Revealed: the world’s most popular cars

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Author: | Updated: 18 Sep 2017 02:25

As regular readers of our registration news can attest, the Ford Fiesta has been top of the UK car charts for several years, and with an all-new version now available to order, this will no doubt be a trend that will continue.

We've had a look at the most popular vehicles from around the globe...

But this got us thinking – what cars do other countries favour? To find out we delved into some of the most recent data to find out what’s hot around the globe. Some national choices might be obvious, particularly in Europe, but we’ve also included some info on what’s going on in emerging markets like China and India.

France – Renault Clio

France – Renault Clio

We’ll start by crossing over the English channel to France. It’s hardly a surprise to find its domestic car market is flooded with domestic products – Peugeot, Citroen and Renault. As for raw registrations, it’s Renault’s Clio that tops the list, with 30,8015 hitting French roads this year alone.

That gives it a 5.7% share of the market and a sizable lead over its nearest rival – the Peugeot 208. Only one non-French car has made it onto the big hitters list and that’s the Dacia Sandero (which is actually owned by Renault).

Germany – Volkswagen Golf

Germany – Volkswagen Golf

Home of the autobahn and Germany is king of the car world, in Europe anyway. Its biggest manufacturer is Volkswagen and in its home territory the Golf is by far and away the most popular car with 113,998 making their way onto German roads so far this year.

In total, 332,876 Volkswagens have been registered in Germany so far this year – more than double the other German brands of Audi, BMW and Mercedes. In fact if you added up the total number of Mercedes and BMWs registered so far this year, it still wouldn’t get near Volkswagen’s figure.

Italy – Fiat Panda

Italy – Fiat Panda

Italians are nothing if not patriotic, and this shines through in their domestic car market which is awash with Fiats, Lancias and Alfas. It’s the Panda that finds itself in pole position, but the mainland Europe-only Lancia Ypsilon manages to attain second place.

Also among Italy’s most popular choices is the anachronistic Punto which, despite being essentially the same car that launched in 2005, remains a regular in the top ten. It’s still available in the UK too, although we could hardly recommend that one….

Spain – Seat Ibiza

Spain – Seat Ibiza

Spain’s only domestic car brand is Seat and, just like its European neighbours, it’s the national marques that are favoured most. The Seat Ibiza is the car of choice for the majority, while the larger Leon isn’t far behind.

Republic of Ireland – Hyundai Tucson

Republic of Ireland – Hyundai Tucson

Delorean aside, Ireland isn’t really renowned for car production. It therefore makes do with an eclectic mixture of foreign brands, although it would appear they are just are crossover crazy across the Irish Sea as we are – the Hyundai Tucson was the best-seller last year, out-doing its nearest rival – the Golf – by over 2,000 units.

Sweden – Volkswagen Golf

Sweden – Volkswagen Golf

2016 was the first year that domestic Volvo missed out on the top spot in 54 years. Can you guess what beat it? Yes, it was the all-conquering Volkswagen Golf. Admittedly the V70 came a close second and, with the new 90 range and XC60 SUV hitting the streets, it shouldn’t be too long before Volvo takes back the accolade of its home nation’s most popular car.

Czech Republic – Skoda Octavia

Czech Republic – Skoda Octavia

Skoda sweeps up in its home territory, with the Octavia coming in first, following by the supermini Fabia, the Rapid hatchback and the Superb saloon – no surprise considering this company’s strong heritage in its homeland.

Romania – Dacia Sandero

Romania – Dacia Sandero

Dacia has seen a roaring success of the UK market since it launched here back in 2012, but we doubt it’ll ever be more popular anywhere than Romania where they are built. Their Dacia of choice is unsurprisingly the Sandero supermini, while the domestic-market only Logan saloon remains a popular choice too.

United States – Ford F150 pick-up

United States – Ford F150 pick-up

The most popular vehicle in the US isn’t actually a car at all, it’s the Ford F150 pick-up. 820,799 hit the road last year. It isn’t an anomaly either – in second place you’ll find the behemoth Chevrolet Silverado, and in third the Ram pick-up. But what about actual cars?

Japanese saloons and SUVs are flavour of the month; the rest of the USA’s top ten is made up of Nissans, Hondas and Toyotas, with the Toyota Camry slotting into fourth. Also worth a mention is the new Civic which is built exclusively in the UK. With 335,445 registered last year, the new one should prove just as popular.

Japan – Toyota Prius

Japan – Toyota Prius

No surprises here.  Japan’s favourite car is a Toyota, but which one? Well it’s actually the fuel-sipping Prius. With 248,258 registered last year alone, it’s by far and away the most common car on Japanese streets.

It’s worth noting that Japan’s famed Kei cars are excluded from official figures, although there are reports that the popularity of these little city runabouts are beginning to fall due to higher taxes.

Australia – Toyota Hilux

Australia – Toyota Hilux

When the final Holden plant ends production later this year, so too does the Australian car industry. General Motors’ Aussie-arm has been on the slide for many years, and it’s easy to see why in the face of so much Japanese competition.

Like Americans, Australian motorists favour their Mazdas, Mitsubishis and Toyotas over pretty much anything else, with the hardy Hilux being the most popular vehicle in 2016. The only Holden to make the top ten is the Commodore at number seven.

China – Wuling Hong Guang

China – Wuling Hong Guang

An emerging market that’s becoming crucial for European manufacturers, China is also eying up other markets; Chery being the first. But the most popular car sold in its own market is the Wuling Hong Guang with 650,018 units sold in 2016.

The Hong Guang has seats for seven passengers and takes the form of a back to basics minivan, which still appeals in China despite the SUV boom.

South Korea – Hyundai Grandeur

South Korea – Hyundai Grandeur

Korean manufacturers have taken off in recent years, particularly in the UK, but what’s the preferred car at home? The Hyundai Grandeur has consistently topped the charts for the last year. Korea is a market where the traditional saloon is still king.

That said, they’re getting into their SUVs too, with the new Kona for example, making its way into the top ten since its launch at the beginning of 2017.

Argentina – Volkswagen Golf (but here’s a pic of the Renault Sandero instead…)

Argentina – Volkswagen Golf (but here’s a Renault Sandero instead…)

While it’s the Golf that takes prize for year-to-date, not too far behind is the Renault Sandero. No, not a typo – we mentioned earlier how Dacia is owned by Renault and, for Argentina at least, it seems Renault is happy enough to put its own badge on this increasingly popular economy car. There’s even a hot hatch RS version…

India – Maruti Suzuki Alto

India – Maruti Suzuki Alto

Like China, India is emerging as an crucial market for car makers and a major domestic player comes in the form of Maruti Suzuki, an arm of the larger Japanese producer.

Its most popular model is by far and away the Alto, although it’s a little different that the one we know in Europe as the picture attests. Other exotics from India include the Dzire, and of course Mahindrha (pictured).

Russia – Hyundai Solaris

Russia – Hyundai Solaris

Well, after 45 years of Lada domination, it’s all change for the Russian market – the number one spot has been stolen from the homegrown manufacturer by the Hyundai Solaris.

Ok, despite its Korean origins it is actually built in St Petersberg. We don’t have a Solaris in the UK, although it’s somewhere between the i30 and i40 size wise.

And globally…

The Ford F150 pick-up might not be a car, but it's the most produced vehicle so far this year.

Narrowly pipping the Toyota Corolla to the post, it’s the all-American Ford F150 pick-up that’s the world’s most popular vehicle so far this year. In fact over in the States, it’s actually been the go-to vehicle of choice for over three decades, remaining in the US number one spot for 32 years.

To put the 40,000,000 units into perspective, there have been more F-Series Fords through the years than all the Corsas and Fiestas ever produced... combined! It’s the Corolla and Nissan’s X-Trail that take up second and third place respectively, but we’ll have to wait for a full-year report to see their positions change…

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