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World 2011: Hyundai Elantra millionaire, threatens Toyota Corolla!

The Hyundai Elantra is the first Korean car to sell 1 million annual units worldwide 

* THIS ARTICLE IS OUT OF DATE! For the updated 2011 ranking featuring the Corolla, Focus and Golf on the podium CLICK HERE *

The more I was looking at this ranking from Forbes the more I thought some models were missing and some figures were wrong. So now that most 2011 data is out, who else but Best Selling Cars Blog could give you a more accurate World’s best-selling models ranking? That’s right, no one!

So I will update this article in two waves, with the first now complete:

1) I have added all missing models with my own estimates based on the data published in this blog. Click here to access the detail of my calculations and if you see anything weird please comment on here.

2) I will amend the figures published by Forbes with more accurate estimates: this is now complete and can be viewed here.

There is now a Top 25 available. I have added the VW Polo at #7 with 780,000 sales thanks to its success in Europe, China, Russia, South Africa and India, the Ford F-Series is up to #10 at 705,000 units now that final US and Canada results are in, the Nissan Tiida/Versa is #13 with 590,000 sales and the Opel/Chevrolet Corsa is #14. From #17 and the Toyota Yaris/Vios onwards it is all models I have added. Notice the Toyota Hilux, #1 in 34 countries, ranking #20 with 490,000 sales…

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The main event in 2011 is the fact that the Hyundai Elantra, outside the Top 10 in 2009 and 2010, is now the 2nd best-selling nameplate on the planet with over 1 million units sold…only 10,000 units below the Toyota Corolla! This is a testimony to Hyundai’s adaptability in all corners of the world.

Selling more than 1 million units in a single year is a feat not many cars have achieved in the past, and it is the first time a Korean model does so! A very, very significant year indeed. Other millionaire cars that come to mind include the Ford Model T, VW Beetle, Chevrolet Impala, VW Golf, Ford F-Series and of course the Toyota Corolla.

The Toyota Corolla is the world’s best-selling car since at least 2005

So yes, Corolla still #1 in spite of tsunamis and floods that disrupted its production, but just. Moreover, it is unclear whether that 1.02 million figure includes the Auris hatchback, sold in some markets (Australia, South Africa) as a Corolla…

In third place worldwide we find the Wuling Sunshine with 943,000 units sold. Now I have reservations on this number because the Sunshine would have sold around 740,000 units in China this year and I’m not sure where the additional 200,000 sales come from…

Ford Focus

Now with a unified design all around the world, the Ford Focus comes in 4th place with 919,000 sales in spite of a slow start for the new generation that ranked 7th in Europe.

Kia Rio/Saipa Pride

At #5 we have the Kia Rio/Pride with 815,337 units. This is an interesting one: yes, as a nameplate the Rio sells that much, but this figure is composed of 3 very different cars. Approximately 500,000 units are of the 1987 first generation Pride sold in Iran under a joint-venture with Saipa where it leads the market by far, the rest is a mix of 2005 Gen 2 and 2011 Gen 3…

A restyled 1984 VW Jetta sold 220,000 units in China

At #6 comes the Ford Fiesta with 781,147 units, ahead of the VW Polo at 780,000 (my estimate), VW Jetta at 745,000, Toyota Camry at 726,000, Ford F-Series at 702,000 and Chevrolet Cruze at 691,000. Again the Jetta figure is composed of very different models: the ’84 2nd generation in China, the ’98 4th generation in China (called Bora) and Mexico (called Clasico) and the ’10 6th generation everywhere else… The Cruze figure, nearly double that of last year and making it #11 in the world, is very impressive and reflects its success in as varied markets as the US, China, Russia and Australia.

The Chevrolet Cruze is sold as a Holden in Australia

Leader in Europe, the VW Golf is only #12 with 648,000 units, a far cry from the million units it used to sell around 10 years ago. The rest of the ranking is based on BSCB’s estimates and feature the Honda CR-V at #18, best-selling SUV in the world, and the Hyundai Sonata at #19.

Full Year 2011 Top 25 Ranking Table and calculation details below.

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