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Toyota, Ford row over car sales

16 April 2013, 10:57

Michigan - In the past seven months, Toyota and Ford have both claimed to produce the world's top-selling car, twice. The clash shows how just how complicated it is to count global car sales.

Ford says its Focus was the leading global nameplate, with 1.02-million sales in 2012, citing RL Polk & Co data that marked Toyota's Corolla sales at 872 774, reports the Detroit News.


However, Toyota replied with a statement that they had in fact sold 1.16-million Corollas.

Bloomberg News Alan Ohnsman and Craig Trudell reported the latest dispute follows a similar squabble in August 2012, when Ford claimed a six-month global sales lead for Focus and cited IHS Automotive data that excluded some derivatives of the Corolla such as Matrix in the US, Auris in Europe and the Verso in Japan.

Analysts also calculate global sales differently on the basis of autos sold by joint-venture partners.

Principal of Baum & Associates- an auto consulting firm in West Bloomfield, Alan Baum, said: "There's no simple answer here — it's basically for bragging rights, so you define it however you like to suit your purposes.”

"Suffice it to say these are both global models that are extremely popular and whose sales are likely to grow as the volumes in developing countries increase," said Baum.


The differing results emerged as Ford and General Motors revamped their US car range to win sales in segments dominated for decades by Toyota and Honda.

Ford US sales analyst, Erich Merkle, said the Focus was the "best-selling nameplate."

Merkle said: “The 1.02 million figure is a pure number that is verified by a third party."

Polk spokeswoman Michelle Culver said the company is unable to provide data on global sales by nameplate beyond what Ford has released.

The company's global reporting typically lags by three to four months because it tracks more than 80 markets worldwide according to the Detroit News.

Toyota US vice president of communications, Mike Michels said: "Toyota sold 1.16-million Corollas globally in 2012."

"Corolla registrations attributed to Polk come up short by nearly 300 000 units. This discrepancy is glaring and we have requested clarification."

Best-selling vehicles of 2012
1 Ford Focus 1 020 410
2 Toyota Corolla 872 774
3 Ford F-Series 785 630
4 Wuling Sunshine 768 870
5 Toyota Camry 729 793
6 Ford Fiesta 723 130
7 VW Golf 699 148
8 Chevrolet Cruze  661 325
9 Honda Civic 651 159
10 Honda CR-V 624 982


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