Auto expats: 10 bestselling U.S. cars overseas

Popular Mechanics


General Motors is the largest automaker in the world, and not just because we buy its products here in the U.S. These are the American cars that sell well abroad.







China
Top-Selling American Car: Buick Excelle
Popularity: Number one seller

GM sells more Buick Excelles in China each year—a quarter-million of them—than all Buicks combined in the U.S. The Excelle comes in several models, the most popular built by GMDAT (GM Daewoo Auto and Technology, a company GM owns in South Korea). The compact sedan powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder is also known as the Daewoo Lacetti and was called the Chevrolet Optra when it sold in Canada until 2008. These days an Excelle runs the equivalent of about $21,000.




Brazil
Top-Selling American Car: Chevrolet Celta
Popularity: Number one seller

Built in a state-of-the-art factory in Brazil, the Celta is also known as the Suzuki Fun and powered by a puny 1.0-liter, 77-hp engine. It has also sold online for a non-negotiable price of about $12,500.




India
Top-Selling American Car: Ford Figo
Popularity: Number three seller

This two-year-old hatchback subcompact's design came from Ford of Australia. It's offered with a 1.2-liter gasoline engine or a 1.4-liter diesel. The car is less than 150 inches long and rides on a 98-inch wheelbase, though somehow it carries five passengers.




Russia
Top-Selling American Car: Ford Focus
Popularity: Number five seller

No surprise that the popular Focus world car is the favored American here, outsold only by three Russian-built Ladas and a new locally-built Hyundai sedan. But it's noteworthy that GM has redesigned the tractor-tough Lada Niva unibody SUV, with new styling by Bertone in Italy and in partnership with the carmaker AvtoVAZ, to sell what is now called the Chevrolet Niva, which is the tenth-best selling car in Russia.




South Africa
Top-Selling American Car: Chevrolet Utility
Popularity: Number seven seller

Although you might be led to believe otherwise by the drab name, the hottest American car in South Africa is a car, not a truck. However, the body is a pickup style, like a mini-El Camino. It's based on an Opel Corsa passenger car and is powered by a choice of a 1.4-liter or 1.8-liter gas engine, or a 1.7-liter diesel, all four-cylinders.

Common U.S. cars—like the Ford Fiesta, Figo, and Ranger pickup; the Chevy Aveo, Spark, and Captiva; and the Jeep's Grand Cherokee, Wrangler, and Compass—all sell in South Africa. But the best-selling car in South Africa is VW's Polo Vivo, a restyled version of the previous-generation Polo.




Egypt
Top-Selling American Car: Chevrolet TFR
Popularity: Number one seller

The oddly-named Chevrolet TFR four-cylinder mini pickup out-sells the number two Hyundai Accent, although the Egyptian new-car market is less than 100,000 units a year. The Hyundai Verna and Elantra grab the third- and fourth-place spots.




Argentina
Top-Selling American Car: Chevrolet Classic
Popularity: Number one seller

Based on a previous-generation Opel Corsa, the Classic is powered by an old-fashioned 1.4-liter single-cam four-cylinder. This compact sedan is in a close race to keep its title as Argentina's bestselling vehicle, battling with a previous-generation Peugeot 207 as well as two different generations of the VW Golf.




Saudi Arabia
Top-Selling American Car: Ford Expedition
Popularity: Number six seller

What do Texas and Saudi Arabia have in common? Love for the big SUV. Only three Toyota sedans and two Hyundai sedans outsell the boxy Expedition in Saudi Arabia.




Liechtenstein
Top-Selling American Car: Ford Fiesta
Popularity: Number ten seller

Almost every brand in the world sells cars to these folks, who have the highest gross domestic product per capita of any country in the world. But more people live in Aberdeen, South Dakota, (population 40,000) than this tiny principality sandwiched between Switzerland and Austria. So it doesn't take many sales to make a dent in the rankings, and the 30 folks who bought Fiestas last year elevated the model to a top-ten sales position.




France

Top-Selling American Car: Ford Fiesta
Popularity: Number 12 seller

The Renault Clio, Peugeot 207m, and Citroen C3 are the sales leaders here. Ford sells a few Fiestas, but the car just can't keep up with those Euros. Nor does it match the Romanian-built Top Gear folk hero, the Dacia Sandero.
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