Toyota Says the Corolla Was 2012 Global Sales Leader, Not the Ford Focus image

Toyota contradicts Ford’s opinion that the Focus was the best-selling car in 2012, saying that in fact it was Corolla which retained the global sales lead.

Yesterday, Ford announced its Focus was the best-selling vehicle last year with 1.02 million units sold, citing data published by R.L. Polk & Co, surpassing the 872,774 Corolla vehicles sold by Toyota.

“Toyota sold 1.16 million Corolla nameplate vehicles globally in 2012,” Mike Michels, the carmaker’s U.S. vice president of communications, said late yesterday in an e-mailed statement. “Corolla registrations attributed to Polk come up short by nearly 300,000 units. This discrepancy is glaring and we have requested clarification.”

Ford and GM struggled to revamp their US vehicle line-up in an effort to surpass Toyota and Honda in a segment dominated by them for decades. The Ford Fusion mid-size sedan, which was redesigned in 2012, continues to gain ground on the Toyota Camry, which is the best-selling US car for the past 11 years. During the first quarter the Camry led the Fusion with almost 100,000 units.

The difference between the numbers reported by Toyota and those posted by Polk might be the fact that the Japanese automaker has taken into consideration sales of the Corolla Axio and Corolla Altis models.