BEST SELLING AUTOMOBILES
Best selling automobiles are those passenger cars and light trucks which, since the introduction of the Benz Patent Motorwagen in 1886, can lay claim to being the highest selling vehicles in the markets they compete in.
While references to verify the manufacturers’ claims have been included, there is always the possibility of inaccuracy or hyperbole. Also note that a single vehicle can be sold concurrently under several nameplates in different markets, as with for example the Nissan Sunny; in such circumstances manufacturers often provide only cumulative units sold figures for all models. As a result, there is no definitive standard for measuring units sold; Volkswagen has claimed its Beetle as the bestselling car in history as it did not substantially change throughout its production run.By contrast, Toyota has applied the Corolla nameplate to 11 generations since 1966, which have sold over 40 million through July 2013
Four cars have been widely acknowledged as the “bestselling automobile in the world” since Ford built its millionth Model T on December 10, 1915. The Model T itself remained the highest seller until forty five years after production ceased in 1927. On February 17, 1972 Volkswagen claimed that the Ford had been superseded by the Beetle, when the 15,007,034th was manufactured. Although The Model T has subsequently been credited with 16.5 million units sold, this anomaly is moot in light of the Beetle reaching 21 million.
The Beetle remained the bestselling vehicle until the late 1990s, when it was itself overtaken by the Toyota Corolla.However, this was an example of the modern practice of applying a brand name across a range of vehicles, and retaining it for marketing purposes even as the car changes. While the first Corolla in 1966 was rear wheel drive and rode on a 2286 mm wheelbase, the current front wheel drive versions share a 2600 mm wheelbase and use a mechanically unrelated platform. The Beetle’s overall design, both aesthetically and mechanically, changed so little over the course of its 65-year run that it’s possible to mount a 1936 body on a 2003 chassis or vice versa.
The original model Lada produced by AvtoVAZ of Russia, is the most numerous vehicle ever marketed without any major design change during its production history, with over 20 million units sold between 1970 and mid-2012. The Lada, sometimes known as the “Classic” in the West, was originally based on the 1960s Fiat 124 but mechanically upgraded to cope with poor roads and harsh climates. Between 1970 and 1979, some 5 million cars had been produced. These were badged as the 2101 (1200 sedan), 2102 (1200 estate), 2103 (quad headlights, higher-spec. interior than 1200), 2106 (improved 2103). Between 1980 and 2012 over 15 million more Ladas were produced, and these were badged for various export markets such as Rivas (UK), Signets (Canada), and Novas (Germany). The car was also built under licence in several countries (production figures unknown). Although various updates were made to the car’s bumpers, steering columns and interior fittings, as well as other minor mechanical improvements throughout its production life, the basic design remained unchanged.