World’s Best-Selling Vehicle 2012 is Ford Focus

Bloomberg News - April 9, 2013

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.




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