Let’s start this list of the best-selling cars of all-time with the Top 25. Some you know and love, and some may even be a surprise to you. Just stick around for the whole thing because there is no shortage of sweet cars and trucks on this list. Heck, you might even own one! Enjoy!
Ford Mustang: Over 9 Million
The Ford Mustang debuted in 1964 and is based on the platform of the second generation Ford Falcon. Truly one of the most classic vehicles of all-time, and a great way to start off this list. One of the first and most iconic American muscle cars is still rolling off the production line today. The Mustang opened the doors for competition between the Chevy Camaro, Pontiac Firebird, AMC Javelin, Plymouth Barracuda, and the Dodge Challenger. With over 9 million sold, the Ford Mustang is not just a classic but one of the best-selling rides of all-time.
Mercedes-Benz C-Class: 10 Million
The Mercedes-Benz C-Class is a compact executive car produced by Daimler AG. It debuted in 1993 being built at the Mercedes-Benz factories in Sindelfingen and Bremen, Germany. They all aren’t as beautiful as this 2013 C63 AMG – but still, the classic C-Class Mercedes is an icon! The ‘C’ probably stands for classic. And although it is widely used in the U.S.A, it may be operated even more commonly in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The C-Class is one of the most well-known models of vehicles in the world! No surprise it’s on the list of best-sellers.
Toyota Camry: Over 10.4 Million
The Toyota Camry debuted in 1982 and has been sold globally. It originally was designed as a Compact Car, now it is a mid-size car. Dependable, long-lasting, low-maintenance – no wonder it’s been tasked to the streets of NYC as the dominant choice of car owned by cabbies. What started in 1982 as a narrow-bodied compact car and then transitioned into a mid-size car has sold over 10 million editions since then.
Volkswagen Jetta: Over 11 Million
The Volkswagen Jetta is a compact family car that has been produced since 1979. It has over six generations. The TDI version, seen here, is a part of its own racing league that draws tens of thousands of spectators annually. The Volkswagen Jetta, when dressed down, is a safe, reliable, attractive car to get you from point A to point B. The Volkswagen Jetta with all its bells and whistles is a performance machine to the fullest! The versatility of the Jetta is possibly its greatest asset and why it’s landed itself on the list of best-selling cars of all-time.
Mazda 323/Mazda Familia: Over 11 Million
The Mazda 323 or the Mazda Familia was a family car produced by Mazda from 1963 to 2003. The one shown here is probably the most beautiful in the line of Mazdas, the 1965 Mazda Familia. The line of Familia’s transitioned into the Mazda 323 in 1977, but in the United States, the vehicles were known underneath a different moniker. The “GLC” which stood for Great Little Car was the going title up until the switch to 323 as the name. However, after a decade or so, the 323 became what it is called today in America – the Mazda Protege.
Oldsmobile Cutlass: Over 11 Million
The Oldsmobile Cutlass was the trademark automobile produced by General Motors. It was produced from 1961 – 1999. The cars were assembled in Michigan at the height of Motor City’s dominance in American automobile manufacturing. The Cutlass originally began as a unibody compact car, but over time it morphed into a body-on-frame vehicle. The Cutlass was a compact car from 1961-193, so just a blip on the 35+ year timeline of the iconic ride. It’s sleek exterior, performance value and availability made the Oldsmobile Cutlass a legend in its class and one of the best selling cars ever.
Just for fun…check out this awesome image below of the predecessor to the Cutlass – the 1954 concept Cutlass.
Opel Astra: Over 11 Million
If you’ve been to Europe in the last couple of decades – odds are you saw an Opel Astra. These things are everywhere over there! The Opel Astra is a compact family car that debuted in 1991. It is one of the bigger sellers outside the US market for General Motors. It’s practicality combines with zippiness and city-friendly driving to offer an appealing package. Oh, and the fact that it’s usually been an attractive car aesthetically is a big bonus for sales, too.
Renault Clio: Over 12 Million
This super-mini hit commercial success right out of the gate and never looked back. France is loaded to the gills with these things. The Clio is a French supermini car that debuted in 1990, and it’s been among the top-sellers in the country every year since. It is one of three cars to be voted European Car of the Year twice, in 1991 and 2006. It’s functionality stood out from the first time it was driven by critics. Everything inside the vehicle makes sense, it drives sturdy with an excess of maneuverability. It’s simply a quality-made product and that’s why it’s been on the best-selling cars list since day one.
Volkswagen Polo: Over 12 Million
Back-to-back Supermini’s! The Volkswagen Polo – a Supermini B (larger than A-class Supermini’s) – debuted in 1975 in Europe. It has six generations and won 2010 World Car of the Year. The Polo comes in either a sedan, hatchback or estate version and surprisingly you can find a large amount of those 12 million Polos in Japan. See, of all Volkswagens imports, only the Polo and the Golf complied with Japanese Government dimension regulations (until 1997). Bit its widespread acceptance both domestically and internationally makes it one of the best selling cars of all time.
Chrysler Town & Country: Over 12 Million
Boy, they sure don’t make ’em like they used to…especially not in the Town & Country’s case. In 1988, The Chrysler Town and Country wagon ceased to exist and in 1989 the Chrysler Town & Country minivan was born. The T&C is a luxury minivan that was produced from 1989 to 2016. The 12 million statistic stands just for the minivan, but there were a hefty number of wagons (we figure’d you would rather see one of the classics over the minivan!) produced before the soccer-mom car came along. Nonetheless, the quality of both models made the Town & Country a household name and earned a spot on the list of best-selling cars ever.
Ford Focus: Over 13 Million
The Ford Focus released in 1998 and was designed by Ford of Europe’s German and British teams. It was originally designed for only the European markets. However, immediate success and critics’ reviews forced the issue to expand it to North American markets where it debuted in North America in 1999. The compact car is something of a history-maker. As a part of the Ford Model 2000 series, it was the car with which manufacturers’ aimed to globalize model development and sell one compact vehicle worldwide.
Opel Corsa: Over 13 Million
The Opel Corsa debuted in 1982 and was built in Spain and Germany. The one you see here is a concept from the 1984 models, the Corsa-Sprint model. Although it received massive success from customers in Europe, the Corsa has never been sold in the United States or Canada. The sporty, yet the practical commuter car is a long-time competitor with the VW Golf and Ford Focus – and even with such stiff competition, it’s still among the top-selling cars of all time.
BMW 3 Series: Over 14 Million
Probably one of the most universally recognizable rides on the list. The BMW 3 Series is a luxury car that debuted in May 1975, and it is BMW’s best-selling model. One large reason for that is that it’s the most accessible of all the BMW’s – but that doesn’t mean it isn’t attractive Just look at it. The reason it is so high on the list is that it is such a snazzy-looking car, from a reputable brand at a fair price. It accounts for close to 30% of BMW’s annual total sales and will be on the list of best-selling cars for years and years to come.
Chevrolet Impala: 14 million
Debuting in the same year that Alaska became a state and Sputnik 1 came back to Earth, the Chevrolet Impala’s longevity and breadth of sales is a tribute to the car’s versatility and a knack for reinvention. First intended to be a large, mid-range vehicle with all the hallmarks of 1950s automotive styling, the Impala has continued to grow and change with the times. Contemporary models are more compact with sleeker lines and a sense of design borne of a post-modern age. With 10 generations of Impalas having been made since the model’s launch, we’re certain that some version of this car will carry our grandkids into the 22nd century.
Ford Fiesta: Over 16 Million
The Ford Fiesta first debuted in 1976 being manufactured globally in Europe, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, China, India, Thailand, and South Africa. So given its immense popularity on an international scale, it’s no wonder it’s highly ranked on the best selling cars list of all time. That being said, its success in the United States has been limited; mostly due to segmented periods of production in the states. From 1977 to 1980 and from 2010 to current are the two time frames where the Fiesta was made in the USA.
Volkswagen Passat: 15.5 million
Another product of the 1970s, the Volkswagen Passat has been a comforting presence on used-car lots since 1973. One of Volkswagen’s first attempts at a large family car for the international market, the Passat rapidly rose in popularity even during the competitive sales days of the US gas crisis. Known by many names around the world—we’re particularly fond of the “Volkswagen Mangotan”, which sounds either like a tropical fruit or a Transformers villain—the Passat is slowly gaining in status. The Passat is set to remain one of the bestselling cars the world has ever seen.
Ford Model T: 16.5 million
First introduced in 1908, the Ford Model T rapidly blew away the competition. Ford’s concept of assembly line production, efficient material usage, and well-payed labor meant that the Model T was both well made and affordable while offering performance and reliability beyond its contemporaries. Between 1908 and the end of production in 1927, so many were sold that at one point 8 out of 10 automobiles in the US were Ford Model Ts. The original, and still the best, the ancestral family car has a well-deserved ranking here.
Honda Accord: 17.5 million
The younger sibling of the Honda Civic, the Accord is another car that has appeared in many forms over the years—two-door, four-door, station wagons, SUVs, and often-rumored-but-never-seen hatchback edition. Despite its chameleon-like approach to styling, the core of the machine remained the same: a relatively affordable, high-quality vehicle with at least a bit of style and grace built-in. This may be especially true for later models, but you can watch the evolution over the six or seven generations of Accords that still dot the roadways of the world. From its native Japan, the Accord has taken on a global prominence rarely exceeded.
Ford Escort: 18 million
Debuting in 1968, the Ford Escort advanced quickly, becoming one of the bestselling cars in the world long before its final factory run in 2000. A small family car, the Escort was intended to re-launch Ford’s presence in that market after the disaster that was the Pinto. And re-launch it did. During its second year in the market, the Escort rose to be the best-selling car in the United States, a title it held consistently until the late 1990s. Perhaps impossible, it enjoyed even bigger success in Europe, challenging even the vaunted Volkswagen Rabbit for a place on the top of the charts. They may no longer be in production, but we’re willing to be if you look around some version of the Escort is still on the roads near you.
Honda Civic: 18.5 million
The Civic. The Honda Civic. You knew this one was coming—for younger readers this was likely your first car or the first car for a large number of your friends in high school. With damn good reason, too—the Civic is an affordable and reliable machine that holds on to its quality and value well on the used-car market. This is the perfect choice for a newly-minted teenage driver: reliable enough to get them where they need to go, fuel-efficient enough to make it worthwhile, and lacking in any real horsepower so as to avoid any problems. From 1973 to the present, 7 out of ten parents agree.
Vaz 2101: Over 19 Million
The VAZ-2101 was a compact sedan – available in either 4-door sedan or 5-door estate version – produced in Tolyatti, Soviet Union. This car was produced from 1970-1988 and sold like wildfire from the get-go. It was compact, quick, sturdy and stylish and the people loved it. You can see a similarity to the Fiat 124 – which is what the “Kopeyka” was built off of. It’s a modified and license-built version of the Fiat 124. It’s massive celebrity-led it to earn its high rank on the best selling cars list.
Volkswagen Beetle: 21.5 million
With typical German attention to detail, we’ve got a very precise number on this one—which raises the question of who ended up with #21,529,464. Does that person know that they own a small piece of history—the very last classic Bug ever made? The mind boggles. Regardless, the Beetle was introduced in 1938 with the goal of creating a simple, affordable, and economical family car, and it succeeded in spades. Omnipresent on highways around the world to this day, it’s no surprise that this was the first vehicle to achieve 20 million units sold.
Volkswagen Golf: 27.5 million
First introduced in 1974, the Volkswagen Golf is an icon of its era: small, compact, fuel-efficient vehicles with enough space to (theoretically) move a family around in comfort. The first generation was three-door hatchbacks with a notoriously uninspired body style; from there, the Golf has evolved into sportier-looking four-door versions and developed a greater sense of presence and cool in its appearance. Taken all together, there’s a reason why the Golf ranks so highly on a list of the bestselling cars of all time.
Ford F-Series Pickup Trucks: 35 million
The Ford F-series may be the most popular line of pickup trucks in the United States. This at least in part due to pedigree—with a host of models and styles going back to 1948, the F-series in its many forms has been the best selling pickup truck every month for years. So whether it’s a medium-duty truck in your neighbor’s driveway or a heavy-duty beast of burden moving men and materials to a construction site near you, this magnificent line of working machines will be a hit for a long time to come.
Toyota Corolla: 40,000,000
The Toyota Corolla sits alone atop the automotive world as one of the best selling cars of all time, with a few caveats. First introduced in 1966 and in production nearly continuously until the present, the Corolla has undergone many changes over the years, with new models being introduced periodically under the same model name. So . . . does that count? It all depends on your point of view, to paraphrase the Jedi master, and we think that question is best left to the reader. But regardless of where you come down on the issue, the venerable Corolla is certainly due to a place on this list.
The best of the rest! What you’ve seen thus far are the overall best-sellers. But now, we’re going to get specific. The following cars are broken down into categories like best seller by country, best seller by model type, as well as some top sellers you’re more familiar with that didn’t make the Top 25; and so on and so forth. You’re going to see some cars you may have never even heard of, so get excited!
Buick LeSabre: Over 6 Million
If you’ve seen a Buick LeSabre in the last 20 years – it’s hard to imagine that this is what it used to be. Look at it, it’s beautiful! The Buick LeSabre was a full-sized vehicle produced by General Motors starting all the way back in 1959. It was produced initially as a full-size car and has stayed in that class throughout its lifetime, when production halted in 2005. For the first two years of its existence – it was powered by a 364 cubic-inch V8. In its last iteration – 2005 – the LeSabre was powered by the standard 3.8 L Series II Buick 3800 V6. It’s consistent quality, and early momentum propelled this ride into the top list of best sellers.
Rotary-Engine Car: Mazda RX-7, 811,634
You’ve seen a Mazda RX-7 or two in your life, as have we all. Did you ever think about the nearly-unique engine running under that hood? No, you didn’t. You only think about yourself. The fact is that the Mazda RX-7 makes use of a rotating engine rather than a conventional piston engine. Rotary engines—more commonly found on aircraft—have a pistonless designer n which a central drum rotates, generating usable power. Here we see the only commercially successful automotive version, so not only is this the best-selling car in its class, it’s a unique step in engineering and design.
Van: Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter, 12,000,000
Ok, we know that vans are less than romantic, but hear us out on this one. The Volkswagen Type 2 is the best-selling van nameplate of all time, continuously in production from 1950 to the present. That’s the longest production run of any van ever, and the second longest for Volkswagen as a company—it is eclipsed only by the equally iconic Beetle.
And this van is iconic. This is the flower-powered vehicle of the 1960s youth revolution. This is Woodstock and Altamont and Purple Haze and tie-dye and . . . wow, we just got really nostalgic. Time to put on some music and, um, relax a little.
Full-Size Luxury Car: Cadillac De Ville, 3,870,000
We’re a little surprised that we didn’t see Cadillac on this list a bit sooner, but we’re not surprised at all that the Cadillac De Ville was the one to land it here. First appearing in 1959, the De Ville was a mainstay of the Cadillac brand until it ceased production in 2005. Available in both sedan and luxury coup configurations, the De Ville’s many incarnations have always been synonymous with quality, luxury, and a taste for the good life both on and off the road.
Single-Cylinder Car: Iso Isetta, 161,728
While no-cylinder cars are cool and sporty, we should spare a thought for the less romantic but still kind of interesting single-cylinder vehicles. These are often microcars, with an emphasis on compact design and economy rather than such paltry concerns as “comfort” or “performance”. And while the Isetta has neither of those, it does feature a unique single-cylinder design that gets a fair amount of horsepower out of a very small engine, and that’s worth a mention, right? It’s also the class best-seller, which is cool in its own way. So crack a smile when and if you see one of these little things on the road.
Sports Car: Nissan Z-cars, 1,535,000
Nissan’s first entry into the international sports car market, the Z-series of cars debuted in 1969 and has had a special place in our hearts since then. With five generations and over 1.5 million cars having been produced, this line of vehicles is almost unique in that they appear both on the road and on the track. Nissan produces both racing and street-legal versions, all of which have fans in some of the highest places available. So whether you’re at the 24 Hours of Daytona or just cruising around town, the Z-series is the sports car you’re most likely to encounter.
India: Hindustan Ambassador, 4,000,000
India’s an up and coming international power, with a roaring tech sector and a rapidly expanding military role in the region. But within all of that its automotive manufacturing tends to get overlooked. And that’s a shame, because from 1958 onward the Hindustan Ambassador was the car to have on the subcontinent. Based on the UK’s Oxford Morris III series of cars, the Indian version learned a lot from its former colonial patron in terms of quality, attention to detail, and building a legacy. The Ambassador is king of the road in India, with the sales numbers to prove it.
Renault 5: Over 8 Million
The Renault 5 was a French supermini car from 1972 to 1996. This car was sold in the US as “Le Car”. The Renault 5 – in Europe, at least – was known for its two distinct phases of production. It started in 1972 as the original supermini sometimes called the “R5” and when that production phase ended in 1985, the “Super 5” picked up and ran until 1996; when all production finished for the final time. The “Super 5” was a racing Onversion and it is what is shown in the photo above. This zippy European beauty is one of the more attractive foreign options on the list of best selling cars.
Ford Taurus: Over 6 Million
One of the most common cars on American streets, the Ford Taurus debuted in 1985 and is now in its 6th generation. It originally debuted as a mid-size car, but now it is a Full-Size car. An interesting trivia fact is that in 2007, all Ford Taurus’ produced for designed for fleet purchases only. Basically private, bulk buyers were the only ones with access the the ’07 versions. This is the only year since 1985 that people weren’t gobbling up the long-lasting, practical, accessible Taurus.
BMW Mini: Over 6 Million
The Mini debuted in 1959 and is the trademark car for British Cars. BMW bought the rights to the Mini in 1994 when it acquired the Rover Group formerly known as British Leyland. SO the now-dubbed BMW Mini is available in a bevy of option, including the: Hardtop/Hatch/Convertible (three-door hatchback), Clubman (estate), Countryman (five-door crossover), Coupe/Roadster and Paceman (three-door crossover based on the Countryman). The Mini very well may be the most recognizable car on the list – it’s a legend!
Chevrolet Cavalier: Over 6 Million
The Chevrolet Cavalier was produced from 1982 to 2005, with exception of the Chinese version. The Cavalier is currently is only produced by Shanghai GM in China. The highest-selling year of all time was the 1984 model. This J-body compact car sold 58,000 versions it’s initial year, 450,000+ in 1984, and then 300,000+ for seven years after that. It’s one of the consistently highest-selling cars of all-time!
Peugeot 206 – Over 9 million
A legend in car-making, the 206 is the highest-selling version of any model made by Peugeot. The Peugeot 206 is a French supermini car that debuted in 1998. Interestingly enough, it is currently only being produced in Iran. It was officially launched in hatchback form in 1998, which was followed by a coupé cabriolet in 2000, a station wagon in 2001, and a sedan version in 2005. The Puegot 206 has been produced in China, UK, Indonesia, Chile, Brazil, Argentina and Iran. No wonder it’s one of the best sellers of all-time.
Fiat Uno: Over 9 Million
The Fiat Uno is a supermini car that was produced from 1983 to 2003 in Italy, South America, Phillipines, Morocco, Poland, Pakistan and Yugoslavia; just to name a few. It’s available in the 3-door hatchback, a 5-door hatchback and a 3-door panel van. UK sales began in 1983 with more than 20,000 being sold in its first full year. It’s highest year of sales clocked more than 40,000 in 1988, making it one of the UK’s most popular imported cars during the 1980s.
Renault 4: Over 8 Million
The Renault 4 was a French hatchback economy car made from 1961 to 1992. It is regarded as the first mass production hatchback car, a unique claim to fame. It eventually expanded to include a 2-door pickup truck, a 2-door van, and a 5-door hatchback and was available in a 3-speed and 4-speed transmission. The economically smart, safe and long-lasting car also has a fun side. Multiple variations designed for rally car racing saw the track, and even the podium in the mid-1980’s.
Fiat Punto: Over 6 Million
Also referred to as the Fiat Grande Punto or the Fiat Punto Evo, the The Fiat Punto was a supermini car produced from 1993 to 2014 with 3 different generations, and over 6 million sold. Across the three generations, this is how they fared in terms of total cars sold: first generation Punto sold 3,429 million units, the second generation sold 2,96 million units, and the third generation sold 2,67 million units. This subcompact (class B) front-wheel drive car is among the best sellers in the world.
All-Electric Car: Nissan Leaf, 240,000
The Leaf was Nissan’s foray into the world of environmentally responsible automotive engineering, and this compact five-door hatchback hit the mark several times over. Able to travel well over 100 miles on full charge, the Leaf is an affordable family car for those who’d like to make green living a priority. As the best-selling all-electric automobile of all time, the Leaf may mark the next stage in the evolution of driving.
Hybrid Electric Vehicle: Toyota Prius, 3,600,000
The iconic hybrid car, the Toyota Prius is a landmark car in its own right. Made in both sedan and hatchback versions, the Prius is sold in over 90 markets around the world, with the US and Japan leading the way in sales. The innovative technology is matched only by performance and drivability, making the Prius the leading choice for the eco-conscious among us. We’re told that Prius fans tend to be pretty diehard in their love for the car, and with good reason.
Racing Car: Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, 1,400
Not the biggest all-time sales numbers on this list, but the Porsche 911 Turbo in any of its forms has nothing to prove to us. Named after the FIA’s Group GT3 class, this high-performance variation on the 911 Turbo is purpose-built for track duty and has the record to prove it, outperforming any other factory car among its competition with wins around the globe: seven-time winner of the American Le Mans Series, first overall in the 24 Hours of Daytona, and six times the first overall at the 24 Hours Nürburgring. German engineering taken to the next level, these 911 Turbos are a class of their own.
Convertible Sporter: Mazda MX-5, 940,000
Two seats and the top down is a recipe for a really great ride, whether it be to the beach or across the nation. Verified by no less prestigious an entity than the Guinness Book of World Records as the best-selling two seater convertible, the Mazda MX-5 also offers best-in-class performance, with limitations on the engine only set by local laws and safety standards. This means that the MX-5 in its various generations and iterations is a very popular car among street racers. Taking a look at that body design, it’s easy to see the appeal without even looking under the hood.
People’s Republic of China: Volkswagen Santana, 1,670,000 produced and sold domestically.
Yep, China’s best-selling nationally made vehicle is a Volkswagen. Confused yet? We were too until some very smart folks explained that due to China’s unique approach to attracting international investment, which lead to a lot of manufacturing locating itself within China. Volkswagen was a leading adopter of this practice, moving to China with the intent of producing a car for that national market that was compact, efficient, and affordable. Volkswagen’s values played well with Chinese dreams, and the Santana was the result.
Poland: 126p, 3,318,674
Poland isn’t famous for its engineering, but it should be. From the discoveries of Marie Curie (look her up) to the Polish army’s innovations during the Second World War, there’s a lot for this often-ridiculed nation to be proud of.
That having been said: the 126p probably isn’t a huge point of national pride. A variation of the Fiat 126 produced in Polish factories, the Communist-era design is less than inspired and the performance is underwhelming. Nevertheless, it’s one of those iconic pieces of automotive history, and one that can give many a Pole nostalgic feelings about their youth.
Malaysia: the Perodua Myvi, 77, 657 since 2005
Malaysia. Most of us know very little about it—few of us can name anything manufactured there. Nevertheless, they do have a car company—Perodua—and they do have the best selling car in the Myvi. Based on a Daihatsu design—remember Daihatsu?–and built with Japanese-purchased machining, the Myvi is a hatchback supermini with pretty decent performance and a lot of very nice user-friendly features. While we’re not likely to see them here, the Myvi seems a decent little car and we wouldn’t mind taking one for a spin next time we’re in Kuala Lumpur.
Ukraine: ZAZ Zapororzhets, 3,422,444
Ukraine hasn’t had the best of it over the last few years, with a Russian invasion and a economic downturn resulting from it. However, they do still produce cars, and the ZAZ Zapororzhets is their bestselling ride to date.
Another product of the Soviet era, the ZAZ Zaporozhets is a rear-wheel drive supermini with a surprisingly advanced set of ergonomic features, including options for disabled drivers. Like so much from the Commie days, this one has faded from manufacturing history, but it can still be seen on roads around the country as a rolling symbol of another age.
Opel Vectra: Over 6 Million
The Opel Vectra was a family car that was produced from 1988 to 2008. This car ran for 20 years with 3 generations.