Ford Focus Named Best-Selling Vehicle in 2012

According to a new report by R.L. Polk, Ford Motor Company had three of the top-six best-selling passenger vehicles in the world in 20012.

The Ford Focus compact model topped the list, with 1.02 million sales worldwide. Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said nearly 246,000 units were sold in the U.S. market, up 40 percent from the previous year.

China accounted for about 25 percent of Focus sales in 2012, up 51 percent from 2011. Ford CMO Jim Farley said the Focus, including the more-affordable “classic” model, was the best-selling passenger vehicle in China last year. He also said, “With additional manufacturing capacity added last year, we now have a tremendous opportunity to further strengthen our global small-car sales in 2013.”

The Toyota Corolla was a distant second behind the Focus, with sales of 872,774 units worldwide. The Ford F-Series pickup truck came in in third position, with sales of 785,630 units. The vast majority of those sales – 645,316 units – came from the U.S. market.  Ford’s compact Fiesta model was the sixth best-selling vehicle in 2012, and was the best-selling subcompact model last year.

According to Farley, “Focus and Fiesta represent the culmination of our One Ford global product strategy.” The brainchild of CEO Alan Mulally, the One Ford strategy allows it to produce and sell the same vehicles in every market it serves, and reduces production costs.  The approach is being duplicated by other automakers worldwide according to WardsAuto analyst Haig Stoddard. “As companies build more vehicles locally, around the world, they are using a global name. Even in countries like China they are not changing model names as much,” says Stoddard.

IHS Consulting’s managing director Michael Robinet says this single name approach to design, production and marketing is especially helpful in emerging markets.  “With the impact of the Internet and name awareness,” says Robinet, “there are definitely economies of scale and the ability to build brand equity around the world. When you pick a name that is universally accepted, like Focus or Corolla or Fiesta or Beetle, it reduces marketing costs.”

With the exception of the Australian market, General Motors Company has taken the single name approach with the Chevrolet Cruze, and Chrysler Group LLC has followed suit in marketing its revived Jeep Cherokee.

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