aluminum pickups are substantially higher than the old steel ones? I’d imagine so, but you never know because the actuaries often lag reality.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Insurance rates stayed the same or lower for the aluminum truck. It’s now 5 Star crash rated, but working/welding aluminum panels is nothing new for body men, or shouldn’t be. They get paid the same, aluminum or steel.

      • 0 avatar
        True_Blue

        Insurance on mine is *less* than my ’02 300M. That’s full coverage on both. I was impressed as book values between the two are different by an order of magnitude.

        I now have three shops certified by me for aluminum repair as well.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “This can’t be true! Commentators on this very site promised…”

      Nope it was just one loudmouth commenter carpet bombing the site on the subject. I can’t mention any names here, but it rhymes with “BAFO”.

    • 0 avatar
      SearMizok

      I keep seeing this year after year, but, I don’t get it?!?!!?! They are expensive enough that I don’t understand how so many people can buy them?? I make decent money and I can’t afford one :-/

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        The F-150 starts out at $27k?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

        Not all of them are King Ranch 4×4 crew cabs?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

          you can actually start with an XL, add power equipment and 4×4, and an engine upgrade and still come in under $40k. Cripes, you can even add SYNC 3 to an XL if you want!

          and that’s MSRP, who knows what you can get it for OTD.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            https://tinyurl.com/ycnvtlde

            Or the little beauty above that I keep lingering over… and I’m not even in the market right now. Just a good honest basic truck.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            when the diesel hits the market, I’m going to price one out assuming you can get the diesel on XL. I’m hoping they don’t pull a GM and try to bury some of the added cost of diesel by forcing it into a higher trim level.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Ford will probably just charge $4,995 MSRP for the diesel option/upgrade, base stripper F-150, or whatever. Except they’ll probably force a long bed (on the regular cab).

        • 0 avatar
          Higheriq

          F-150s can be had for less than $20K where I live.

    • 0 avatar
      VW4motion

      LOL, those same people probably thought the same about electric windows.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Pretty solid list there.

    The 2018 Tiguan is handsome indeed.

  • avatar
    Prove Your Humanity 2+9=?

    The Wuling Honguang is doing pretty well.. can anyone provide a review of it, just for curiousity’s sake?

  • avatar
    SearMizok

    Well, I contributed to the 2017 Rogue sales. Well, I leased it back in April, so, I assume that counts :-)

    • 0 avatar
      jjster6

      You didn’t buy it… but a finance company did.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      What sold you on it over the CR-V, RAV4, and Escape?

      • 0 avatar
        SearMizok

        I liked the looks and the tech. I got the SL with the tech package, so, got most of the new tech.

        But, now that I’ve had it awhile, there is some buyer’s remorse.

        The Infotainment center kind of sucks. That Nav route calculations aren’t the most efficient. Fastest route, seldom is coming up with the fastest route.

        Also, it’s hard to explain, but, it just doesn’t feel as substantial going down the road as my 2016 CX-5. I don’t know if it’s the CVT or if the steering is too disconnected, or what??

        But, at the end of this lease, Android Auto will be a requirement and look across more brands.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          2017 Rouge SL money buys a pretty decent F-150, so far as I can see I’m cars.com (under $30k). I found an XL with 4wd, cloth buckets/console (column shift), extended cab (with rear doors for access), cloth seats and power windows/locks, and I only looked at the first one that wasn’t a basic work truck. You could probably have found an XLT for exactly what you paid for the Rouge.

          This *is not* to say you should have bought one, only that you *could have* afforded one had you wanted it, despite your claims to the contrary.

  • avatar
    ash78

    I was wondering who was buying HR-Vs…I’ve seen 10 so far, and 9 of those were on a dealer lot. The other was driven by a senior citizen. Honda’s “Gen Y marketing” usually doesn’t go as planned (see also: Element)

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Speaking of youth marketing I’ve seen exactly 2 Toyota CH-R in the wild.

      Both driven by senior citizens, including one who traded in their one owner Honda Element for a CH-R.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Just saw a road test on this car…11 seconds to 60. You can get beaten at a stoplight…by a Prius. How wonderful.

        I actually want to like this, but not with the Corolla engine and CVT.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Kinda strange as the Element is larger and being “box-shaped” is very utilitarian (maximizes space) whereas the CH-R is no more roomy than something like the Veloster due to its sharp sloping roofline.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      The Element sold well enough, and used ones in decent shape command decent money. An equivalent CR-V can be found cheaper, usually.

      This goes especially for the AWD and AWD/manual. I know this because I follow them, as I would love to own an AWD/manual.

      Yes, as Dan mentioned, I’ve known old people who bought them, and loved them. Small, easy to drive, Honda reliable, tall and roomy inside, why shouldn’t they? I mean, they also bought Scion xBs and such, many for the same reasons. The Honda is my pick. Love the utilitarian interior (especially the floors), the funky style, the AWD. Its a really neat vehicle. Its not beautiful, classy, luxurious or elegant. It isn’t supposed to be.

      I’m 35, and was told all my life that I’m a gen X, now suddenly 1982 has been awarded to the millenials. I don’t really care, I like what I like. I also would love to have an early 1980s (RWD) Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight, my 1995 Taurus, on and on, point being that its not like I’m typical of any generation/classification with all of my choices. I think you’ll find that’s true of most car enthusiasts, no matter their age.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      The Vezel/HR-V does very well in urban markets and outside of the USA.

  • avatar
    stuki

    ‘Murica Number 1!!!!

    Quite amazing actually. American demand, pretty much exclusively, result in the top spot being held by a vehicle, that don’t even fit on the roads and infrastructure, where 90% of the world’s population live……

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      “…a vehicle, that don’t even fit on the roads and infrastructure…”

      Wow amazing buses and service vehicles are able to get around.

      Medieval villages aside, and no different from most US drivers, world drivers feel they would absolutely bump into everything with a full size rig, jumping curbs everywhere (some are right!), but the statement or belief is really not true, or not thought through.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Big American vehicles are quite popular in the Middle East as well.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Buses, Sprinter vans, Canter like lorries and such, don’t park, nor live their life, amongst the “civilian” population. Hence are relegated to infrastructure that is removed from where most people live. There are some places virtually anywhere where you can drive them. Just as you _can_ drive class 8 rigs in San Francisco. But as a realistic purchase for Joe commuter, doing so is inconvenient to the pint if largely being de facto prohibitive.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Europe is no different than major US cities, beach communities. Fullsize pickups and fullsize SUVs are essentially banned from living their lives in these places too.

          But I know it can be done! And many would agree it’s totally worth the extra “effort”.

          Even the tightest “parking spaces” in Europe, give just enough elbow room for US fullsizers. Same as tight parking spaces in the US.

          Figure most drivers (everywhere) are inept and couldn’t maneuver their midsize autos if they didn’t have lots of excess, partly unnecessary, space around them.

          A fullsize rig just consumes more of that *space*, and yes takes a little more skill to pilot around in tight parking situations. Yes sometimes you have to get out and *look*..

          Of course every time I hand the keys of my F-150 to anyone that’s only driven smaller cars, it’s a complete disaster trying to park in big city parking spaces.

          It takes a minute to adapt but Europeans could do it, once they get over the fear.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    wow the C class makes the list , say what you want but I would not have thought a baby Benz would make top 20. Surprised the VW santana was not on the list it seems they were all over China when I was there.

    • 0 avatar
      ash78

      The C does a lot right — it’s small enough to fit on most of the world’s roads, and cheap enough to be accessible to much of the world’s upper middle class. I think it helps that it’s one of the junior executive vehicles of choice. I know a lot of European countries add company cars to compensation for tax reasons, so that could boost it. Also, China…

  • avatar
    FOG

    I always look forward to this stuff from Tim. This is his strength. Thanks for the concise and informative article.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    How the mighty have fallen: Approximate top 10 list from 1959: Chevrolet, Ford, Plymouth, Pontiac, Buick, VW, Oldsmobile, Dodge, Mercury. Today, not a single GM vehicle in the top 10, although they probably have several top 10 in terms of dealer inventory.

  • avatar
    Sjalabais

    It speaks to the variety of the Chinese market that their first car is on #13. Lucky number? Anyway, GM is involved – not sure if that speaks pro or contra good reliability? It’s a neat MPV though that has been build for almost eight years.

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