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.  Hope you enjoy this one – we sure did!

iDriveSoCal's Tom Smith sitting in Ford Model T parked inside The Automobile Driving Museum

***Transcript***

Recording date – 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 Quan. Say, “hello”, Clinton.

Clinton Quan: Hi, Tom.

Tom Smith: Hello, my friend.

Tom Smith: 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.

Tom Smith: But at any rate, he keeps his finger on the pulse of everything coming out of domestic car makers, 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 Smith: 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 Quan: VW Beetle.

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: Toyota Corolla.

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

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: Of all time.

Tom Smith: Of all time.

Clinton Quan: Honda Civic.

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

Tom Smith: [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 Quan: Volkswagen Jetta?

Tom Smith: Jetta is not on the list.

Clinton Quan: Honda Accord.

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

Clinton Quan: Nissan Sentra?

Tom Smith: Nissan’s not anywhere on the list.

Clinton Quan: Nissan’s not anywhere on the list.

Ford Model T History & Availability

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

Clinton Quan: Model T?

Tom Smith: Model T was #9.

Clinton Quan: Really, wow!

Tom Smith: Now –

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

Tom Smith: But you got to think, the Model T, Henry Ford mass-produced the Model T in such a way, he had 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 iDriveSoCal.com, 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 Quan: Really?

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

Cars You Know & One You Don’t

Clinton Quan: Wow.

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

Clinton Quan: Two different ways?

Tom Smith: Two different ways.

Clinton Quan: Okay.

Tom Smith: The Ford Escort, #7.

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

Tom Smith: And the Ford F-Series.

Clinton Quan: Okay, that doesn’t surprise me.

Tom Smith: Totally makes sense, right?

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

Tom Smith: 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.

“I would have never gotten this one. You wouldn’t either. The Lada Riva.”

Clinton Quan: Oh yes, the Golf.

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

Clinton Quan: Yeah. Yeah, the Golf. Yeah.

Tom Smith: And there’s a family of Golfs.

Clinton Quan: Yes.

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

Clinton Quan: Yes.

Tom Smith: Right?

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

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

Clinton Quan: Really?

Tom Smith: Yeah.

Clinton Quan: I’m shocked.

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

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

Clinton Quan: #5, I think.

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

Clinton Quan: I have no idea what that even is.

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

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

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

Clinton Quan: Hm?

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: Hm.

Tom Smith: I would assume.

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

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: No.

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

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

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

Clinton Quan: I believe so, yeah. Yeah.

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

Clinton Quan: Wow.

Tom Smith: So, interesting little list.

Clinton Quan: Three Volkswagens on that list.

VW takes 30% of the Top-10

Tom Smith: Right?

Clinton Quan: Quite impressive.

Tom Smith: Yeah.

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

Tom Smith: Say that again.

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

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

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

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

Tom Smith: Porsche.

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

Tom Smith: Alright.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: So.

Clinton Quan: Wow.

Tom Smith: Just to throw that out there again.

Clinton Quan: Very interesting list.

Tom Smith: #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 Quan: Is that a compact vehicle?

Tom Smith: It’s a four door.

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

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

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

Tom Smith: Okay.

Clinton Quan: Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: Yes. Very very significant.

Tom Smith: Alright.

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

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: Somewhere around there. Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

Clinton Quan: Yes, they do.

Tom Smith: As does India, right?

Clinton Quan: Yes, correct.

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

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

Tom Smith: Yes, big seller.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

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

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: Yeah. That was a fun one.

Tom Smith: 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 Quan: It is. That is very interesting.

Tom Smith: It is interesting.

Clinton Quan: Yeah.

Tom Smith: 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.