Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla fight over best-selling vehicle nameplate

Article by Anita Panait, on April 16, 2013

Ford and Toyota are both laying claim to the "world's best-selling vehicle nameplate" title. While Ford announced last week that its Ford Focus is the "world's best-selling vehicle nameplate" in 2012, Toyota is insisting that its Toyota Corolla was the real title-holder. Each carmaker sold over a million of their own nameplates, and they want more than just selling hordes of vehicles – they want to have the bragging rights, which only one of them could really claim.

So as to which nameplate is really the number one is the world, the answer is not that easy to determine since it depends on the definition of "nameplate," which body styles or derivatives are included, and who is keeping track of the sales figures. Erich Merkle, Ford's top sales analyst, cited Polk global new-vehicle registration data as basis for the carmaker’s claim to the title. Toyota spokesman Dion Corbett, begs to differ, saying that the Corolla is the global number one.

Ford issued a press release last week citing Polk data that said the "Ford Focus nameplate" topped the 2012 global vehicle registration figures. On Polk’s count, Ford sold around 1,020,410 Ford Focuses in 2012, boosted by gains in China and the United States. Polk’s count of the global figures for the Corolla was 872,774 in 2012.

Toyota, however, disagreed with Polk’s data, saying that it sold 1,160,764 Corollas in 2012. Polk is sticking to the figures Ford cited. Anthony Pratt, Polk vice president of forecasting, said that the difference in the totals is "related to the definition of nameplate. He said that Ford adhered to the one-name 'nameplate' definition for the Focus.

In counting the registration figures for the Corolla, the numbers excluded any rebadged vehicles, platform derivatives or nameplate versions, Pratt said. This means that Ford excluded Corollas with different body styles that carry two-word names like the Corolla Rumion.

The freshly-minted Corolla creates a swift graphic effect with a more eloquent, chiselled exterior layout that expands on the “Iconic Dynamism” theme first noticed on the Corolla Furia Concept that premiered at the North American International Auto Show. The all-new Corolla is easily recognizable by its tauter, sportier parts that ride on an elongated wheelbase (+ 3.93 inches/ +100 mm likened to current model).

With the wheels squeezed out toward the edges, compact overhangs, and more tapered front and rear expression, the all-new Corolla conveys a more dramatic compact sedan form, even at a gridlock. The all-new sedan measures 3.90 inches (99mm) lengthier overall and still portrays a denser look than the contemporary model largely due to its simple shape that narrows at the front and rear of the vehicle to help highlight the wheel arches and wheels-to-the-corner posture.

All-new Corolla presents a dramatic front fascia with keener, more noticeable details above a huge trapezoidal grille that lies below a slim intake inlet beneath the hood.

The front view of the all-new Corolla displays an extension of the design themes noticed in modern Toyota sedans such as the Camry and Avalon, and generates a smoother, more emphatic rendition of a Toyota compact sedan with its meticulously sculpted surfaces.

One of the hurdles the all-new Corolla’s archetype design concept overcame was the demand to achieve more deeply rounded edges to attain the wanted smoother appearance. The bulky structure of conventional headlamps would impede the look of deeply rounded edges.

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