Some cars just never find the right market in order to become permanent fixtures in car culture, and some become so popular that they are widely known as being the cream of the crop when it comes to vehicles.
And obviously, these cars sell well because they are just that good. They have all the right tech and luxury for their time, and mayhap even something extra. Some of them are also positioned just right, ready and willing to fill in a much-needed niche in the car bazaar. Others are marketed perfectly, and make a killing by crossing all the t’s. These are ten such success stories about the bestselling cars in the world – because numbers never lie!
10 Ford Model T: 16.5 Million
The Ford Model T was America’s first affordable and mass-produced car, made for the normal-pocketed American who wanted a car in his garage. It was made in 1908 in Detroit by Henry Ford, who dreamed that every American should have his car, preferably a Ford at that. The Ford Model T lasted till 1927.
Even 92 years later, it makes this bestselling car list because what takes other car makers years to sell, took the Model T just 20 years. More than 16.5 million of these sold like hotcakes in less than twenty years, making Henry Ford a very happy carmaker.
9 Honda Accord: 17.5 Million Plus
From 1976 to 1989, the Honda Accord was a compact car. In 1989, it moved to the mid-sized sedan category. Historically of import, the Accord was also the first car Honda produced in America. Since 1989, it has been a bestseller in the US – being lauded for reliability, safety, and affordability.
While it has been best-known for its four-door sedan variant, the Accord nameplate has been used for coupes, station wagons, hatchbacks, and a crossover too. Total sales for the Accord have crossed 17.5 million, and with the Accord still going strong, the sales will only get stronger.
8 Ford Escort: 20 Million Plus
The Ford Escort nameplate was used for two rather different vehicles in the UK and America. In Europe, the Ford Escort went live in 1968 and stayed at prominent sale marks till 2004 after which it was discontinued. In America, the Escort came later in 1981 where it was received with lukewarm affection and finally discontinued in 2003.
That said; 20 million Ford Escorts were sold in its lifetime across the world. Right now, the Escort nameplate seems to be in retirement in both Europe in America. From 2015, it has been making a killing in China though but is now based on the Ford Focus.
7 Lada Riva: 20 Million Plus
The Lada was a highly reviled car so made in 1970 by the Soviet Union; by the-then Russian car giant, AvtoVAZ. It looked boxy and came in the drabbest of colors, but in the USSR, it was one popular buy.
The Soviet version of the Fiat 124, which itself was a rather bad car, the Lada Riva spewed 58 horses, just enough to keep it going on the road with a semblance of speed. The only advantage of this Soviet build was that it was cheap, and so it was exported to Europe in bulk and sold like hotcakes. And was still being made in Egypt till 2012 with a total sale of 20 million.
6 Volkswagen Beetle: 23.5 Million
Once held in affection by a dictator who altered history with his violence forever, the Volkswagen Type 1 became one of the longest-running production nameplates in the world. The Volkswagen Type 1 was built according to Hitler’s dream specifications in 1938, who wanted a people’s car for Germans.
Barely any German could afford anything more than a motorcycle, so the Beetle was thus priced keeping that in mind. From Germany to the rest of the world, the Beetle continued to win hearts with good performance and its undeniable iconic looks – which is why production continued till 2003. To date, the Beetle has sold an astounding 23.5 million examples.
5 Honda Civic: 24 Million Plus
The Honda Civic was launched in 1972, at a time when Honda was considering giving up car manufacturing on the whole – struggling to make its cars a success. The first Civic was a two-door model and despite small dimensions, managed to give pretty good interior space on the whole.
This model continued till 2000, post which it became a four-door compact sedan – known for affordability, reliability and good performance. With that reliable Honda branding, the Honda Civic is now in its tenth generation and still going strong in sales. With more than 24 million cars sold, the Civic is out to make a killing.
4 Volkswagen Passat: 30 Million Plus
You’d think the emission gate might have affected Volkswagen sales and it may have created a little dent – but the Passat still sails through at number four on our list. The Volkswagen Passat has also been in existence for almost 40 years now – having debuted in 1970.
While it has worn different body shapes and styling, it has always fallen into the mid-to-large size family car, associated with so much luxury that it was often compared to contemporary Audis. The sales took off in 1990, and with the nameplate still very much in production – the 30 million Passat sold is only going to increase with time.
3 Volkswagen Golf: 33 Million Plus
Coming in at number three is yet another Volkswagen crowd-pleaser – the Golf. Introduced in 1974, the Golf spans eight generations and has always been a compact car. Initially, the Golf was a front-wheeled replacement for the rear-wheel-drive Beetle – however, it became a separate nameplate while the Beetle continued to sell. It may be a small car but was never small on power.
It has a great fuel economy, an affordable price, and a rather attractive design. The Golf continues to outsell many competitors in its various avatars, including an electric vehicle. Sales numbers stand at a whopping 33 million and counting.
2 Ford F-Series: 40 Million Plus
America’s favorite trucks, the F-Series have not only been the best-selling pickup trucks since 1977 but also the best-selling vehicles in the US since 1986. America has chosen her darling. The F-Series was formally introduced by Ford in 1948 and was known as the Ford Bonus-Built. Spanning more than 70 years and 13 generations, the Ford F-Series trucks outsell every truck and every other vehicle in America.
They have also launched many limited-edition trucks from Ford’s SVT – Special Vehicle Team, with the SVT Raptor still in production for the ultimate off-roader. With 40 million trucks already sold, Ford F-Series has made Henry Ford’s dreams come true.
1 Toyota Corolla: 46 Million Plus
Introduced in 1966, the Toyota Corolla rose up the ranks and became the world’s bestselling vehicle in 1974. And it has zealously held on to this rank ever since, with more than 46 million Corolla sold to date, and counting. More than 50 years have passed, and the Corolla is now in its twelfth generation, still going strong.
From 1966 to 1991, the Corolla was classified as a subcompact car; post-1991, it became a compact car. Since 2018, in its twelfth generation, the Corolla has been available in a four-door sedan, compact and station wagon variants. Known for all the reliability Toyota brings to the table, as well as added luxury features; the Corolla may not let go of its bestselling car title anytime soon.