These are the top five best-selling cars of all time

16 September 2019 - 12:33 By Motoring Reporter
The evergreen Toyota Corolla.
The evergreen Toyota Corolla.
Image: Supplied

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, the trusty Toyota Corolla remains exceedingly popular. In fact, it is estimated a Corolla is sold every 36 seconds. Locally, we’ve already produced more than a million units. As a reliable family car it should be no surprise that it makes up close to a quarter of Toyota’s global sales.

The Ford F-150.
The Ford F-150.
Image: Supplied

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

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 back 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’s one of the most luxurious and innovative trucks on the market.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Volkswagen Golf GTI
Image: Supplied

3: Volkswagen Golf (33-million units sold)

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. It also punches above its performance weight in GTI and R guise. The eighth-generation model is due to go on sale in Europe before the end of the year.

The refreshed 2019 Honda Civic Sport.
The refreshed 2019 Honda Civic Sport.
Image: Supplied

4: Honda Civic  (24-million units sold)

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. It’s 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.

The Volkswagen Passat.
The Volkswagen Passat.
Image: Supplied

5: Volkswagen Passat (23-million units sold)

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. Today the Passat might have fallen slightly out of vogue (especially here in South Africa) but it did a lot to position Volkswagen as an upmarket, desirable brand at a decent price.

Conclusion

The determining factor for best-sellers 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.”

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