Find by category:

Exhaust Notes

Ford Focus is best-selling model worldwide in 2012

Double-digit percentage rise in sales makes the Focus Ford’s first worldwide top-seller since the Model A.

By James_Tate Apr 9, 2013 8:58AM

A new study by R.L. Polk & Co. reveals that the best-selling car in the world for 2012 was the Ford Focus. With more than 1 million registered last year, the Focus outsold the runner-up Toyota Corolla by about 200,000.

Counting the Focus, Ford has three models that placed in 2012’s top 10 sales list. The ubiquitous F-Series pickup placed third at 785,630 new-vehicle registrations while the Focus' little brother, the Fiesta, found itself in sixth place at 723,130.

Registrations are the sharpest proof of a car's popularity. Rather than sales reports, which show how many vehicles have been sold to dealers -- but not necessarily to customers -- registration data show how many vehicles are actually in customer hands.

That Ford is the only American brand with more than one vehicle in the top 10 and the sole marque with three models on the list is a testament to the success of CEO Alan Mulally’s "One Ford" initiative. With the aim of developing and marketing smaller, more economical cars worldwide to flesh out its already robust truck sales, One Ford is bearing fruit with more than $35 billion in earnings over the past four years and a 16 percent increase in global Focus registrations from 2011-2012 alone -- including an incredible 51 percent spike in Focus registrations in China, where one of every four Focus sales occurred in 2012.

Americans might be surprised that the F-Series -- the best-selling pickup truck for an astonishing 36 years and the top-selling model of all U.S. vehicles for more than 30 straight years -- isn't the best-selling vehicle in the world. That title is undoubtedly important for Ford -- historic, even, considering that the last Ford to be the world’s best-selling car was the Model A -- but it certainly doesn’t mark the end of Ford’s aims.

Toyota still has the best-selling car in the United States with the Camry, having regained the title of best-selling brand in the world from GM in 2012. Ford’s intense efforts in bulking up its small-car sales and overall production worldwide, including a second plant in China that expanded total capacity to 600,000 units, seem to forecast a bright future as consumers in the U.S. and China trend toward smaller cars like the Focus and Fiesta.

Ford U.S. sales analyst Erich Merkle told Bloomberg News that Ford is attempting to “better represent what the majority of the world is looking for, and they’re looking for smaller passenger cars.”

With the Focus set as the best-selling model in the world and the Fiesta as the best-selling subcompact in the world, Ford appears ready to push the One Ford strategy toward an attempt at global sales dominance.

Jim Farley, Ford executive vice president of global marketing, sales and service, reiterated the importance of the Focus-Fiesta combination to Ford’s future. “Our global products are resonating with consumers – especially in the best-selling, most competitive segments – with their unique combination of fuel efficiency, high quality, rich content and fun-to-drive personalities.”

Here are the top 10 new cars by registrations in 2012, including a Chinese-market car manufactured jointly by GM:

  1. Ford Focus: 1,020,410
  2. Toyota Corolla: 872,774
  3. Ford F-Series: 785,630
  4. Wuling Zhiguang: 768,870
  5. Toyota Camry: 729,793
  6. Ford Fiesta: 723,130
  7. Volkswagen Golf: 699,148
  8. Chevrolet Cruze: 661,325
  9. Honda Civic: 651,159
  10. Honda CR-V: 624,982

[Sources: Ford; Bloomberg; USA Today]    

Apr 13, 2013 5:26AM
It's great to hear that all that Ford did is finally paying off. They where the only 1 of the big 3 to not take a bailout. the risked everthing and it looks like Ford is rock'n. GO FORD!
Apr 13, 2013 2:53AM
I"ve had a few Ford passenger cars with no complaints.   I had a 64 T-Bird that was way ahead of it's time and drove like a dream........The Others I could take em or leave em.......But FORD trucks are definitely King.  I've had F 100's, !50"s and 250"s and the Original Bronco   Worked them to death .  Took a lickin and kept on tickin.
Apr 13, 2013 3:17AM
It shows that once again if you want to be successful don't get help from the Obama administration
Apr 13, 2013 4:57AM
Fords are the Best vehicles hands down!
Apr 13, 2013 5:23AM
I bought my 2009 Focus in Dec. 2008. at that time auto sales were in a slump, and mine was one of only three cars sold that day. Sales department gave me "Employee pricing", and I dont regret the purchase. Fuel mileage is at or above their advertising. Great car!
Apr 13, 2013 5:13AM
All you Chevy truck owners - Ford is still king.  For a reason... just saying. Junky GM pickups can't even make it in top 10.  End of argument.
Apr 13, 2013 6:20AM
Glad to see the work that Alan Mulally's work paid off in modernizing Ford.  They did NOT take the government handout, eliminated the unprofitable Mercury line, and are making good cars.  I admit that I have a bias, I own a 2006 Mustang GT that has given nothing but pleasure.  Gonna keep this car for a long time
Apr 13, 2013 6:17AM
I love my FORD vehicles. My personal car is a 2011 Taurus SHO - it could not be better. My work vehicle is a F-250 Super Duty gas pickup.  It was 51K of hard use oil field miles and I have had not even one service call.  That is quality!
Apr 13, 2013 5:13AM
A lot of people think that a car of the same name is the same car. A 2006 Focus ,not a terrible car, doesn't have a single part that is used in a 2012 Focus. Other cars have the same problem.  Today's Mustang has nothing in common with my 2001 except the name. Cars should be judged on current offerings . The new Buicks are a huge improvement over their predecessor as are most cars. It is rare that a new car  model is worse than the model before it. However sometimes new models suffer bugs that have to be worked out.  It may be better to buy a completely new model in the second year of production. I have owned Fords since 1070 and admit that I am bias but I feel that American makes have caught up to Asian cars in quality and the number of recalls over the last few years seem to prove that. The new Focus is a world wide winner. 
Apr 9, 2013 10:10AM
I've been saying for a while now that the Focus is the best car in its class.  Cruz and Civic are close and it appears that the next gen Golf may be there as well, but I can't name one other model that can even compete.  It's just unfortunate that we cannot get one offered with the same engines that are available in other parts of the world.  That is the only thing keeping me out of the Focus and it's the one part of the "One Ford" initiative that has failed.
Apr 13, 2013 12:48PM

And note carefully...the Fiesta is set to surpass the Camry with the mere increase of 6,600 more units.


No surprise that Ford is beginning to take over the top positions. They build quality autos. AND...they have been doing it WITHOUT bankrupting, and driving suppliers out of business...unlike their only domestically owned competitor and a former domestically owned competitor now owned by Fiat.


KUDOS to Ford!

Apr 13, 2013 10:27AM

I am glad to see an American vehicle outselling the foreign competition.  It's about time.  I like all the models GM, Ford, and Chrysler are producing.  It's time to root for the hometeam and quit bashing the government loans (not bailouts) GM and Chrysler received in 2009.  Most of you GM bashers forget that they are still number 1 in sales in the U.S. and the rest of the world.  Also the big 3 are ties into almost every community in the U.S. The U.S. Treasury received twice as much tax revenue verses a foreign model.  The Big 3 still supports millions of retirees spending money in our economy.  They still employ, by the thousands, more Americans than the foreign transplants.  We need them for economic and national security.  Read your history about their contribution in WWII, and how the Big 3 contributed to building the middle class in America.  Americans better wakeup, or your kids will never have any national pride or decent paying jobs to go to. 

Apr 13, 2013 3:37PM

Because Ford did not ask for a bailout is the reason we bought our 2012 Ford Fusion SE last year.


Great car..


Apr 13, 2013 6:09PM
I bought a Ford Escape in 2012 after owning Toyota for several years.  Love the Escape and love the fact that Ford stood on it's own and did not take bail out.
Apr 13, 2013 6:35PM
I have a 1986 Ford Ranger, that while not up to the standards of today, is still running on it's first engine, transmission and transfer case. I drive it 3 days a week and has almost no rattlles.I remember the ad campaign from back around 86 and it was Quality is job 1. I think it was built on a good day! 
Apr 13, 2013 6:07AM
 Ford did it with no guvmint bailout money. GM probably won't survive and Chrysler certainly won't without more bailout money from Obama. They both deserve to go under, or nationalize them and maybe they can make electric scooters. 
Apr 13, 2013 6:02PM
I Love my Ford Expedition.  But I am glad for the Ford Company that they did not beg down to this bully govt. of ours.  Great Job Ford!!!  This proves that the Obama Gang can not run any company well!!! First you have to be educated and it shows that our President definitely needs to take Business 101 and Economics 101.  Can you say bye bye GM (govt motor = get another motor).  It show that Barry did not Build this Company.  Ford is definitely #1 in my book.  Please Barry!!!!  Resign while you are ahead.  Your lack of Knowledge and Experience is becoming more laughable by the days.  Hey can we see your college and high school transcripts now.  Awesome Job Ford!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Apr 13, 2013 8:08AM
Wuling Zhiguang  sounds like a skin desease, this sells in the USA.? 
Apr 13, 2013 6:37PM
For all the one's dogging down Ford.  You need to take care of your car on your own.  You can not expect the govt to do it for you. Dam, now where is my cell phone!!!!!  
Apr 13, 2013 7:09PM
YES! I am a second generation FORD owner. The other American car companies had their day with me. I didn't like their vehicles, especially GM. Sorry GM! I have owned 4 Ford vehicles in my life. I went through GM's vehicles and that also was 4. After my last GM car, I said that FORD was meant to have my business forever. That was in 2001 and since then I have personally owned two FORDS. I traded my !998 Escort for a Ranger in 2004. I still have my Ranger.
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Cars are cool, and we here at MSN Autos love everything about them, but we also know they're more than simply speed and style: a car is an essential tool, a much-needed accessory to help you get through your day-to-day life. What you drive is also one of the most important investments you can make, so we'll help you navigate your way through the car buying and ownership experiences. We strive to be your daily destination for news, notes, tips and tricks from across the automotive world. So whether it's through original content from our world-class journalists or the latest buzz from the far corners of the Web, Exhaust Notes helps you make sense of your automotive world. Contact us at