Ford says that the Ford Focus has sold 489,616 units through June compared to 462,817 for the Toyota Corolla, and it even hired an independent firm, IHS Automotive, to calculate the sales figures. And this is where things get confusing. See, Ford sells the Focus globally under one name, but the Toyota Corolla is also sold with different body styles that carry different names... and IHS Automotive's sales figure for Toyota does not include these models. As a counterpoint to the Focus hatchback, the Corolla is also available in a five-door form carrying the Toyota Matrix and Toyota Auris names, while the Corolla Fielder is Toyota's station wagon alternative to the Ford Focus Estate. The Scion xB is sold in Australia as the Corolla Rumion.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Toyota says that its Corolla-based models accounted for 603,840 through the same six-month period Ford claims its Focus was the top seller. Breaking the numbers down even further, Toyota says that the Auris and Corolla alone have managed 524,000 sales globally which is still more than Ford's Focus sales. In the U.S., the Focus has sold 147,877 units through July while the Corolla has sold 175,366 (including the Matrix).
Like a political debate, the numbers can probably be skewed in anyone's favor, and it should be just as fun to watch as the old General Motors and Toyota "we're the biggest in the world" arguments where each automaker found some obscure brand in its portfolio to add in a few thousand extra units. Regardless of which car actually hold the current top spot, though, what is for certain is that these are the two hottest cars in the world.