Today in Thailand, Ford celebrated the building of its 350 millionth vehicle -- dating back to 1903 and a two-cylinder Model A built by Henry Ford -- with the rollout of a Ford Focus from its plant in Rayong. It's a nice milestone, but it also gave Ford a chance to gloat about another stat; that the Ford Focus surpassed the Toyota Corolla this year as the best-selling car in the world.
Ford says that through the first six months of 2012, it sold 489,616 Foci, while Toyota sold 462,187 Corollas. Both cars benefit from being nearly identical wherever they're built to keep costs low; in addition to its new plant in Rayong, Thailand, Ford builds the Focus in Michigan, Germany, Argentina, China, Russia and the Philippines. Asia remains one of the bright spots for Ford and the auto industry in general; while North America chugs along, the economic troubles in Europe will lead to at least $1 billion in losses for Ford alone.
To put the Focus sales in perspective, the global auto industry expects to pump out about 62 million vehicles this year worldwide; some estimates put the total number of vehicles on Earth at close to 1 billion. Now that the world's on wheels, the problem won't be getting cars to people who need them, but figuring out how to keep those wheels turning.