The world is changing beneath our wheels. Car manufacturers are chasing a fast-evolving market that desires efficiency, luxury, and sustainability. Governments are taking steps to electrify their national fleet over the next decade. Elon Musk is making cyberpunk real. Vehicles are driving their damned selves. Do we know anything reliable about the motor industry? Yes we do.
The latest international sales figures are in and they represent a market that may be in flux, but knows what it likes. Toyota sold 1.48m Corollas in 2019, making it the most-sold car for the 15th year in a row. The top-selling new model is basically a magic spell for success: affordable… Volkswagen… SUV. The Skoda is big in east Europe. Toot toot!
Budget Direct wondered how car sales are looking country-by-country. We used BestSellingCarsBlog to gather year-end data from every country from 2019. We figured out the best-selling make/model by number of models sold, and created a series of maps to show the most popular car in (nearly) every nation on Earth. If there was no data for a given place, we left it blank (probably they’re all driving Cybertrucks with the invisibility cloak on).
Ready for a world tour of phenomenally popular motors?
- Toyota is the most-sold brand in 41 countries, making it the most-represented manufacturer in our study.
- The Toyota Hilux is the best-selling car in Australia, with 47,649 sales in 2019.
- The top-selling car in the US is the Ford F-150, with 896,526 sales in 2019.
- The Hilux is the most represented model in our study, as the top-seller in 16 countries.
What’s the best-selling car in your country?
North Americans like a reliable Ford. F-Series pickups are big in the US and Canada, although the Ram pickup is gearing up to give Ford a run for its money in both territories.
Mexico is the only country with the Nissan Versa at the top of its table. Nissan’s comfy sedan remains both affordable and reliable, even as luxury options are added over the years. The Japanese manufacturer shifted 87,127 Versas in Mexico last year, with prices kept low thanks to Nissan’s Aguascalientes assembly plant.
Chevrolet and Toyota are going head-to-head for the hearts of South American drivers. Each brand has the top-selling model in three South American countries, although Chevy is smashing it in numbers thanks to a quarter-million Onix sales in Brazil. However, next year’s sales could be eclipsed by the emerging VW T-Cross phenomenon.
There are a couple of Renaults on this map, too. Argentina and Colombia have Renaults at the top of their charts. The manufacturer sold over 400,000 cars in Latin America in 2019.
When you close your eyes and imagine the motor landscape in Europe, you’re probably not far wrong. Czech manufacturer Skoda continues to dominate the affordable car landscape out east, even if its latest models no longer come with reviews like “the Porsche of Eastern Europe.” The Octavia is number one in eight European countries, including Czechia, where it sold 21,663 units last year.
The Volkswagen Golf remains the reliable runaround of central Europe, and Peugeot shifted (or is that shiftéd?) 87,285 208s in France last year. Europe is the only continent that features Tesla at the top of its national hit parades. The Model 3 is number one in the Netherlands and Norway, where Elon Musk is actually selling more cars than his team can manage.
From Botswana to Swaziland, the Hilux has it in Africa. Toyota’s world-dominating truck is celebrated in Africa for its price/value, durability, trade-in value, reliability (especially versus the Ranger), comfort, and availability of parts.
The Hilux is top in 8 of fourteen African countries for which data was available. Other local hits include the Dacia, particularly the cheap and versatile Dokker (12,853 sales in Morocco) and the very cheap and convenient Sandero (23,065 sales in Algeria).
Middle East and Central Asia
A Toyota is top in nine out of the 15 countries for which data is available in this region. Arabs love Toyotas: nearly every Arabic demographic favours the Toyota, and 56% of Arabs most associate Japan with car manufacturing.
In Iran, the top-selling car has long been the SAIPA Pride, a copy of the Kia Pride made by the Société Anonyme Iranienne de Production des Automobiles. Although notoriously unreliable, the Pride was bought by 162,985 bargain-seeking Iranians last year. But despite the legend and the sales, the vehicle is now due to be discontinued due to safety concerns.
Asia and Oceania
There’s no messing around with Australian drivers. We know what we like, and it’s a Toyota Hilux – the car that is number one in the highest number of countries in our study (16, including Argentina, Kenya, Panama, and Thailand). This is the fourth year in a row at the top for the Hilux in Australia, although the Kia Cerato is the most significant vehicle in terms of sales growth (+16.8% on 2018).
The Corolla, Land Cruiser 70, and Vios are other popular Toyotas across the region. The only Ford to feature as a best seller on this map is the Ranger, which is big in New Zealand – to the point of ‘cult car status’!
The car brands in poll position around the world
The motor industry has been a slow-mover over the decades, but it is gaining pace in the 21st century as technology, social conditions, and climate change force the top manufacturers to innovate. Why not check through our full data below for more insight on which car brands and models sold the most in nearly every country in the world?
This post was brought to you by Budget Direct Car Insurance