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World Full Year 2012: Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus crowned?

Toyota Corolla World 2012bI stand by the fact the Toyota Corolla is the best-selling model in the world in 2012.

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On April 9, Ford announced that the Focus was the best-selling car in the world in 2012 with 1,020,410 sales vs. 872,774 for the Toyota Corolla. The figures they quote even show the Focus was already #1 in 2011 with 879,914 units vs. 819,376 for the Corolla. This announcement was relayed in many media outlets worldwide. On April 10, Toyota responded saying the Corolla figure quoted by Ford is missing 300,000 units and therefore the Corolla is still #1 worldwide. We had a similar situation last year when the 2012 half-yearly figures were communicated.

Ford Focus World 2012. Picture courtesy of spite of Ford’s data creativity, the Focus is #2 worldwide in 2012.

I feel I have to clarify my position on this debate given this is the core subject on my blog. In short, I stand by the 2012 Worldwide Top 1000 best-selling models ranking I created a short while ago, after having gone through all available official sales figures by country. This ranking places the Corolla on top with 1,097,132 sales ahead of the Focus at 1,036,683. Before being able to confirm this I had to get in touch with the company Ford quoted as the source of its figures. What happened is Ford customised that data so that 1. only the current generation Corolla is accounted for, and 2. the Corolla Altis (just another name used for the current gen in South-East Asia) is not. This is not fair game as the Focus figure itself includes 2 generations of the model on sale worldwide.

Hyundai Elantra World 2012Could the Hyundai Elantra shut everyone up in 2013 and become the world’s best-seller?

My figure for the Focus is actually higher than Ford claims but not enough to make it #1 worldwide. As for Toyota’s claim, it is inflated as well, simply because it includes the Auris, Rukus and Matrix models. My figure sheds these models, but includes the previous 9th generation Corolla on sale in China (as the Corolla EX) and the 11th gen already sold in Japan (as the Corolla Axio). In my ranking, Corolla sales are made of 125,531 Corolla IX and 971,601 Corolla X and XI (total 1,097,132) while the Focus at 1,036,683 doesn’t make a split between the 2nd and 3rd generations possible.

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