A 2014 Ford Focus sits for sale at Bill Brown Ford Dealership on September 6 in Livonia. Ford sold 589,709 Focus cars during the first six months of 2013, a 20 percent increase compared to the same six-month period in 2012. (Andrew Burton / Getty Images)
Who makes the world’s best-selling car? That depends on whom you ask.
Ford Motor Co. says its Focus compact is No. 1. But Toyota Motor Corp. maintains that its Corolla compact is the top-selling vehicle on the planet.
According to the latest registration data from R.L. Polk & Co. released by Ford on Wednesday, the Dearborn automaker sold 589,709 Focus cars during the first six months of 2013, a 20 percent increase compared to the same six-month period in 2012.
Ford says that sales figure is good enough to make Focus the top-selling nameplate, a title it first earned in 2012 and continued to hold through the first quarter of 2013.
But Toyota says it sold 590,760 variations of the Corolla in the first half of the year, not including derivatives like the Matrix that don’t share the Corolla’s name or body style.
A Toyota spokeswoman said Polk does not get data from all countries where the Corolla is sold.
Most of the first-half Focus sales growth came from China, where Ford sells two variations of the compact car. Ford sold more than 200,000 in China from January through June.
But Focus sales growth in the U.S. has stagnated to the point that Ford has decided to stop production of the car for one week this month and another in December.
Last year, Ford sold more than 1 million Focuses, and it is almost assured that the automaker will exceed 2012’s total this year.
Polk said Wednesday it has a new policy that prevents automakers from releasing data that is specific to competing automakers; previously, Ford had released a top 10 list of global vehicle sales.
“The Polk data reported by Ford earlier this week is accurate based on the single nameplate ‘Ford Focus,’” said Anthony Pratt, a vice president of forecasting at Polk, in an email.
“Polk does not report on or track global sales data so does not comment on (automaker) sales claims.”