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The 5 most popular cars of all time (and they're all still in production)

Not all cars are created equal.

Image: Toyota Media

CARL BENZ APPLIED for a patent for his “vehicle powered by a gas engine” back in 1886, and is credited with creating the first automobile.

In the 131 years since then, the motor industry has produced billions of machines – it is estimated that more than 1 billion passenger cars travel the roads of the world today – in thousands of different models.

Some of those models, however, have been more successful than others.

Let’s take a look at the top five best selling cars of all time:

5. Volkswagen Passat (1973-present, 23 million sold)

Source: Volkswagen Media

The Passat has been a massive success story for Volkswagen, with over 23 million units sold so far. It was launched in 1973; however it wasn’t until Ferdinand Piech, who moved from Audi to VW in 1993, got his hands on the fourth-gen Passat that sales begin to soar.

This version of the Passat was lavishly engineered and had Audi underpinnings and refinement (it was based on the A4). As a result Volkswagen was seen as being more ‘upmarket’ and desirable, which helped drive sales of the car – as too did its pretty decent price.

4. Honda Civic (1972-present, 24 million sold)

Source: Honda Media

Honda was actually considering pulling out of car production altogether to concentrate on its more popular motorcycle manufacturing but then, in 1972, the Civic launched and  was such a hit that it Honda changed its mind.

The car has been in production ever since and entered its tenth generation in 2016. Fun fact: the Civic has been Canada’s best-selling car for 19 straight years, 1997-2016.

3. Volkswagen Golf (1974-present, 33 million sold)

Source: Abdruck fuer Pressezwecke honorarfrei

The Golf arrived on European roads in 1974 and American highways in 1975, although it was badged the Rabbit there.

Today, over 33-million units have been sold. This works out at 2,120 Golfs being produced and sold every day for four decades. The Golf is so popular because it is really good to drive, offers good value for money and has proven to be very reliable over the decades.

2. Ford F-Series (1948-present, 40 million sold)

Source: Ford Media

The Ford F-Series of trucks is unstoppable! The F-Series has been the best selling truck in America for 40 consecutive years and America’s best selling vehicle overall for the past 35 years. (Truck yeah!).

It was first introduced in 1948 and has gone on to sell 40 million units. In the 21st century, Ford sells a pickup for every single minute of the day. The first F-Series pickup trucks were easy to fix, gained a reputation for being reliable workhorses and quickly became essential farm equipment.

1. Toyota Corolla (1966-present, 44.1 million sold)

Source: Toyota Media

Since the launch of the first-generation Corolla in 1966, more than 44 million Corollas have been sold globally. By 1974 the Corolla was already the best selling car in the world.

One of the reasons it sells so well is that it is sold in over 150 countries and regions.

In 2015, the Corolla set another record, becoming the first new vehicle ever to sell more than 1.3 million units worldwide in a calendar year. The love of the Corolla doesn’t seem to be waning either as it is the best selling car so far this year with 297,471 already sold.

The Top Ten:

  1. Toyota Corolla – 44.1 million
  2. Ford F-Series – 40 million
  3. Volkswagen Golf – 33 million
  4. Honda Civic – 24 million
  5. Volkswagen Passat – 23 million
  6. Volkswagen Beetle (first gen) – 21.5 million
  7. Vaz 2101 & Ford Escort – 20 million
  8. Ford Fiesta & Vauxhall/Opel Corsa – 18 million
  9. Ford Model T – 15 million
  10. BMW 3 Series – 14.6 million

READ: Is the Giulia the hit that Alfa Romeo so desperately needs? >

READ: No to jazz, yes to Elton John: What music does to your driving style >

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