Toyota and Ford fight over bestselling car bragging rights

Toyota and Ford fight over bestselling car bragging rights
Toyota says its Corolla, not Ford’s Focus, is the world’s bestselling car.
(Toyota Motor Corp.)

Ford and Toyota -- two of the biggest automakers in the world -- are in an ego contest over which car sells the most globally, the Focus or the Corolla.

Earlier this week Ford Motor Co.  trumpeted how its Focus compact car is the bestselling vehicle in the world. Toyota says it’s not true.


Toyota Motor Corp. says it sold 1,160,764 Corolla nameplate vehicles globally in 2012, including sedans, wagon and liftbacks.

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That’s more than the 1,020,410 Focus models sold worldwide last year.

Ford attributed its bragging rights to data from R.L. Polk & Co., an industry research firm that is known for reliable data.

Polk says that Toyota sold just 872,774 Corollas last year.

“We are mystified how Ford or Polk came up with the 800,000,” said Mike Michels, a Toyota spokesman. “This is a big discrepancy, and we have requested clarification.”


Michels noted that Toyota’s bigger calculation still only includes vehicles with the Corolla nameplate and doesn’t count cars based on the Corolla such as the Auris, Auris Hybrid, Verso or Matrix.

Toyota derived its figures from sales data collected by its distributors worldwide.

“It also correlates with the number of vehicles manufactured,” Michels said.

Ford is sticking with its claim.


“According to Polk Global New Vehicle Registration data, the Ford Focus is the bestselling global vehicle nameplate,” said sales analyst Erich Merkle. “This is based on approved global new vehicle nameplate registration data from Polk, a third party source.”

Polk also stood by its numbers but declined to comment on the claims made by both Ford and Toyota about their cars.

“The Polk data reported by Ford earlier this week is accurate based on the single nameplate ‘Ford Focus.’ The data does not include any rebadged vehicles or platform derivatives for Ford Focus or any other vehicle nameplate versions,” Anthony Pratt, vice president of forecasting - Americas at Polk, said in a statement.

He said the data are based on new vehicle registrations compiled from more than 80 countries around the world, representing 97% of global new vehicle sales volumes.


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