The history’s best selling automobiles are those passenger cars and light trucks which can claim to be the highest selling vehicles in the markets they compete in. The list below consists of highly trusted & successful nameplates, many of which have lasted for decades.
Do note that there is always a possibility of inaccuracy or hyperbole, as a single vehicle can be sold concurrently under several nameplates in different markets, for example the Nissan Sunny; which is also sold as Nissan Sentra in various markets. As a result, there is no definitive standard for measuring units sold; Volkswagen has claimed its Beetle as the bestselling car in history as it did not substantially change throughout its production run. On the contrary, Toyota has applied the Corolla nameplate to 11 generations since 1966.
Chevrolet has sold 14 million Impala sedans since it debuted as Chevrolet’s top-end sedan back in 1958. Although the Impala has struggled to maintain its popularity in recent years, its 2014 redesign has been lauded by critics and consumer alike.
The VW Passat has gone through seven generations and 15.5 million cars sold since its debut in 1973. The Passat is a reliable family car, one that offers a touch of luxury for a pretty decent price. That’s what’s kept it selling so well over the past few years, even when the sedan market became intensely competitive.
Ford Model T
The first affordable, mass produced car for the average Americans was built in 1908 in Detroit by Henry Ford. While the Ford Model T hasn’t been in production since 86 years, it has still managed to hold on to the title of eighth best-selling car of all time having produced a staggering 16.5 million units.
It was the first car to achieve one million, five million, ten million and fifteen million units sold. By 1914, it was estimated that nine out of every ten cars in the world were Ford T. It took just 20 years for the Model T to sell more cars than most brands sell over decades. It went out of production by 1927.
Following closely on its sibling the Honda Civic, the Accord entered the scene in 1976. Honda has sold 17.5 million Accords since then. The Accord gets acknowledged for being a safe and reliable family car in its class.
Before the launch of the Civic in 1972, Honda was thinking of pulling out of car manufacturing altogether. The Civic was their first big hit on the automobile market and kept Honda in the business of making cars. Honda Civic has 18.5 million units sold worldwide.
The Escort was introduced to America in 1981, but had been a strong seller in Europe since 1968. Ford sold 18 million Escorts worldwide. Although the Escort had gone out of production by 2003/04, Ford in 2015 has re-launched the new Escort in China.
VW Beetle is one of the longest running production cars in history. Built in 1938 to Hitler’s specifications, the Beetle captured hearts in the counter-culture movement of the 1960s with it’s cheap price and funky design. About 23.5 million units of the love-bug have been sold worldwide.
The Golf, also called as Rabbit in Canada/ USA is the best selling model for Volkswagen. It came on the scene in 1974 and since then the hatchback has sold over 27.5 million cars. The Golf was sold as the Rabbit until 2006, when Volkswagen brought back the Golf in 2010.
The first Ford F150 was introduced in 1948 and was sold as the Ford Bonus Built. The first models were shaky, but the truck’s quality steadily improved over subsequent generations. The Ford F150 has sold 35 million models over the last six decades. Demand for the F-series trucks show no sign of slowing down. Ford recently needed to add a third shift to its Kansas City assembly plant where most of the F-series trucks are produced.
The first Toyota Corolla rolled off of the assembly line in 1966. By 1974 it was already the best-selling car in the world. Toyota has sold more than 40 million Corolla units worldwide. The 40 million feat was achieved in July 2013 however the popularity of the Corolla throughout the world particularly after the launch of the 11th generation is constantly increasing.
A computer animation professional with over 23 years of industry experience having served in leading organizations, TV channels & production facilities in Pakistan. An avid car enthusiast and petrolhead with an affection to deliver quality content to help shape opinions. Formerly written for PakWheels as well as major publications including Dawn. Founder of CarSpiritPK.com