It’s official: the Ford Focus was the best-selling vehicle in the world in 2012, a strong indicator that global buyers are looking for small cars.
Get the facts and figures on top-selling cars in the U.S.
Two Ford Focus vehicles stand in a parking lot outside stamping operations area at the Ford Motor Co. automobile plant in Dagenham, U.K. Ford registered 1.02 million Focus cars in 2012.
And while the title comes with all sorts of caveats, the rise of the nameplate says all kinds of things about the U.S. and Asian automotive industries, the importance of global manufacturing and how Thailand became the new Spain.
Ford Motor Co., leading U.S. automakers in building their best cars in decades, registered 1.02 million Focus cars in 2012, topping 872,774 for Toyota’s Corolla, according to R.L. Polk & Co. data that Ford released today. Ford’s F-Series pickup line was the No. 3 nameplate, its Fiesta subcompact was No. 6, and General Motor’s Chevrolet Cruze was No. 8, ahead of Honda Motor Co.’s Civic.
The Focus, Fiesta and Cruze are among several models from U.S. automakers that are succeeding against Japan’s Toyota and Honda, which used to dominate car segments. Ford has been revived by Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who has overhauled its lineup with more fuel-efficient models to round out its strength in big pickups and sport-utility vehicles and pushed a global product-development plan called One Ford.
Polk’s estimates may be rough. Toyota said global Corolla sales last year reached 1.16 million vehicles, or 33 percent more than the researcher’s figure.
The numbers themselves don’t necessarily mean anything if robust profits don’t follow. The top-selling car in the U.S. remains the Toyota Camry, as it has been for 11 years, and Toyota regained the global sales crown from GM last year.