Best-selling cars of all time
Every year since the first modern automobiles were produced in the late 19th century, car manufacturers have rolled out new body designs and internal technologies. Most fall out of favor nearly as quickly as they were conceived.
But some car manufacturers hit on so timeless a design, strike so critical a trend in consumer preference, build a sales network so fast, or manage to evolve so deftly with a vehicle model that it remains popular with consumers for years. These models become all-time best sellers.
In early 2012, business news site 24/7 Wall St. culled resources from industry analysts and compiled a list of the world's 10 best-selling cars of all-time. Newsday has reproduced that top-10 list and supplemented it with 11 more cars that have reached the 10 million-sold mark, according to press releases from their makers. These additions appear in alphabetical order after 24WallSt.com's formal list.
Newsday also added the number of models sold in the U.S. in 2012 through October from industry data compiled by GoodCarBadCar.net.
10. Chevy Impala
Consumers around the world have scooped up some 14 million Impalas since the model was first introduced in 1958. In the ensuing 54 years, 10 generations of the mid-priced coupe and sedan have been launched. The 2013 model starts at $25,860 and gets 30 miles to the gallon on highways.
148,547 Impalas were purchased in the U.S. through the first 10 months of 2012.
Picture: 1958 Bel Air Impala Sport Coupe
9. Volkswagen Passat
First launched in 1973, the Passat can thank China for its lofty 15.5 million sales figure. Volkswagen has pushed to make it more attractive to U.S. buyers, according to 24/7 Wall St., and may have succeeded in 2013: Motor Trend ranked the 2013 edition, which starts at $20,845 and gets 32 miles to the gallon during highway driving, first in a midsize sedan comparison.
U.S. consumers have bought 92,017 Passats in the first 10 months of 2012.
Picture: 2013 Passat
8. Ford Model T
In its 19 years of existence between 1908 and 1927 the Model T was bought 16.5 million times, as it revolutionized not only the car industry, but also American manufacturing as a whole.
Picture: 1908 Model T
7. Honda Accord
Honda has sold 17.5 million Accords since it first introduced the low-priced car, in 1976, as a larger alternative to the Civic, which launched four years beforehand. In 1981 it became one of the first Japanese cars to be built in America. The 2013 Accord sedan starts at $21,680 and gets 36 highway miles to the gallon.
In 2012, through October, Honda has sold 276,196 Accords in the U.S.
Picture: 1976 Honda Accord
6. Honda Civic
Prior to the launch of the Civic in 1972, Honda was known mostly as a motorcycle company. Its first car would soon become its best-selling -- with more than 18.5 million sold worldwide -- thanks to its low price and high fuel efficiency. The 2012 Civic (the 2013 model-year has yet to hit the market) gets 39 highway miles to the gallon and starts at $15,755.
Through the first 10 months of 2012, U.S. drivers purchased 254,716 Honda Civics.
Picture: 2013 Honda Civic
5. Ford Escort
The American car manufacturer launched the Escort in England in 1967 in an effort to upstage small European cars and offer similar fuel efficiency. It worked. Twenty million of them were sold across six generations of the Escort before Ford replaced it with the Focus in 2000. Today, the 2013 Focus starts at $16,200 and gets 38 miles to the gallon during highway driving.
Picture: 1968 Ford Escort
4. Volkswagen Beetle
The second of three Volkswagen entrants on the list, the Beetle was the German car manufacturer's first product in 1933 and has changed only minimally over the ensuing eight decades. It's been reintroduced several times in the U.S. and 24/7 Wall St. speculates that a more focused marketing campaign in America could have boosted sales beyond the 23.5 million recorded through 2011. The 2013 model starts at $19,795 and gets 31 miles to the gallon on the highway.
In 2012, 24,005 Volkswagen Beetles were sold in America through October.
Picture: 1965 Volkswagen Beetle
3. Volkswagen Golf
The "People's Car" company's all-time best-selling car is also its least expensive one, both at the time of purchase and in maintenance for years to come. Like most Volkswagen models, it has depended on the international market for the bulk of its 27.5 million sales since first appearing in 1974. The 2013 model starts at $17,995 and gets 33 highway miles to the gallon.
The weak U.S. sales trend continued through the first 10 months of 2012, when just 35,322 Golfs were sold in the country.
Picture: 1974 Golf (left) and 2006 Golf (right)
2. Ford F-Series
The lone truck on the list belongs to America's first car manufacturer, which has sold 35 million of its F-Series since launching it in 1948. Though competition has increased from Ford's U.S.-based rivals, 24/7WallSt.com credits the wide-range of models and options that encompass the F-Series for keeping it atop the list. The 2013 models start at $23,670 for the F-150, which gets 23 miles to the gallon on highways.
Through October, 520,230 F-Series were sold in the U.S. in 2012.
Picture: 1948 Ford F-Series
1. Toyota Corolla
Toyota has sold 37.5 million Corollas in the 45 years since it was first introduced in 1966. Though it has endured 10 generations over the years, three things have remained constant: its small size, fuel efficiency and durability. Toyota claims that four out of five Corollas sold in the last two decades is still on the road. The 2013 edition starts at $16,320 and gets 34 miles per gallon in highway driving.
In 2012, through October, 243,652 Corollas have been sold in the U.S.
Picture: 1966 Toyota Corolla (2006)
BMW 3 Series
The 3 series was first introduced in 1975 and remains in production to this day. BMW has said it is the company's best-selling product of all-time and it is considered among the best-selling luxury vehicles ever. Global sales reached the 10 million mark in the mid-2000s, and the torrid pace continues. BMW reported record sales of the 3 Series in the U.S. in 2011.
BMW has sold 78,081 3 Series cars in the U.S. in 2012's first 10 months.
Picture: BMW 3 Series (2nd Generation) in front of the BMW Museum
In commemoration of its 30th year of production, in 2006, Ford said that it had sold 12 million Fiestas to that date. As the compact car becomes ever more popular in the wake of rising gas prices, no doubt sales have remained high for the car.
47,475 Fiestas were sold in the U.S. in the first 10 months of 2012
Picture: The first generation Fiesta built in 1976 (left) and a 2010-model Fiesta in front of Cologne's Cathedral in Germany.
In its first 12 years of production alone, the Ford Focus had sold more than 9.5 million vehicles, according to its maker. In the first half of 2012, the Focus was the world's best-selling vehicle, topping the Toyota Corolla in that time-frame by recording 489,616 sales.
In 2012, through October, U.S. consumers purchased 205,006 Focuses.
Picture: 1998 Ford Focus
Introduced at the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, the Ford Mustang ushered in a classic era of American sports cars. In 2008, Ford said it had sold its 9 millionth Mustang.
For has sold 72,149 Mustangs in the U.S. in the first 10 months of 2012
Picture: The original Ford Mustang (right) stands beside the 2005 40th Anniversary edition at the site of the World's Fair where it debuted.
Russian auto manufacturer AvtoVAZ began producing the Lada Riva in 1980 and, thanks in part to lofty sales figures in Africa and South America, it became one of the best-selling platforms of all time. Production of the car -- which was known by several names throughout the world, including the Lada Signet, the Lada Nova, the Lada Classic, the Semyorka and the Lada 2107 -- ceased in 1997 in all markets excepting Egypt and Russia, where production of the Riva finally came to a halt in 2012. Various reports have pegged sales at more than 13.5 million units around the world.
Picture: Lada Signet 1400GL
Mazda manufactured variations of the Familia, which included the Protege and 323 models, for 40 years between 1963 and 2003. Through 1998, at least 10 million units were produced in Japan alone. In 2004, the line was phased out for the Mazda3.
Picture: Second generation Mazda Familia (1968-1973)
Known by many names around the world, the Nissan Sentra was introduced as the Sunny in Japan in 1966 but has also been called the Pulsa and the Almera in various locales. A recent Nissan press release indicated that more than 15.9 million units of the car had been sold around the world.
In 2012, Nissan has sold 91,464 Sentras in the U.S. through October.
Picture: 1966 Sunny 1000
For the 38 years after it was first produced in 1961 the Cutlass reigned as the Oldsmobile brand's best-selling model. Before production ceased in mid-1999 more than 11.9 million of them had been built, according to General Motors. (2011)
German car manufacturer Opel introduced the Astra model in 1991, and has sold it virtually everywhere in the world except North America (in the United Kingdom the car is known as the Vauxhall Astra). Through an alliance with General Motors, the Astra model is now sold under the Chevrolet brand in parts of the world. No matter the branding, the model is undeniably one of the best-sellers of all time: by 2008, more than 9.8 million were sold internationally.
Picture: 1991 Opel Astra family of vehicles
Like the Astra, the Corsa model has been sold under various brands by Opel -- only its been bought even more regularly than the Astra has in its nine extra years of existence. Through 2007, the model's 25th anniversary, 18 million were Corsas were sold worldwide.
Picture: 1982 Opel Corsa Spider
Toyota's compact pick-up truck was introduced in 1968 as the Hilux. Though the name is still in use in much of the world, Toyota rebranded the line in North America in 1976 as the Toyota Compact Pickup. It was rebranded again in 1974 as the Toyota Tacoma. Several estimates have pegged sales of the truck at more than 12 million worldwide.
In the U.S., 126,063 Tacomas were bought in 2012 through October.
Picture: 1974 Toyota Hilux