The best selling cars ever of every major car maker

We all have a pretty good idea of what the best selling cars of today are.

But our recent feature on the top sellers in every car market got us thinking – what are the individual brands’ biggest selling cars of all time? So we reached for our calculator and started digging – some of the information was easy to find, others less so. And some of the results were surprising – many car marque best-sellers were last sold a long time ago, so join us on an intriguing journey. We’ve ranked them from the smallest-selling car all the way through to the largest:

Bugatti – Type 57, 1934-39: 685

One of the smallest total sales volumes you’ll find for a single model, but the Bugatti Type 57’s is superbly diverse thanks to the variety of coachwork built on its chassis.

From swoopy tourers and roadsters to the lithe, aircraft inspired Atlantic, every 57 made imparted far more glamour than its modern Veyron and Chiron descendants could ever hope for. In case you’re wondering, production of the Veyron totalled 450 vehicles.

TVR – Chimaera, 1993-2003: 6500

TVR is a specialist British sports car maker, and in its own terms, the Chimaera was a runaway success and it helped fund the development of later models such as the Cerbera and Tuscan ranges.

All Chimaeras were powered by the Buick-derived Rover V8 engine, used in a variety of capacities and power outputs. As a measure of its popularity, the Chimaera sold more in its 12-year run that TVR had managed with all models in the previous 25 years.

Aston Martin – DB7, 1994-2004: 6640

Often referred to as the car that saved Aston Martin, the DB7 may look dated now but it played an instrumental role in keeping the British firm alive rather than just on life support. A supercharged 3.2-litre six-cylinder engine got things started, but the greater slice of sales went to the Ford-derived 6.0-litre V12 used in Vantage models.

De Tomaso – Pantera, 1971-1991: 7260

For a car with such an exotic name, looks and performance, the Pantera notched up decent sales figures.

Partly this was down to sales lasting 20 years and also because it cleverly used a rugged, easily tuned Ford V8 motor. That made it a popular alternative to other European supercars in the USA, where it remains a popular classic choice.

Though not, were he still alive, with Elvis Presley we reckon; enraged when his Pantera failed to start, he shot it.

Morgan – 4/4, 1936-present: 10,500

The total number of Morgan 4/4s sold to date may be relatively small, but this British sports car can lay claim to the longest continuous-running name in automotive history.

That accounts for its sales outweighing any other product from the firm, but it’s also the most popular choice for buyers thanks to its blend of looks, performance and rugged usability.

Alpine – A310, 1971-1984: 11,616

Brusque looks were no impediment to the Alpine A310’s sales after its slinky predecessor’s success. Initially with four-pot motors, the A310 came of age in 1976 when it received the Douvrin V6 engine from parent company Renault, which helped this model to further sales and rallying victories.

Lamborghini – Gallardo, 2004-2013: 14,022

In Lamborghini terms, the Gallardo was the baby of the range and a more affordable price drew in buyers by the score. In nine years, more than 14,000 found homes thanks to coupe and Spider models, and a variety of special editions. The best of these was the Balboni, named after Lamborghini’s famed test driver, and it featured a mildly detuned engine but power to the rear wheels only in place of all-wheel drive.

Ferrari – 430, 2004-2009: 17,499

Exclusive, rare and hard to find: that’s what a Ferrari is supposed to be. Yet, just one shy of 17,500 430s were sold of all types, most coupes, but with about a third accounted for by Spiders and rare versions such as the Scuderia and 16M. It may be the most common Ferrari, but the performance is still up there with the most exalted supercars, so it’s easy to see why it was and remains so sought-after.

Lotus – Elise, 1996-present: 20,000

In a roll call of significant models from Lotus, the Elise more than any other deserves its place at the top of the list. Not only did it keep the firm from buckling financially, it introduced a whole new generation to the delights of lightweight, deft-footed sports car ownership.

The Elise encapsulates what Lotus has always done best and it continues to wow its owners thanks to its precision and performance. It was sold in the US in 2005-11.

Rolls-Royce – Silver Shadow, 1965-1980: 29,030

For a car aimed at anyone but the common herd, there were rather a lot of Silver Shadows built during its 15-year tenure as Rolls-Royce’s mainstay model. Arriving during the 1960s when a cultural revolution was taking place could have been a disaster for this most venerable of establishment brands, but the Shadow instantly found favour with style leaders of the period. It continued to do so till the end, which boosted its profile and sales even through two fuel crises.

Maserati – Biturbo, 1981-1994: 36,373

The Biturbo is often scoffed as the bargain basement Maserati, but this model proliferated throughout the 1980s and kept the Trident badge from going under during that decade. The two-door models are the prettiest and the convertibles are now sought-after, but don’t dismiss the four-door saloon as it was made in significant numbers and, in 430 guise, still offers strong performance.

Bentley – Continental GT, 2003-: 66,000

Bentley only made around 800 cars a year before the Continental GT was launched, so even it was caught off guard by the runaway success of the sleek coupe. A drop-top joined the range in 2006 to further expand sales and Bentley has never looked back since. A mark of how good this car was and remains is its enduring popularity with used buyers. An all-new model arrived in showrooms in 2018.

Rover – 800, 1986-1999: 317,126

Rover was in desperate need of a sales hit when it launched the 800. The previous SD1 was a clever design but marred by quality issues, so basing the 800 on the Honda Legend was sound thinking. It may have lacked the avant garde appeal of its predecessor, but the middle managers of Britain loved it enough for more than 300,000 to roll out of showrooms.

The model was branded Sterling in the USA but was much less of a success in that market, and the Coupe (pictured) – designed for America, though it never got there - was a quite enticing oddity. The Coupe is a proper unicorn today; data suggests just 17 are left on UK roads.

Triumph – Herald, 1959-1970: 464,238

Launched in the same year as the innovative Mini, the Triumph Herald was a far more conventional machine with a separate chassis and engine derived from an existing Standard unit. However, its sharp styling chimed with buyers and there were coupe, estate and convertible options, as well as a van. Most numerous of the range was the 1200 saloon that accounted for 201,142 units. Triumph built its last car in 1984; the trademark (for cars) is today owned by BMW, which intriguingly retained it after exiting Rover in 2000.

MG – MGB, 1962-1980: 513,272

The MG brand may have been through the mill in recent times, but in the heyday of British sports cars it was one of the big players. That can be seen in the volume of MGBs shifted, both in coupe and roadster forms. With more than half a million sold, it was the best-selling sports car for many years and was notably popular in America. Still loved today, a large number survive and thrive.

The MGB died along with its Oxfordshire factory in 1980, but it laid the groundwork for Mazda to perfect the concept of a low-cost fun-to-drive roadster with its all-conquering MX-5/Miata, launched in 1989.

Tesla - Model 3, 2018-: 1.4 million

For a long time, the Model S was Tesla's biggest-ever seller, notching up around 300,000 examples sold. But the arrival of a smaller and more affordable model in the shape of the Model 3 has changed all that; it's already shifted over 1,000,000 examples, having sold 440,000 in the very troubled year of 2020 alone.

Jaguar – XJ, 1968-2019: 1 million

The XJ has been a constant in Jaguar’s line-up since it was first launched to huge acclaim in 1968. Back then, it was regarded as the best saloon in the world, which was backed up further when the 5.3-litre V12 motor was installed; the V12arrived in 1972. Through ups and downs of ownership, the XJ has kept putting in the sales with even the short-lived X300 model managing 86,909 sales in three years.

The XJ as we know it has sadly ended, with production closing down in July 2019. It was to be replaced by an all-electric model, but that was mysteriously canned at the last moment in early 2021 after £300 million was spent developing it.

Alfa Romeo – Alfasud, 1972-1989: 1.02 million

A gem of a front-wheel drive hatch that was every inch a rival for the Volkswagen Golf, though suspect build quality and poor rust-prevention hampered consumer confidence.

More power arrived with the 95bhp Veloce and the delectable Sprint Coupe could be had with a 117bhp 1.7-litre version of the flat-four motor. Deservedly Alfa’s biggest seller.

Porsche – 911, 1963-present: 1.1 million

There’s an Irish Green 991-generation Porsche 911 that marks a very important point in 911 history: it’s the one millionth produced of this Peter Pan sports car. Longevity helped the 911 reach this mark in early 2017, with another 30,000 or so being added to that number each year, but its enduring appeal is as a machine with supercar pace that you can drive all day, every day. A new generation model, known internally as the 992 series, went on sale in 2019 (pictured).

Saab – 900, 1978-1998: 1.2 million

Saab is well known for its unique design choices that made its owners fiercely loyal to the end of its life. That was evident nowhere more obviously than with the 900 range that was launched in 1978 and racked up more than 900,000 sales for the first model and 273,568 for the 1993 New Generation version. While safety, space and comfort were big draws, performance was another Saab speciality and almost a quarter of 900 sales went to the Turbo models.

Lancia – Ypsilon, 1996-present: 1.7 million

Lancia is a name that’s slipped from most markets around the world, yet the Ypsilon carries on flying the flag for this once revered company. Sadly, ingenious design and top spec engineering have given way to an awkwardly styled small hatch that has also been badged as a Chrysler.

The first two generations offered some styling flair, but that’s long gone in the surviving version. The Ypsilon will die soon, and we fear the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles-owned marque will go with it.

Chrysler – Newport, 1961-81: 1.9 million

The Newport may not be the first model to pop into your head when thinking about Chrysler’s back catalogue, but it’s the best seller for the US firm. Marketed as an affordable saloon or estate, it found favour with suburban customers for 20 years. Styling-wise, it’s at its best in crisp-lined mid-1960s guise, while the 1980s versions were bland and that was reflected in rapidly dwindling sales.

Smart – Fortwo, 1998-present: 2 million

Like so many revolutionary cars, the Smart Fortwo had a difficult route to production reality. First Volkswagen pulled out of a deal and then there were senior management disputes about the use of electric and hybrid power.

In the end, it arrived with a 599c three-cylinder petrol engine and the ability to park nose-in to normal spaces thanks to its 2.5m overall length. Being small hasn’t stopped the Fortwo notching up more than 2 million sales so far for the Mercedes-owned marque.

Land Rover – Defender (including Series), 1948-2016: 2.06 million

Is a Series the same 4x4 as a Defender? The definitive Land Rover changed a great deal during its 67-year run, but the essence remained the same throughout. That ethos was for a simple, rugged and multi-configurable off-roader capable of tackling conditions few others could.

Along the way, Land Rover offered a wide variety of engines and options, but all comes back to the core premise of being able to go anywhere. Production ended in January 2016, but an all-new Defender was unveiled in 2019. It's been well received and Land Rover currently sells them as quickly as it can make them.

Saturn – S-Series, 1991-2002: 2.21 million

Part of the General Motors family, the Saturn S-Series was notable for its extended proboscis front end that hinted at sporting prowess. That was unlikely with the 1.9-litre engine used in the first generation, but it did stand out for using plastic body panels hung from a spaceframe-style chassis.

Saturn also turned out 450 right-hand drive versions in 1999 specifically for the United States Postal Service so the driver could exit on the kerbside for deliveries. Saturn was closed down in 2010 during GM’s restructuring following the financial crisis.

Lincoln – Town Car, 1981-2011: 2.45 million

Parent company Ford’s intentions for this Lincoln were clear when it decided on the Town Car name. The Lincoln lived up to the name thanks to its generous proportions and fully laden interior specification. Some early models even included a digital dash and keypad entry system, though later models grew more conservative in design. It also spawned a host of genuine limo versions so beloved of tourists and prom night parties.

Holden – Commodore, 1978-2018: 2.5 million

Holden is Australia’s homegrown car maker and, until very recently, made its cars on home turf. The Commodore has always been based on General Motor’s large car platforms, but Holden has gone its own way with styling and engines. This has resulted in some very potent V8-powered models and the Commodore has been a mainstay of Aussie V8 saloon car racing alongside its great rival, the Ford Falcon. With domestic production ending in 2017, the fifth generation Commodore arrived in 2018 and is a smaller, front-wheel drive model heavily based on the Opel Insignia and built in Germany.

Reaction to the new model has been mixed to say the least, and production was halted in October 2018. The Holden name formally ends in 2021, though GM will import the Chevrolet Silverado truck and Corvette C8 sports car. Pictured is the HSV GTS E2 of 2011, putting in a rare appearance for the Commodore in Britain.

Dodge – Coronet, 1949-1976: 2.5 million

The Dodge Coronet has always had distinctive styling, particularly in its fourth generation form from 1957 to 1959 that had scalloped lids over the headlights. Buyers must have reckoned it hit the spot as this full-size range of saloon, coupe and convertible models found 2.5 million eager buyers during its 27-year lifespan.

Volvo – 200, 1974-1993: 2.86 million

If ever a car maker was defined by a single car, it has to be Volvo and its 200 range of saloons and, especially, estates.

Styled with a set square, it didn’t stop them from selling more than 2.8 million over 19 years. If you wanted something a bit more flash, there was the 262C coupe with vinyl roof and V6 engine, which managed to chalk up 5622 sales.

Lexus – RX, 1998-present: 2.9 million

The RX has been around far longer than many of its large SUV rivals, which has helped production numbers. It’s further aided by the option of a hybrid model that accounts for around a third of all Lexus petrol-electric models sold each year, with this model especially popular in the USA, where over 100,000 examples are sold every year.

Mercury – Grand Marquis. 1975-2011: 2.96 million

Aimed at the mid-size US market, the Grand Marquis was Ford’s way of tackling the likes of the Buick Le Sabre using the Mercury brand. Offered in saloon and coupe shapes, the Grand Marquis stuck with V8 engines throughout its lifespan. Sadly, the styling wilted from the original car’s sharply creased lines to an amorphous rounded saloon shape by the time of its demise in 2011; the Mercury marque died with it.

Jeep – Wrangler, 1987-present: 3.2 million

Running its Cherokee stablemate close on the sales front, the Wrangler just takes the honours here as it continues to rack up the numbers. Replacing the CJ in 1987, the Wrangler has enjoyed steady sales throughout its life thanks to a faithful fanbase who love it for its go-anywhere skills and open-top body. A new model went on sale in 2018, giving sales a fillip.

Plymouth – Fury, 1956-1978: 3.68 million

The Fury started life as a derivative of the Belvedere, but it soon gained its own identity in the fins and chrome extravagance of the late 1950s. Sales soared thanks to the choice of saloon, wagon, coupe and convertible models, and this success rolled into the 1960s. During its final seventh generation, Plymouth shrunk the Fury to a mid-size car and that signalled the end of the road for this strong-selling range. The Chrysler-owned marque itself died in 2001.

Citroën – 2CV, 1948-1990: 3.9 million

An enduring fondness for the 2CV - and its total lack of complexity - means that many of Citroën’s near-4 million utilitarian hacks are still going strong. Conceived before the Second World War, the project was kept hidden from France’s German occupiers during the war and then launched in 1948.

The British motoring press were lukewarm at the time, but that didn’t stop Citroën from building the Tin Snail in its Slough factory, just west of London. However, only 672 were ever produced there, so most were built in France before production shifted to Portugal for the final couple of years.

Cadillac – de Ville, 1959-2005: 3.9 million

Starting out a decade beforehand as a trim option, the de Ville became a model in its own right in 1959 with huge fins and the best of everything. Although its size might hint otherwise, it was always intended as a town car, though Cadillac’s view of this was to offer premium luxury rather than nimble handling or anything approaching decent fuel economy.

None of that put off 3.9 million buyers, almost all of them in the US.

Hindustan – Ambassador, 1958-2014: 4 million

Take one already dated British design and export it to India where there’s a need for cheap, rugged transport and, hey presto, you have the Hindustan Ambassador. Developed from the Morris Oxford Series 3, the Ambassador is still a common sight on India’s roads as a taxi. Its simple mechanicals mean it can cope with vast amounts of abuse and miles. Some were even re-imported to the UK in the 1990s until emissions and safety legislation put paid to that.

Pontiac – Grand Am, 1973-2006: 4 million

The Grand Am was perhaps not as alluring as the Pontiac Trans Am, which had ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ cool on its side, but the Grand lived up to its name by being the bigger seller. In its 33-year stint in showrooms, it shifted 4 million. That started in the heyday of big motors and you could have a Grand Am with a 455cu in (7.5-litres) V8, though production ended in 2006 with a whimpering 2.2-litre four-pot.

The Pontiac marque itself was axed in the wake of the Great Recession, in 2010.

Mazda – 3, 2003-present: 4.2 million

Mazda may be famous for making the world’s most popular sports car in the MX-5, but it’s the more humdrum 3 that is the cornerstone of its production. Introduced to replace the so-so 323, its crisp styling and Ford Focus-derived chassis put it among the best in its sector.

It’s been a consistently strong seller for Mazda ever since and has sold four times as many as the MX-5 in half the number of years. A new generation model has just gone on sale in most major markets.

Nissan – Qashqai, 2006-present: 4.2 million

Nissan has several multi-million selling models in its catalogue, not least the Sunny. However, the Qashqai – known as Rogue Sport in the US (pictured) - takes the honours here as its name is attributed to the single biggest selling line in the company’s history.

That’s an impressive tally when the first Qashqai only arrived in 2006, but it’s been a big hit and more than half a million second generation models rolled off the production line in the north east of England in just 21 months after it was launched. That equates to a new car leaving the factory every 62 seconds.

Subaru – Legacy, 1988-present: 4.8 million

For all the chutzpah of the rally-inspired Impreza models, it’s the more mature Legacy that has been the sales foundation for Subaru over the last 30 years. Of course, this saloon and estate range had its moment on the forest stages, famously with Colin McRae at the wheel.

However, it’s more at home as a family wagon and capable tow car and it now routinely sells around 300,000 units every year, a big chunk of those in the American market.

Suzuki – Wagon R, 1993-present: 5.2 million

The Suzuki Wagon R has been a regular winner of Japan’s best-selling car during its lifetime and it notched up 3 million sales by 2008. Much of this success is because it meets its home country’s strict ‘kei’ car rules for size.

By maximising the cabin space within this restricted footprint, the Wagon R offers room for the family without clogging up city streets. The latest models now come with hybrid power to make them even more urban friendly.

Kia – Sportage, 1993-present: 6 million

Life didn’t look that promising for the Sportage when it first went on sale in 1993. Sales were slower than expected and its poor ride and handling didn’t help matters. Then Hyundai bought Kia and re-launched the Sportage in 2004. While not the last word in style, it caught the crest of the SUV sales wave and that led to the sleek 2010 model which completed Kia’s arrival as a major force.

Buick – Le Sabre, 1959-2005: 6 million

When Buick launched the first Le Sabre at the height of the fins ‘n’ chrome era in the late 1950s USA, it was every inch of its considerable length a rival for Cadillac. It remained a sharp-suited choice through the 1960s, but the ’70s onwards were not kind to it and by the time its demise came about, the Le Sabre was bloated and ungainly. The upside is it had added 6 million sales to GM’s bottom line.

SEAT – Ibiza, 1984-present: 6 million

The SEAT Ibiza was launched with considerable pedigree thanks to input to the design from Porsche, Karmann and ItalDesign. That helped sales reach 1.3 million before Volkswagen took the reins of the Spanish firm and the 1993 second generation model became based on the Polo platform. It's been a sales success ever since; 130,243 Ibizas found a home in 2019.

Fiat – Uno, 1983- 1994: 6.2 million

Given Fiat has produced the original 500 and the modern retro version, it’s perhaps a surprise to learn its biggest ever seller is the boxy Uno. Yet we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of this supermini in its heyday when it sold like cold gelato on a summer’s day. The name came from the single windscreen wiper, while the Turbo ie version was one of the quicker cars of its breed in its day.

Skoda – Octavia, 1998-present: 6.3 million

Skoda was once the butt of jokes, but who’s laughing now? That’ll be the VW-owned Czech firm as it goes to the bank with the profits generated by more than the 6 million Octavias it’s made since the car was launched in 1998. The Octavia remains the most popular car in several European countries and features in many top 10 best-selling lists.

MINI – Hatch, 1959-present: 6.4 million

Issigonis’ original Mini in its simplest two-door form sold more than 3.75 million, including the rapid Cooper models. BMW took a risk reviving the MINI brand in 2001 with its modern interpretation of the much-loved classic small car (pictured). It was a gamble that has paid off handsomely thanks to more than 2 million sales to date of the new hatch models.

Agile handling, sharp steering and great looks all contribute, and just like the original the feisty Cooper versions rack up plenty of sales. A facelifted model went on sale in most markets in 2018, marked out by Union Jack rear lights.

Audi – A4, 1998-present, 6.9 million

It’s hard to imagine the roadscape without the Audi A4 now, yet it was launched relatively recently compared to its arch rival, the BMW 3 Series. Even so, A4 sales have increased year on year, helped by its reputation for solidity and the option of four-wheel drive.

Mitsubishi – Lancer, 1973-present: 7.4 million

Who says sex sells? Not Mitsubishi, that’s for sure, as the Lancer has only ever raised the pulse in its most extreme rally-bred versions. While those Evo models garner the headlines, it’s the mainstream Lancer models that make up the huge majority of its 7.3 million and counting sales.

Usually sold in sedan form, there have been hatches and estates, and it carries on its success in China to the present day.

Peugeot – 206, 1998-2013: 8.4 million

The 206 brought back some of the pep that had made Peugeot’s 205 such a success. Attractive styling and a range of frugal engines were allied to three- and five-door hatch bodies. In time, there followed the CC with its folding metal roof and an estate version.

All proved popular and, when European sales ended with the arrival of the 207 in 2006, the 206 carried on for a further seven years thanks to its popularity in China and South America that helped sales nudge beyond 8 million.

Mercedes-Benz – C-Class, 1994-present: 10.2 million

The first W202 C-Class was built on the reputation Mercedes had built with the superb 190 range. Aimed at the BMW 3 Series, the C-Class erred more on the side of comfort than out and out handling. It’s an approach that worked a treat then and continues to do so today as the small Mercedes’ sales are not far behind its Munich rival despite almost 20 years’ less time on the market. A new fifth-generation C-Class was unveiled in early 2021.

Chevrolet – Malibu, 1964-present: 10.3 million

Always aimed at buyers of mid-size cars, the Malibu has been a staple of the US market for six decades and counting, which has helped sales top 10 million. Early on, Chevrolet offered it with performance upgrades to take on the muscle cars of the 1960s, while in later life it has erred more towards economy than speed. The latest version is now offered with hybrid power. With the demise of the Impala, the Malibu is the only saloon Chevrolet now sells in the US.

Oldsmobile – Cutlass, 1961-1999: 11.9 million

The Cutlass brings back fond memories for many of its 11.9 million new buyers thanks to the good looks of earlier generations. Later models went on to offer decent performance and good handling, even if the looks became blander. The original 1961 car is also notable for using a certain all-aluminium 3.5-litre V8 that went on to greater fame in a number of Rover and Land Rover vehicles. The Oldsmobile badge died on new cars in April 2004.

Hyundai – Elantra, 1990-present: 13.7 million

If asked to name the biggest selling cars in history, the Elantra would most likely be overlooked by all but the keenest Hyundai fan. Part of this cars success has been to appear inoffensive while delivering low-cost, reliable transport. Hyundai still sells the car many know as the i40 but with an Elantra badge so that big number is still rising.

BMW – 3 Series, 1975-present: 13.7 million

The 3 Series has come to define every era its sold through, from funky 1970s saloon through chisel-jawed 1980s saloon, estate and convertible and into the clean-cut noughties. This evolution has been entirely planned, sometimes with bold steps forward and occasionally with gentle revisions. It’s kept the 3 Series at the forefront of its class for sales and driver appeal. A new, seventh generation, version hit the showrooms in 2019.

Renault – Clio, 1991-present: 15 million

More than 15 million Clios have found homes. It’s been a huge hit for Renault and the Clio is a global success story thanks to various different versions being sold in different markets. That worldwide appeal is what pushes this supermini into the upper reaches of single model car sales. A fifth generation of the car arrived in showrooms in 2019.

Lada – Riva, 1980-2015: 18 million

The Lada Riva – also known as the VAZ 2105 and Nova – has had a lengthy life, and it started before that as the Fiat 124, first seen in 1966. Cold War needs on the eastern side of the Iron Curtain demanded a cheap, rugged machine that could deal with poor roads and fuel, and the Riva managed.

Don’t expect much in the way of comfort or driving dynamics if you take the plunge into ownership as 18 million drivers can be wrong.

Opel/Vauxhall – Corsa, 1982-present: 18.6 million

The Corsa name first arrived in 1982 for continental European buyers. In Britain, the car was known as the Nova and sold more than half a million between 1982 and 1993 when the Brits adopted the Corsa name for the second generation of this supermini.

From there, sales soared further and it continues to feature in the top three best sellers in many countries across Europe.

Honda – Civic, 1972-present: 20 million

The swoopy, scoopy looks of the present Honda Civic are some way off from the basic hatch that started this multi-million selling dynasty. Yet the Civic has always majored on delivering great value for money, generous specification and engines aimed at good fuel consumption. The Type R models don’t worry so much about that latter point, but they’ve played their part in building the legend of the Civic.

Honda recently announced the forthcoming closure of its UK factory at Swindon that builds the Civic; the next generation due in 2021 will be built in Japan and the US only, it seems.

Volkswagen – Golf, 1974-present: 35.5 million

Think of Volkswagen’s best seller and many will mention the Beetle, but the Golf has long since surpassed its famous ancestor’s total of 21.5 million. In 2013, VW built its 30 millionth Golf, which was a 1.6 TDI BlueMotion model.

Now past the 35 million marker, this prototypical small hatch is built at a rate of 2000 per day every day of the year. A new generation Mk8 model was unveiled in 2020.

Ford – F-Series, 1948-present: 43 million

The post-war USA has been built on the back of the Ford F-Series that comes in all manner of shapes, sizes and guises. It remains the most popular vehicle in the US, routinely outselling more frugal, comfortable passenger cars. What’s the appeal? Simple, rugged build allied to a low price and huge loyalty from customers who want, need or just plain like what this pick-up offers. A new generation F-150 was unveiled in 2020.

Toyota – Corolla, 1966-present: 46 million

By a very large margin, the Toyota Corolla is the world’s biggest selling car, a position it achieved after just eight years in production to unseat the Volkswagen Beetle. So, the Corolla is king and remains the most popular choice in many countries. A long production life and a multitude of bodyshapes also helps its grip on the title and that’s resulted in Toyota popping one into the world every 15 seconds. It also helps that the latest generation model that went on sale in 2019 is one of the best hybrids you can currently buy.


The best selling cars ever of every major car maker We look back at the best sellers throughout history, and some may surprise you...