Toyota Corolla Sales Figures Raise Questions

Bloomberg News - April 9, 2013

Toy­ota Motor Corp says Toy­ota Corol­la sales world­wide indi­cate this small car has retained its top glob­al sales lead in 2012, despite claims from Ford that Focus is No. 1.

Could it be that Focus will be unseat­ed?

Toy­ota Motor Corp., the world’s largest automak­er, said its Corol­la small car retained the glob­al sales lead in 2012, con­tra­dict­ing Ford Motor Co’s posi­tion that the Focus small car was No. 1.

Ford yes­ter­day said it grabbed the title with 1.02 mil­lion Focus com­pact sales, cit­ing data com­piled by R.L. Polk & Co. The Dear­born, Michi­gan-based car­mak­er said that topped 872,774 for the Corol­la, cit­ing Polk, an auto­mo­tive data com­pa­ny based in South­field, Michi­gan.

“Toy­ota sold 1.16 mil­lion Corol­la name­plate vehi­cles glob­al­ly in 2012,” Mike Michels, the carmaker’s U.S. vice pres­i­dent of com­mu­ni­ca­tions, said late yes­ter­day in an e-mailed state­ment. “Corol­la reg­is­tra­tions attrib­uted to Polk come up short by near­ly 300,000 units. This dis­crep­an­cy is glar­ing and we have request­ed clar­i­fi­ca­tion.”

Polk is unable to pro­vide data on glob­al sales by name­plate beyond what Ford has released, said Michelle Cul­ver, a Polk spokes­woman who works for Lam­bert, Edwards & Asso­ciates.

Erich Merkle, Ford’s U.S. sales ana­lyst, reit­er­at­ed late yes­ter­day that Focus was the “best-sell­ing name­plate.” The 1.02 mil­lion fig­ure “is a pure num­ber that is ver­i­fied by a third par­ty,” Merkle said in an e-mail state­ment. “In this case, Polk.”

The dif­fer­ence in glob­al tal­lies by Toy­ota and Polk may be that the Japan­ese automak­er includes sales of mod­els with names such as Corol­la Axio and Corol­la Altis. The U.S. sales unit of the Toy­ota City, Japan-based com­pa­ny is in Tor­rance, Cal­i­for­nia.

Ford and Detroit-based Gen­er­al Motors Co. have revamped their U.S. car offer­ings to win sales in a seg­ment dom­i­nat­ed for decades by Toy­ota and Tokyo-based Hon­da Motor Co. Fusion, Ford’s mid-size sedan that was redesigned last year, is gain­ing ground on Toyota’s Cam­ry, the top-sell­ing U.S. car for 11 con­sec­u­tive years. Cam­ry held a lead over Fusion of 100,830 to 80,558 after the first quar­ter.


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