Ford Focus was the best selling vehicle in the world in 2012

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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By asking the audience for help to answer challenging questions ABC's "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" brought credence to collective intelligence, something Ford hopes you'll appreciate when learning that its newest Focus is officially the best-selling car in the world.

Ford made the claim last summer, but its findings were challenged after failing to account for variations of the global runner up, Toyota's Corolla that is also sold as the Matrix in wagon form, and Auris in other markets. Now that Polk Data has tallied up all the 2012 numbers, however, Ford can claim official victory by dominating the sales charts last year.

And dominate it did, outselling the Corolla by 147,636 units in 2012 compared to just 60,538 sales in 2011, when the Focus still finished the year on top of the list. This represents a 16-percent increase in Focus sales from 2011 to 2012, with 140,496 additional Focus models sold around the world, totaling 1,020,410 units. Polk Data claims the increase in Focus deliveries comes from strong sales in the U.S. (up 40-percent) as well as China (up 51-percent), where it's the best-selling passenger car.

"Since its launch in China in late March of last year, Focus sales continue to strengthen, with the car now ranking as the best-selling passenger car in China in 2012 for the first time ever," said Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president, global marketing, sales and service and Lincoln. "With additional manufacturing capacity added last year, we now have a tremendous opportunity to further strengthen our global small car sales in 2013, with sales off to a very strong start already."

Toyota will be trying to improve Corolla sales in China and around the world in 2013 too, with an all-new version expected to hit the road later this year. As for 2012, Corolla (Matrix/Auris) sales totaled 872,774 units, giving it a solid second-place finish.

Causing more reason for Ford to celebrate, of the 10 most popular sellers last year, three wore blue oval badges. Ford's F-Series pickup trucks, which incidentally are only sold in North America, remained at the top of the light truck market and in third place overall with 785,630 unit sales, up from 713,657 sales in 2011, while the subcompact Ford Fiesta came in sixth place with 723,130 units sold.

If the Fiesta had maintained the previous year's 764,415 unit sales it would have edged out Toyota's Camry for fifth spot, the U.S.-made Japanese model selling 729,793 units last year. Camry's 2012 total, however, was up a shocking 170,993 units from 2011, making it once again the world's best selling midsize sedan.

The final four on the top 10 list include popular household nameplates, the Volkswagen Golf taking seventh place with 699,148 sales, down 17,210 units from 2011, while Chevy's Cruze made a 54,500-unit improvement with 661,325 sales. The Honda Civic, Canada's best-selling vehicle last year, upped global deliveries by 44,334 units to 651,159 from 2011 to 2012, while the same automaker's CR-V compact crossover sold 624,982 units in 2012, seeing global growth of 117,629 units over the model's 2011 numbers.

So which vehicle beat out the Camry for fourth place? China's Wuling Zhiguang, a family/cargo van that will likely never been seen outside of Asia, grew sales by 39,542 units in 2011 to 768,870 total sales in 2012. While achieving just 70-percent of Focus sales, the incredible sales growth of this Wuling model shows just how significant the Chinese market is, and how a simple minivan from a relatively unknown localized brand may one day outpace sales of more established nameplates from more globally acknowledged brands. As mentioned, the Focus is also a big seller in China, so it is entirely possible that model's sales will continue to grow at a rapid enough pace to keep ahead of the Wuling Zhiguang and other popular Chinese domestic models, at least globally.

It should be mentioned that the Polk Data results do not factor in fleet sales, but only incorporates new-car registrations. Therefore total vehicle sales, both personal and commercial, haven't been accounted for. While Ford may not be happy about all of its F-Series light truck sales being included (being that the F-Series is has strong commercial/fleet sales), Polk's methodology allows for a clearer picture of what individual consumers are choosing, rather than what commercial buyers such as government agencies, taxicab operators and car rental companies are filling their fleets with.

Of interest, Ford's U.S. sales don't mirror its global sales, with the Focus only placing third with 245,922 unit sales. The Escape crossover sold more at 261,008 units delivered, while the F-Series continued to dominate U.S. sales charts at 645,316 units sold. The Fusion and Explorer finish off the U.S. market's top five.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Hatchback, Sedan, Ford, 2013, Focus, Electric, Compact,

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