Ford and Toyota wage war for world’s best selling title image

Ford said its Focus compact still ruled the global sales through the year’s first six months as sales more than doubled in China. Well, Toyota comes and disputes that as the Japanese, which includes Corolla derivatives such as the Matrix in its tally, have said their model remains the world’s top-selling vehicle.

The American automaker, citing data from researcher R.L. Polk & Co., said global Focus registrations climbed 20% in 2013’s first six months to 589,709. Focus sales in China jumped 137 % during the period to 202,380. The Focus, according to Ford, passed the Toyota Corolla, although Erich Merkle, Ford’s top sales analyst said he could not give Polk’s count for the Corolla. A Polk spokeswoman confirmed that the number provided by Ford was accurate, but declined further comment. If the Focus beats Corolla for all of 2013, it will be the second year in a row that Ford lays claim to the top spot.

But Toyota disputes Ford’s premise. The Japanese company, the world’s largest automaker, has said it actually delivered a Corolla hatchback under the Matrix name, and it sells cars that are nearly identical to the Corolla under different names in countries outside the U.S. Ford doesn’t tally Toyota’s other models in its count. A Toyota spokeswoman added that the company disagrees with Ford and is preparing a response to Ford’s claims.