The top five best-selling cars of all time

Visit the Gumtree website for competitive deals on used cars

28 October 2019 - 08:57
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Toyota has already produced more than a million Corollas in South Africa.
Toyota has already produced more than a million Corollas in South Africa.
Image: Supplied/Gumtree

Popularity is an excellent measure when choosing which car to buy, says Nunben Dixon, head of Gumtree Auto.

“If a car is popular, it will have good resale value and will likely have a good reputation for durability and quality. Most of us won’t keep a car for longer than five years, which is why it is so important to keep resale in mind.”

The most popular cars on a global scale (according to sales figures) are: 

1. Toyota Corolla (44.1-million units sold)

More than 50 years and 11 generations later, Corolla remains exceedingly popular. It is estimated a Corolla is sold every 36 seconds. Locally, Toyota has already produced more than a million units. As a reliable but sporty family car, it should be no surprise that it makes up close to a quarter of Toyota’s global sales. 

2. Ford F-Series (40-million units sold)

The Ford F-150 is one of the most popular urban vehicles in the US.
The Ford F-150 is one of the most popular urban vehicles in the US.
Image: Supplied/Gumtree

Last year South Africans were delighted to hear that the Ford F-150 with Shelby conversions was coming to our shores. This is not your ordinary bakkie – it’s a proper American pickup truck. When the first generation went on sale in the 1940s, it was pitched to farmers but today it is one of the most popular urban vehicles in the US. Currently in its 13th generation, it is one of the most luxurious and innovative trucks on the market. 

3. Volkswagen Golf (33-million units sold) 

The VW Golf is light on fuel, spacious and affordable.
The VW Golf is light on fuel, spacious and affordable.
Image: Supplied/Gumtree

The Golf is one of the most enduring crowd pleasers on the market. It’s light on fuel, spacious, affordable and attractive – with an array of optional add-ons. The eighth generation Volksie is due to go on sale in Europe before the end of the year, but spy pics have shown the design is leaning towards a retro Mk II style. 

4. Honda Civic (24-million units sold)

The Honda Civic has sold 24-million units.
The Honda Civic has sold 24-million units.
Image: Supplied/Gumtree

The Honda Civic is a real success story. By the 1970s, Honda was about to give up on car  manufacturing altogether when the Civic came along. Its economy, reliability and low cost made it a surefire winner in an era with both higher fuel costs and more stringent emission standards than ever before. 

 

5. Volkswagen Passat (23-million units sold)

The VW Passat made its debut in the 1970s as a large family car.
The VW Passat made its debut in the 1970s as a large family car.
Image: Supplied/Gumtree

Another winner from the VW stable is the popular Passat, a large family car that debuted in the 1970s but really took off in the 1990s. Early fourth-generation comparisons likened  the Passat to the Audi 80 or A4 – not surprisingly, as Ferdinand Piech the designer had left Audi to join the Volkswagen group. The Passat might have fallen slightly out of vogue but it did a lot to position Volkswagen as an upmarket, desirable brand at a decent price.

The determining factor for bestsellers seems to be value for money. While not in the top five, a surprising contender in the top 10 best-selling cars of all time is the Model T Ford, which made its appearance more than a century ago.

“It was the first time the average man on the street could afford an automobile. You could say sales were unprecedented – there was no precedent!” says Dixon.

“Judging by the direction manufacturers are taking, whoever creates the first truly affordable electric car will create an instant bestseller.”

This article was paid for by Gumtree South Africa

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