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Comparing the Top 10 sellers in the China, Europe and U.S

24 January 2011

Comparing the Top 10 sellers in the China, Europe and U.S

Some analysts supposed that North Americans soon will be buying the same kinds of cars and crossovers popular in Europe. That may be true in the near future. But for now, the Top 10 best sellers in the U.S. are significantly different from the Top 10 in China, the single largest automotive market, and in Europe, which collectively is still larger than China.

As an individual country, China passed the United States some six or seven years earlier than expected, when our market plummeted in the thick of the 2009 Great Recession. China has remained ahead since. For year-to-date 2010 numbers through October, there were 11.1 million cars sold in China, up 35.5 percent. U.S. sales through October totalled 9.6 million, up 11 percent, while Europe's automotive market continued to suffer stagnation. Sales in 27 countries there totalled 11.6 million through October, off 4.6 percent compared to the first 10 months of 2009.

Here is a picture of the Top 10 in each market year-to-date through October 2010.

China

  1. BYD F3, $217 300 - Build Your Dreams' in order four-door borrows much of its styling from Toyota's Corolla.
  2. Shanghai Volkswagen Lavida, $201 500 - China-only model is derived from a MkIV Jetta floorpan, with a stretched wheelbase
  3. Beijing Hyundai Elantra Yuedong, $191 800 - A mildly restyled variant of the outgoing 2006-2010 Elantra four-door sedan.
  4. FAW VW Jetta, $191 800 - VW partner FAW still builds the second-gen Jetta - facelifted three times.
  5. Shanghai Buick Excelle, $186 200 - Was named Most Attractive New Car during its global premiere at November’s Guangzhou International Auto Show
  6. Shanghai VW Santana, $167 200 - Based on the early '90s Passat, it has long been a taxi fleet staple. A decade ago it was China's most popular car.
  7. Tianjin FAW Xiali, $155 500 - It’s not clear which model leads sales, but several are based on Toyotas and Daihatsus.
  8. Shanghai Chevrolet Cruze, $147 900 - Chinese version of Chevy Cruze.
  9. FAW VW Bora, $142 600 - The Chinese share liking for sedans over hatchbacks.
  10. Guangzhou Honda Accord, $140 600 - Our number 4 is China's number 10. Guangzhou builds the North American, not the European (Acura TSX), Accord.

Europe

  1. Volkswagen Golf, $420 344 - Hatches have long been Europe's favourite
  2. Ford Fiesta, $351 177 - Ford is struggling a bit in Europe, and Fiesta sales started to slide toward the end of '10.
  3. VW Polo, $301 107 - VW's Ford Fiesta/Honda Jazz/Opel Corsa rebel is like the Corolla to Golf's Camry.
  4. Renault Clio, $286 100 - Golf competitor shares its platform with Nissan's compacts.
  5. Opel/Vauxhall Corsa, $266 878 - Sales of GM's B-segment hatchback started to fade in the fall.
  6. Peugeot 207, $259 402 - Competitor to the VW Golf and Renault Clio from the Peugeot-Citroen Group.
  7. Opel/Vauxhall Astra, $247 706 - Another Golf rival and one of four cars on this list trending with better sales than in 2009.
  8. Ford Focus, $224 130 - Sales started to diminish as Ford prepared to introduce the all-new One Ford model.
  9. Renault Megane, $221 671 - Bigger than the Clio, with two- and four-door hatch, sedan, coupe, and cabrio variants.
  10. Fiat Punto, $221 213 - Fiat's C-segment hatchback

United States

  1. Ford F-Series, $434 920 - America's long-time bestseller stays on top, with sales strengthened by farm, construction and home repair workers.
  2. Chevrolet Silverado, $301 998 - Even combined with heavy duty and GMC Sierra sales, GM would still be in second place
  3. Toyota Camry, $275 844 - Loads of incentives keep it ahead of archrival Honda, despite severe hits to reputation. Loads of incentives keep it ahead of archrival Honda, despite severe hits to reputation.
  4. Honda Accord, $236 278 - Midsize stays strong halfway through its lifecycle, and is more profitable than Camry.
  5. Toyota Corolla, $227 822 - Many people automatically buy the Corolla, even as it quickly ages.
  6. Honda Civic, $215 393 - Though no longer sold in its home country, Civic stays strong in the last year of its cycle.
  7. Nissan Altima, $187 875 - Another familiar midsize sedan due for replacement.
  8. Ford Fusion, $178 943 - The 2010 Car of the Year has been insistent in its pursuit of dominant Asian competitors.
  9. Chevrolet Malibu, $175 599 - GM has moved up development of the '12 Malibu, now expected mid-year.
  10. Hyundai Sonata, $166 628 - Redesign helps it crack the Top 10.

Conclusion? US favours are C/D-segment sedans, while China and Europe buy C-segment sedans and hatches.

U.S. data compiled by Forbes magazine; China data from China Association of Automobile Manufacturers; Europe data from Jato Dynamic.

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