The Ford F-Series led the way in Canada in 2016, but what about the rest of the world?
Argentina: Toyota Hilux
Steady growth in the Argentinian market has not returned the South American country to the records seen half a decade ago, but automakers are taking advantage of a turn away from Volkswagen, Argentina’s top-selling brand. The Toyota Hilux – not exactly a Tacoma twin – is at the top of the best-selling models list, easily outselling the Volkswagen Gol to claim best-selling status for the first time.
Australia: Toyota Hilux
A fixture of best-seller lists around the globe, the Toyota Hilux was number one in Australia in 2016, unseating its sibling Toyota Corolla to claim top honours for the first time. Auto sales down under reached record levels for the second consecutive year. Hilux sales topped 42,000 units over the course of the 2016 calendar year.
Brazil: Chevrolet Onix
Brazilian new vehicle sales plunged in 2016 for a second consecutive year, but Chevrolet maintained its position as Brazil’s best-selling brand and the maker of Brazil’s best-selling car, the Chevrolet Onix.
China: Wuling Hongguang
Wuling isn’t a General Motors brand most Canadians will know well, but the company’s top-selling MPV is China’s best-selling vehicle overall. 2016 was the fourth consecutive year of sales leadership for the Wuling Hongguang.
Czech Republic: Skoda Octavia
Skoda is Volkswagen’s value-oriented Czech brand, so it’s not surprising to see that the Golf-based Skoda Octavia is the best-selling vehicle in its home market. The Octavia led a quartet of Skodas to claim all four top positions on the best sellers’ leaderboard in 2016.
Denmark: Peugeot 208
In a Danish market that sold more new vehicles than at any prior point in history, the Peugeot 208 was the most popular model in 2016, taking over from the Volkswagen Up. The bicycle-friendly Danish market is naturally a small one, at roughly one-ninth the size of Canada’s. The 208 is Peugeot’s Ford Fiesta rival.
Finland: Skoda Octavia
As in its Czech home market, the Volkswagen Golf-based Skoda Octavia is the best-selling vehicle farther to the north, in Finland. The Octavia has been Finland’s best-selling model each year since 2014 and outsold all rivals despite a modest sales downturn in 2016.
France: Renault Clio
Sized to compete with the Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208, and Citroen C3, the Renault Clio was the best-selling vehicle in its home market of France for a sixth consecutive year. As the French auto industry improved to more than 2 million units – slightly larger than Canada’s – the Clio continued a reign that began in 2011.
Germany: Volkswagen Golf
Not only was the Volkswagen Golf Germany’s best-selling vehicle in 2016, it was continuing a leadership streak that dates back to 1981. Golf volume predictably tumbled in 2016, but the preeminent Volkswagen was still nearly three times more popular than the second-ranked vehicle.
India: Maruti Alto
The Maruti Suzuki Alto is the best-selling model for an all-conquering automaker in India. The partnership combines to generate nearly half of all auto sales in India, while the Alto earned the top spot for a brand which, incidentally, earned all four of the best-seller positions.
Ireland: Hyundai Tucson
Although the all-new Toyota C-HR earned top honours in the final one-sixth of the year, the Hyundai Tucson was the best-selling vehicle in Ireland for the first time ever. Five percent of the new vehicles sold in Ireland in 2016 were Tucsons.
Israel: Kia Sportage
Earning the number one position for the first time ever, the Kia Sportage was Israel’s best-selling vehicle in 2016. The Sportage pushed another Kia, the smaller-than-Rio Picanto, into the second spot. The Hyundai Tucson, meanwhile, a platform partner of the Sportage, caused the Korean conglomerate to own the podium.
Italy: Fiat Panda
Italy’s auto industry may be famous for its Ferraris and Lamborghinis, but it’s the more affordable Italian cars that fill Italy’s best-seller list. In a market roughly the size of Canada’s, the Fiat Panda was Italy’s best-selling vehicle, a fifth consecutive victory for the small-but-tall hatchback. In fact, no auto brand besides Fiat sells as many vehicles as the Panda does on its own.
Japan: Toyota Prius
For the first time since 2012, the Toyota Prius was the best-selling vehicle in Japan, garnering nearly 250,000 sales in new fourth-gen form. In order for the Prius to grab the top spot, the Toyota Aqua needed to be knocked down a peg. The Aqua is, incidentally, known in Canada as the Prius C.
Kazakhstan: Toyota Camry
Auto sales plunged in Kazakhstan in 2016, losing roughly half its volume compared with 2015, which was a year of rapid decline, as well. Toyota sales nevertheless improved on a year-over-year basis and the leading Toyota Camry was the best-selling vehicle in Kazakhstan.
Kuwait: Toyota Prado
Toyota’s Prado essentially takes its place in Toyota’s North American lineup as the Toyota 4Runner and Lexus GX460. In most markets, however, the Prado – or Land Cruiser Prado – is a well-known 4×4. Though Kuwaiti auto sales took a tumble in 2016, the Toyota Prado stayed in its traditional position as the best-selling vehicle, a position it’s held since 2011.
Mexico: Nissan Versa
In a market marginally smaller than Canada’s where Nissan produces one-quarter of all sales, a Nissan will almost inevitably be the top seller. It’s currently the turn of the Nissan Versa, which jumped 40 percent to more than 90,000 units in 2016.
Morocco: Dacia Logan
In Morocco, known for its strong French influence, a French-owned Romanian car topped the sales charts in 2016. The Dacia Logan’s 2016 victory continued a streak that began in 2013. Dacia’s other vehicles – Dokker, Sandero, Duster – were all members of the top 10 best-selling vehicles list.
New Zealand: Ford Ranger
In a second year with podium-topping results, the Ford Ranger was New Zealand’s best-selling vehicle in 2016. The midsize Ranger pickup is once again bound for North America, but not for a couple of years, and not as a best-seller.
Qatar: Toyota Land Cruiser
In the tiny, affluent, largely desert market of Qatar, it’s not surprising to see a luxurious offroader as the best-selling vehicle. Better than one out of every ten new vehicles sold in Qatar is a Toyota Land Cruiser, the best-selling vehicle in a country where Toyotas – Hilux and Prado, too – control the podium.
Romania: Dacia Logan
In its home market, the supremely affordable Dacia Logan was the best-selling vehicle in 2016. Continuing a streak that began in 2005, the Logan earns nearly one out of every five Romanian new vehicle sales in 2016.
Russia: Hyundai Solaris
After 45 years in which Russia’s own Ladas were, in one form or another, the best-selling vehicles in Russia, the Hyundai Solaris – akin to our Accent – was the top seller in 2016. Russian auto sales declined in 2016, as did Solaris volume, but the small Hyundai still earned 6 percent market share.
Singapore: Honda Vezel
In an odd twist, Singapore generates a large chunk of its sales outside of the traditional manufacturer/dealer network but rather through “parallel imports.” Thus, while Honda markets the Vezel as the HR-V in Singapore – as Honda Canada does – it’s the imports of Vezels that led Honda to the top of the sales charts in 2016.
South Africa: Toyota Hilux
For a fourth consecutive year, the indomitable Toyota Hilux was the top-selling vehicle in South Africa in 2016. Auto sales in South Africa declined in 2016, but Hilux sales didn’t decline as seveely as the market at large. Thus, the midsize Toyota pickup garnered better than 6 percent market share.
South Korea: Hyundai Porter
While Canadians buy relatively expansive Ford F-Series pickup trucks in all sorts of leather-lined, tech-laded trim levels, a pickup truck is the top-selling vehicle in Korea, as well. But it’s a bit different. The Hyundai Porter was Korea’s top-selling vehicle for the first time ever in 2016.
Spain: Seat Leon
Like the Skoda Octavia in the Czech Republic, the Seat Leon (say-at lay-own) is the Golf’s Spanish home market platform mate. The Leon was the best-selling vehicle in Spain in 2014, 2015, and again in 2016, though France’s Renault is now the best-selling brand.
Sweden: Volkswagen Golf
For the first time in generations, the best-selling vehicle in Sweden in 2016 was not a Volvo. Instead, a global favourite, the expansive Volkswagen Golf range, grabbed top spot as Volvo approached the replacement phase for the perennial favourite, the V70.
Thailand: Toyota Hilux
Thailand is a pickup-truck-happy market that was led by the Toyota Hilux in 2016. Another pickup truck, the Isuzu D-Max, ranks second. The Ford Ranger was the fourth-best-selling vehicle in 2016, while the Mitsubishi Triton ranked seventh.
United Kingdom: Ford Fiesta
As UK auto sales rose to record levels in 2016, the Ford Fiesta was the best-selling vehicle for an eighth consecutive year. Prior to the Fiesta’s reign, however, Fords of one kind or another were perpetually number one vehicles in the UK. The streak now stands at 45 years.
United States: Ford F-Series
Just as in Canada, the vast Ford F-Series range was the best-selling vehicle line in America in 2016, a record year for the U.S. auto industry. The Toyota Camry led all passenger cars; the Honda CR-V was America’s best-selling utility vehicle.
Canadian auto sales shot to record highs in 2016 as car volume plunged, SUV/crossover sales grew rapidly, and the best-selling Ford F-Series enjoyed record total sales of more than 145,000 units.
But pickup truck dominance in Canada isn’t the norm in many parts of the world. Small cars dominate the leaderboard in many countries. Home market vehicles also perform particularly well.
We take a trip around the world in search of the best-selling vehicles in 30 different countries, with help from Automotive News, Best Selling Cars Blog, Focus2Move, the SMMT, VDA, and a variety of other national association sources.