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World Full Year 2013: Toyota Corolla or Ford Focus #1? BestSellingCarsBlog has spoken

Toyota Corolla World 2013. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe new sedan enabled the Toyota Corolla to keep its worldwide crown in 2013.

As it has been the case for almost two years now, Toyota and Ford are at odds when it comes to declaring which is the best-selling car in the world. Ford quotes Polk saying the Ford Focus is #1 (as it did in 2012) with 1,097,618 units sold last year including 317,110 in Europe and 403,219 in China. Toyota for its part says the Corolla leads the way with 1.2 million units, adding up to 40,820,000 sales since the nameplate originally launched in the sixties. Who is right?

BestSellingCarsBlog has spoken, and the Toyota Corolla wins the title of best-selling car in the world for 2013, roughly confirming both manufacturers’ figures. The Corolla leads with 1,245,404 sales vs. 1,107,253 for the Ford Focus. Keep in mind these remain temporary figures and will be slightly refined in the next couple of weeks.

As usual there are a lot of different ways to skin this cat especially on Toyota’s side, and the decisions to include or not certain versions have created a lot of debate over the years on BSCB. So today and for the first time I detail the exact splits for the different models and generations that make up these worldwide sales figures, with the only unknown being the split between the last two generations of Corolla (10 and 11) which were both on sale worldwide in 2013. This way you can play with the figures and decide which car in your view should earn the world best-seller title. 🙂

Ford Focus World 2013Caramba, missed again. The Ford Focus is #2 in the world in 2013. Unless…

The Corolla methodology is as follows: the sales figure includes the 9th generation still sold in China, as it is slightly facelifted now but still for the most part faithful to the original model, unlike for example the Chinese Jetta not into worldwide Jetta sales as the current model is not a facelifted 2nd gene anymore but an entirely new car. In the same vein, the Japanese Corolla was not included in the Corolla total as it has departed from the original model. Estimated US Matrix sales have been deduced from the Corolla total as well, and finally Auris sales were included as this very same model is called Corolla hatchback outside of Europe.

For the Focus it’s much simpler, as the total figure includes the IIf generation still on sale in China and the hatchback and station wagon versions which retain the Focus nameplate. Based on all these numbers, Ford is still not right to claim the title of best-selling nameplate in the world. If we count the cars that actually have the Corolla nameplate printed on them (no Auris but including the Japanese Corolla) we arrive at 1,201,238 sales vs. 1,107,253. Only when deducting both the Auris and the Japanese Corolla is the Ford Focus worldwide best-seller by the skin of its teeth at 1,107,253 units vs. 1,099,574.

Toyota Corolla vs. Ford Focus – Full Year 2013:

Toyota Corolla1,245,404
including Corolla IX (China)147,921
including Auris (Europe)145,830
NOT including Matrix (USA)unknown,      est. 2,000
NOT including Corolla XI (Japan)101,664
Ford Focus1,107,253
including Focus IIf (China)unknown, est.133,200

Source: All usual sources worldwide.

This Post Has 21 Comments
  1. @Piazza M
    Yeah……..and Ford has never fudged numbers…like EPA figures !!

    Also, can you show where Toyota has fudged their numbers with regards to “horsepower or towing capacity”? Just curious, cuz never read or heard about it.

  2. @sandeep Fact is that the Focus out sold Corolla. Toyota is well known for fudging their numbers be it sales, horsepower or towing capacity. Focus did it without having a foothold in Japan. No American auto maker has one. Their are no plants in Japan like Toyota has in the US

  3. I would say the Corolla is definitely the winner because the Corolla is sold in many more countries than the Focus, and Focus had a good year in China with over 400,000 units sold but the Focus isn’t sold in even most African countries and few Asian countries and the Corolla is on sale in almost every African country so i would say Corolla

  4. BTW we miss something very important. With tgis year’s sales of Focus it becomes 5th best selling Ford ever after F-series with over 34 million, Escort with 20 million, Fiesta with 16 million and Model T with 15 million.

    And as I mentioned Escort, Ford starts selling new Escort in Asia, does this mean that counting will start from 20 000 000 or from 0?

  5. “the Japanese Corolla was not included in the Corolla total as it has departed from the original model”
    This makes no sense, the Japanese Corolla IS the original model… If you’re going to include the Auris (which technically “departed” from Corolla in 2006 upon the launch of itself) because in a few markets that aren’t Europe and Japan it’s called Corolla then the actual JDM Corolla should surely be included as it is sold only under the Corolla name, no other names in other markets. It could equally be argued the international Corolla, as it is not Toyota’s home market Corolla nor is it available there, has ‘departed’ yet that concept has been obviously ignored as that would mean removal of the vast majority of sales, which would be contextually ridiculous.
    The comparison attempting to be made between the Ford Focus and the Toyota compacts it competes against across various international markets, hence the inclusion of Auris, is fundamentally incorrect. This cannot be an honest total of Corolla sales, which should solely include models sold under the Corolla nameplate, if the data is being manipulated to try to provide a head to head that does not exist when Ford is fielding one model line (Focus) where Toyota is often fielding at least two (Corolla, Matrix and/or Auris).

  6. @Matt Gasnier
    Hi Matt,
    Auris is not called Corolla in Europe (one of the world’s biggest market) but it’s a hatchback&estate version of Corolla. Just like Jetta is the Golf sedan.

  7. “Toyota Corolla including Auris”….

    If Corolla&Auris are counting as one car we have to count together VW Golf and Jetta (Golf sedan)… In that case VW’s compact is best selling car in the world.

    1. Hi itookashi,
      you have made this point before, and my answer has been, is and always will be: the Jetta is not called Golf in some major markets and vice versa. So it’s not the same thing at all.

  8. @Aero


    It makes sense to compare the European to the USA market because they have similar size.

    In my opinion it’s unfair to compare directly Corolla and Focus numbers of sales because the Toyota doesn’t have a hatchback and sw version and Focus does. In Europe, a hatchback version makes a lot of difference.

  9. @yanwj0 Europe is not a country, it’s a continent with over 50 countries, on the other hand USA, Japan and Australia are countries, so if we start to count: Germany, France, Spain, Great Britain, Holland, Belgium and so on, what will be the result?

  10. @Aero in the USA、japan、australia,corolla sold more than focus

    focus sold more than corolla in china,it’s not first world。

    the only first world focus sold more than corolla is europe,but USA、japan、australia……

  11. Either way, the Ford Focus is still ‘rightfully’ no.1 because a lot of its leading markets are First World and highly competitive. The Toyota Corolla sells well in mostly Third World or developing countries, which are much less competitive. The Corolla also costs a less relative to the Focus. As far as I’m concerned, the Focus is the better of the duo. The only playing card in the Corolla’s belt is its bulletproof reliability.

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