Best Selling Vehicles In History

What do you think are the Top-10 best selling vehicles in history?  When we saw the headline we had to dive-in… it’s not only a fun topic but interesting – truly.

Before reading, on listening, jot down what cars, trucks and or crossover SUVs made the list.  Bet you don’t get them all.

In this iDriveSoCal Podcast, I give Clinton “The Professor” Quan a puzzle that he comes close to figuring out, and does a great job, but even he was stumped and surprised by a few of the answers.  I hope you enjoy this one – we sure did!

–>Continue reading or click play below to listen.<–

Best Selling Vehicles in History


Recorded September 5, 2018, in Los Angeles, CA

Global Best Selling Vehicles

Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast. All about mobility, from the automotive capital of the United States. Southern California. Tom Smith, here, with the good professor, Mr. Clinton. Say, “hello”, Clinton.

Clinton: Hi, Tom.

Tom: Hello, my friend.

This here podcast that we’re going to be putting together, actually, it was an idea from our good friend out at Ontario Volkswagen, Randy Holcomb.

He came across a list that was from Autoblog – but it was published originally – Autoblog referenced Wall Street Cheat Sheet. And what it is, is the ten best-selling vehicles, globally, of all time.

And now, I nicknamed the, “Professor,” because he knows the most granular detail of things that you shouldn’t really know, I don’t think, but he does. He’s like, “Oh dude, can you believe that they’re making the muffler out of this material on this car, for this year? It’s crazy!”

I wouldn’t ever think of that, ever. But the Professor knows about it and gets excited about it, so that’s why we call him the Professor.

But at any rate, he keeps his finger on the pulse of everything coming out of domestic carmakers, import car makers, luxury, exotics, you name it, he knows it. So this list is going to be a little bit of a challenge for him.

And actually, to be honest, this is the second time we started recording this podcast, because the first one that we did, I tried to get him to tell me what the top ten were, and there was so much dead air.

Best Selling Vehicles Podcast Do-Over!

He was doing good, he was doing good, I think he had four or five out of eight. But there was so much dead air, that I just like, “Okay, dude, we got to start this one over again.”

Tom: So, at any rate, this is what we’re going to do. The list is ‘The Top Ten Best Selling Vehicles of All Time’.

And at iDriveSoCal, I’ll link this post to the Autoblog post, and you can see, and props to Autoblog, well, actually, they republished it from Wall Street Cheat Sheet.

So, Professor, a little hint for you: Our good friend, Randy Holcomb, from Ontario Volkswagen.

Clinton: VW Beetle.

Tom: Correct. Volkswagen Beetle is one of the top ten. VW Beetle is actually #4. #4 best-selling car, globally, of all time. Volkswagen Beetle.

Clinton: Toyota Corolla.

“…there was so much dead air, that I just like, ‘Okay, dude, we got to start this one over again.'”

Tom: Okay, now he’s just going to rattle off all the ones he got right before. Toyota Corolla, yes, that’s the #1 best-selling vehicle –

Clinton: Of all time.

Tom: Of all time.

Clinton: Honda Civic.

Tom: Honda Civic, he got that one right too, folks. That is the

Tom: [whispers] let’s see one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight

Whoops… That is right, Honda Civic is the #6 best-selling vehicle of all time. What else you got?

Clinton: Volkswagen Jetta?

Tom: Jetta is not on the list.

Clinton: Honda Accord.

Tom: Honda Accord. You got that one last time too. Honda Accord is on the list. #8 best-selling vehicle of all time.

Clinton: Nissan Sentra?

Tom: Nissan’s not anywhere on the list.

Clinton: Nissan’s not anywhere on the list.

Ford Model T History & Availability

Tom: Global. Global. So, when Randy first told me about it, my first guess was the Model T.

Clinton: Model T?

Tom Smith: Model T was #9.

Clinton: Really, wow! Even though I know they did sell a lot of vehicles, I didn’t think that it would still be –

Tom: But you got to think, the Model T, Henry Ford mass-produced the Model T in such a way, he had an insane market share for a number of years.

And actually, I’ve read a couple of biographies on Henry Ford, and, he kind of got a little kooky in his late age, or whatever.

However you perceive it, he got kooky, he was always kooky, whatever. But, he was criticized by his executives around him, because, they had all kinds of inventory, be he kept on saying, “We got to make them faster.” And then they’re like, “But, Henry, we’re not selling what we have anymore.”

“Henry Ford mass-produced the Model T in such a way, he had insane market share for a number of years.”

And actually, one of the docents that I talked to at the Automotive Driving Museum, the head docent there, actually. He was telling me, and there’s a picture of me from that podcast on, sitting in one of their Model T’s. I’m like, “Man, I can sit in this? Yeah.”

Obviously, we know, the Automobile Driving Museum, you get to go for rides on Sundays, in their actual cars, but in this case, they let me sit in the Model T that was in the showroom, and the docent said, “Yeah, the Model T. They made so many of them that there are plenty of Model T’s still available.”

Clinton: Really?

Tom: “And beyond that, there are plenty of parts still available.”

Cars You Know & One You Don’t

Clinton: Wow.

Tom: Yeah. So there you go. And actually, Ford is also represented on this list in two different ways.

Clinton: Two different ways?

Tom: Two different ways.

Clinton: Okay.

Tom: The Ford Escort, #7.

Clinton: Wow. Which they don’t even make anymore.

Tom: And the Ford F-Series.

Clinton: Okay, that doesn’t surprise me.

Tom: Totally makes sense, right?

Clinton: Yeah, well the F-Series isn’t a surprise, because, that’s consistently #1 selling vehicle in the United States. Month after month.

Tom: So then, you also have Volkswagen, again. Randy, from Ontario Volkswagen, tipped me off to this. So, we’ve already mentioned the Beetle. The Golf is actually #3.

Clinton: Oh yes, the Golf.

Tom: It beat the Beetle. Right? We just did a vehicle review on the Golf.

Clinton: Yeah. Yeah, the Golf. Yeah.

Tom: And there’s a family of Golfs.

Clinton: Yes.

Tom: Some manufacturers don’t make as many cars as the various options of Golfs.

Clinton: Yes.

Tom: Right?

Clinton: Yeah.

Tom: And then you also have at #10, the Volkswagen Passat.

Clinton: Really?

Tom: Yeah.

Clinton: I’m shocked.

Tom: So, here’s the list: #10, the Volkswagen Passat; #9, the Ford Model T; #8, the Honda Accord; #7, the Ford Escort; #6, the Honda Civic. #5 is the outlier. I would have never gotten this one. You wouldn’t either. The Lada Riva.

Lada Riva of the Former Soviet Union

Clinton: The what? I have no idea what that even is. I wouldn’t even know how to spell it.

Tom: I’m sorry, did I say that was #7?

Clinton: #5, I think.

Tom: Yeah no no no, I’m sorry, yeah #5. The Lada Riva.

Clinton: I have no idea what that even is.

Tom: Exactly. And it’s actually a Russian vehicle.

Clinton: Oh okay. So I guess they must sell a lot of those in Russia.

Tom: Yeah and it’s older. Let’s see, it first hit the scene in the former Soviet Union in 1980.

Clinton: Hm?

Tom: Okay, so that’s a situation where probably, one of the only cars that you could buy, right? It was probably a similar situation to, with completely different political circumstances, but a similar situation to the Model T.

Clinton: Hm.

Tom: I would assume.

“The F-Series goes back before the 150 and 250 and 350 as we know it…”

Clinton: Yeah.

Tom: Supply, demand, and availability of whatever there is. So, again, #10 is the Volkswagen Passat; #9, is the Model T; #8, is the Honda Accord; #7, is the Ford Escort; #6, is the Honda Civic; #5, is the Lada Riva; #4, is the Volkswagen Beetle; #3, is the Volkswagen Golf; #2, is the Ford F-Series, which is the same thing as the Golf, right? The F-Series, I mean there’s a gazillion different F’s.

Clinton: No.

Tom: Obviously, the F-150’s the biggest seller.

Clinton: Yeah.

Tom: The F-Series goes back before the 150 and 250 and 350 as we know it, I believe, right?

Clinton: I believe so, yeah. Yeah.

Tom: Okay, and then #1, is the Toyota Corolla.

Clinton: Wow.

Tom: So, interesting little list.

Clinton: Three Volkswagens on that list.

VW Makes 30% of the Top-10 Best Selling Vehicles 

Tom: Right?

Clinton: Quite impressive.

Tom: Yeah.

Clinton: I’m trying to remember, I think they still are the #1 automaker when you include all of their brands.

Tom: Say that again.

Clinton: I believe they’re still the #1 automaker in the world when you include all of their brands.

Tom: And, but the Volkswagen brands include: Volkswagen –

“…they’re still the #1 automaker in the world when you include all of their brands.”

Clinton: Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley, so there’s a number of –

Tom: Porsche.

Clinton: Yeah, Porsche. And then there’s some brands that aren’t sold in the US.

Tom: Alright.

Clinton: Yeah.

Tom: So.

Clinton: Wow.

Tom: Just to throw that out there again.

Clinton: Very interesting list.

Tom: #1, Toyota Corolla. #1 best-selling car of all time, globally. #2, Ford F-Series pickup trucks. #2 best-selling vehicle of all time, globally. #3, Golf. Volkswagen Golf. Bestselling vehicle of all time, globally. Four, Volkswagen Beetle, globally best-selling vehicle. Five, Lada Riva. The Soviet Union.

Clinton: Is that a compact vehicle?

Tom: It’s a four-door.

Clinton: It’s a four-door, but is it similar in size to a Corolla or Civic?

Tom: Hard to tell by that picture, but to me, it almost looks like an old Volvo or an old Saab.

Clinton: In that decade, that would probably be comparable to a Corolla.

Tom: Okay.

Clinton: Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

Tom: The Lada Riva’s five. The Honda Civic is six. The Ford Escort is seven. The Honda Accord is eight. The Ford Model T is nine, and I’m still proud that I got that one right. And then the Volkswagen Passat is ten. So yeah, Volkswagen’s got thirty percent of the top ten vehicles, of all time, in sales.

China & India are No-Shows

That’s pretty significant, huh?

Clinton: Yes. Very very significant.

Tom: Alright.

Clinton: Yeah, of all time. That’s very impressive.

Tom: Well, there you have it. It was a fun list to share with the Professor.

And, folks, I think you’re going to appreciate the fact that we’re posting this podcast as opposed to the previous one because it was just the Professor, I couldn’t get it out of him. But you were doing good, you were doing good.

You got, you know, five, four, well, I think five of eight. You were doing good, but it was taking forever.

“…China and India, the two countries that have the most people, aren’t represented at all.”

Clinton: Somewhere around there. Yeah.

Tom: We’re ten minutes into the podcast, and I think four words were spoken. Come on.

Clinton: Well I don’t know what vehicles are sold in a lot of the other countries. So, yeah.

Tom: You know what’s surprising, is that China and India, the two countries that have the most people, aren’t represented at all.

Clinton: Yes. Yes. I’m trying to think, there are currently no Chinese vehicles sold here in the US.

Tom: But they have their own vehicles that they sell to their people.

Clinton: Yes, they do.

Tom: As does India, right?

Clinton: Yes, correct.

Tom: The Tata, I believe, is an Indian vehicle.

Clinton: Yes, I believe that’s an Indian vehicle.

Tom: Yes, big seller.

Clinton: Yeah.

Global-10 Best Selling Vehicles of All-Time Are…

Tom: Yeah, okay, anyway Professor, thank you for joining. Everybody, thank you for listening. I know this was a little bit of a random one, but we had fun talking about it.

Clinton: Yeah. That was a fun one.

Tom: And it’s interesting, right?

  1. Toyota Corolla
  2. Ford F-Series
  3. VW Golf
  4. VW Beetle
  5. Lada Riva
  6. Honda Civic
  7. Ford Escort
  8. Honda Accord
  9. Ford Model T
  10. VW Passat

Clinton: It is. That is very interesting.

Tom: It is interesting.

Clinton: Yeah.

Tom: So before we go. #1, Corolla. #2, Ford F-Series. #3, Volkswagen Golf. #4, VW Beetle. #5, Lada Riva. #6, Honda Civic. #7, Ford Escort. #8, Honda Accord. #9, Model T. #10, Volkswagen Passat.

Professor, thank you. Thank you for listening, for Tom Smith, no? For iDriveSoCal, I’m Tom Smith, thank you, again, for listening.