The 5 Best-Selling Cars Of All Time: A Deep Dive

in Auto FAQs and News
Red Toyota Corolla

Source: Pixabay

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the automotive industry was one of the most affected markets – supply chain issues, economic uncertainties, and computer chip shortages, to name a few. However, it was not always this way, especially when there were specific car models that managed to be the best-selling cars of all time.

So which is the best selling car of all time?

That honor goes to the legendary Toyota Corolla. However, other models in history can claim the title as one of the best selling car models ever. These cars generally have been around for decades, but being available a long time ago won’t make a car a surefire best-seller. It needs to change with the times and appeal to the customer’s ever-changing needs.

Below, we round up the five best selling cars of all and what made them successful. Let’s take a look.

1. Toyota Corolla (50 Million+ units sold by 2021)

Since its debut in 1966, the legendary Toyota Corolla has been destined for greatness and has sold over 50 million units through 12 generations. Even more impressive is that the Corolla became the world’s best-selling car by 1974, a mere eight years after its introduction to the market. At some point, Corolla became the high-class premium vehicle that symbolizes success, while for some, the vehicle brings back memories of owning a car for the first time.

The Corolla is one of the most popular vehicles of all time because it’s the poster boy for Toyota’s unwavering reliability. The Corolla was the vehicle you could rely on for decades and thousands of miles to come. Even today, the Corolla remains a formidable vehicle in terms of reliability. As per RepairPal, the Corolla has a reliability rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 and is ranked 1st out of 36 compact cars.

From the build quality to safety ratings, Toyota’s beloved sedan continues to impress with its safety scores and technology. In addition, the Corolla is widely recognized in the community as a pioneer in automotive safety. Another huge factor why the Corolla keeps selling is its affordability, which is perfect for middle-class drivers who just want a daily driver.

Currently, the Corolla remains the best selling car of all time. However, with crossover sales eating huge chunks of market share for years now and the declining popularity of sedans, it might be a matter of time before the Corolla is dethroned. 


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2. Ford F Series (43 Million+ units sold)

The Ford F Series is America’s best selling vehicle, so it’s no wonder it’s also one of the best selling vehicles of all time. Introduced in 1948, the F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States and remains super popular up to this day. Over the years, there have been many different variants of the Ford F-150, but underneath it all, Ford’s pickup truck’s lightweight and robust nature shines through. It’s no wonder it’s the best-selling truck for the 46th consecutive year and an overall best-seller for the 41st. 

One of the best things about the F-150 pickup truck is its ruggedness. According to Ford’s spokespeople, more F Series trucks are still on the road with 250,000 miles or more than any other brand. That’s hardly surprising when F-150s are tested for millions of miles before being brought to the market.

In addition, the F-150 has ingratiated itself with American drivers with its excellent fuel economy. Ford’s engineering team has always worked hard to improve their truck’s fuel economy, mainly by shaving its weight and introducing the new 3.5-liter turbocharged EcoBoost engine.

3. Volkswagen Golf (35.5 Million+ units sold)

Volkswagen is an iconic brand that made some of the most popular cars ever sold, including the Beetle and the venerable Golf. While it’s not as popular in the United States, the Volkswagen Golf is the best-selling car in Europe, selling a staggering 205,408 units in 2021. The VW Golf has held the top spot since 2008, showing no signs of slowing down. Well, not exactly, because in 2022, the Golf was dethroned by the Peugeot 208 as Europe’s best-selling car.


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There are many reasons why the Golf is so popular and appealing. For starters, it’s truly a car for the people. As the king of hot hatches, the Golf offers the perfect mix of fun, practicality, and price. It’s primarily used as an affordable daily driver, but it never feels like you’re driving a penalty box.

4. Volkswagen Passat (30 Million+ units sold)

The Volkswagen Passat has been dubbed the Most Successful Midsize Car in the World and has now sold over 30 million units since its debut in 1973. Plus, it’s sold in every continent in the world in over 100 markets, beating even the likes of the Honda Civic and Toyota Camry. So what makes the VW Passat so popular?

Besides the refined European design and distinguished German engineering, the Passat impresses with its efficient powertrain options with respectable power. Moreover, it delivers a smooth and effortless driving experience, which more than meets many people’s needs. The Passat has been adequately upgraded for the American market with top-notch tech features, high safety scores, and excellent overall quality.


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5. Honda Civic (27 Million units sold)

To no one’s surprise, the legendary Honda Civic is also the best selling car of all time, with over 27 million units sold. According to Honda, the Civic is America’s best-selling retail passenger car for the sixth straight year. Due to its longtime history and popularity, it’s safe to say that most drivers have owned a Civic at one point.

What made the Civic popular is its iconic look and feel. While it’s also a car for the masses, the Civic offers enough sportiness and agile handling to make it an engaging daily driver. Furthermore, Honda Civics are known for their longevity, reliability, and value retention. It’s an excellent compact sedan with a great history and excellent specs–undoubtedly one of the best models that keep the sedan segment alive and well.

Honorable Mentions

Honda Accord (18+ million units sold)

For decades, this iconic sedan has been a staple on roads worldwide, consistently delivering top-notch performance and value for money. Positioned above the venerable Honda Civic, the Accord has sold more than 18 million units and has taken many different forms like a hatchback, coupe, and station wagon.

Its reputation for longevity means that many owners enjoy hassle-free driving for years, and its excellent reliability makes it a top choice for used car buyers. This combination of quality, aesthetics, and value has more than solidified the Accord’s position as one of the best-selling cars in automotive history.

Ford Fiesta (20+ million units sold)

The Ford Fiesta was another long-running model which provided the perfect fusion of practicality, affordability, and zestful driving. Over the years, this compact car has won the hearts of many, from city dwellers seeking nimble navigation to budget-conscious families. Its dynamic design, combined with its fuel efficiency, made it a favorite in both urban and suburban settings. 

Moreover, the Fiesta often punched above its weight class, offering advanced features and a driving experience that belied its compact stature. However, even with its impressive sales record and global recognition, it’s bittersweet to note that the Fiesta was eventually discontinued in 2023.

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