History's 10 Best Selling Cars Of All Time
Cars of the People
Last updated November 10, 2021
Neither exotic nor rare, the best selling cars of all time won't get any car enthusiast's heart pumping. These cars are like Starbucks, there seems to be one on every corner.
Still they are the best selling cars for a reason. A top-25 list maintained by MotorBiscuit features models that have highly trusted nameplates, as well as an uncanny ability to quickly adapt to consumer needs. Many of these cars have lasted decades, with no sign of sales slowing down. They may not be the sexiest cars of all time, but in all likelihood you own one or know someone who does.
Click through to see the best-selling cars of all time.
10. VW Passat
The Volkswagen Passat has gone through seven generations, receiving its last significant update in 2020. And the 2022 model year will be its very last here in the United States. But it's had a great run with nearly 16 million cars sold since its debut in 1973. Here in the States, it was known as the Dasher and Quantum before getting its current name.
The Passat is a solid family car, one that offers a touch of luxury for a pretty decent price. That's what's kept it selling so well over the past few years, when the sedan market became intensely competitive. Now that sedans have been replaced by crossovers in the majority of American driveways and with electric vehicles getting all the investment dollars from automakers, well, we don't expect the final number to rise all that much higher.
9. Ford Model T
It's the car that needs no introduction, but we'll give it one anyway. The first affordable, mass-produced car for the average American was built in 1908 in Detroit by Henry Ford. While the Ford Model T hasn't been in production in 86 years, it has still managed to hold on to the title of eighth best selling car of all time.
It took 20 years for the Model T to sell more cars than most brands sell over decades. In that time Ford produced a staggering 16.5 million Ts.
8. Honda Accord
Following closely on the heels of its smaller sibling the Honda Civic, the Accord entered the scene in 1976. Honda has sold over 18 million Accords since then.
It was the first car the Japanese manufacturer produced in America and has been one of the best-selling cars in the U.S. since 1989. The Accord gets props for being a safe and reliable family car.
7. Ford Escort
You may not think of the Ford Escort as a particularly memorable vehicle, but that really depends on where you grew up. The humble Escort was introduced to America in 1981, but had been a strong seller in Europe since 1968. Up to this point, Ford haas sold 18 million Escorts worldwide. Today, the only place Ford currently sells a model called the Escort is in China. Here in the States, the Blue Oval has axed sedans and hatchbacks, migrating to crossovers like the humble EcoSport.
6. Honda Civic
Before the launch of the Civic in 1972, Honda considered pulling out of car manufacturing altogether. The Civic was the company's first big hit on the auto market and kept Honda in the business of making cars. Good thing they kept selling cars, or else they would have missed out on well over 18 million Civics sold.
Unlike some other models we've seen on this list, the Honda Civic is still going strong with a brand-new version fresh for the 2022 model year. And no surprise, it's very good.
5. Lada Riva
The Lada Riva, also known as the Lada Nova or Lada / VAZ-2105, 2104 or 2107, first hit the scene in the former Soviet Union in 1980. But it's bones are actually much older. The humble Lada is based on a modified Fiat 124 platform, which dates all the way back to 1966.
Millions of these little sedans have been pumped out over the course of several decades, with the last Riva rolling down the production line in Russia back in 2012. Production of some Lada Classic models derived from the Riva carried on for a few more years in Egypt after that, but it seems that this humble people mover's days have finally come to an end.
4. VW Beetle
From the dream of a despised dictator to a symbol of the free-wheeling 60's, the Beetle was one of the longest running production cars in history. Built in 1938 to Hitler's specifications, the Beetle captured hearts in the counter-culture movement of the 1960s with its cheap price and funky design.
About 23.5 million units of the lovable Bug have been sold worldwide. Volkswagen formally said good-bye to the nameplate in December of 2019, when the front-wheel drive replacement that bore the Beetle name was officially discontinued.
3. VW Golf
Sometimes the Golf, sometimes the Rabbit; whatever it's name, it's the best-selling model of all time for Volkswagen. It came on the scene in 1974 and since then the boxy hatchback has sold over 30 million units.
The final Volkswagen Golf has been produced for the American market, but the high-performance GTI and Golf R are still offered here. Like many other venerable nameplates, the Golf's future seems to be on thin ice as new electric cars like VW's own ID series take over.
2. Ford F-Series
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The first Ford F-150 was introduced in 1948 and was sold as the Ford Bonus Built. The first models looks like a classic today but at the time were a little shaky. Obviously, the truck's quality and stature steadily improved over subsequent generations. The Ford F-150 has sold more than 40 million models over the last six decades, making Ford the undisputed king of the pickup.
The Ford F-Series remains the best-selling vehicle in America. Demand for the trucks show no sign of slowing down, and the F-150 gets constant updates to keep it performing at the top. That includes an electric version called the Lightning that looks poised to carry the F-Series into the future.
1. Toyota Corolla
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The first Toyota Corolla rolled off of the assembly line and into our hearts in 1966. By 1974 it was the best-selling car in the world. When Toyota announced Corolla number 40 million, it said they fly out of dealerships so quickly the automaker isn't sure who has it or at what location number 40 million was sold. By now, the number has swelled to more than 43 million sold worldwide.
Corolla's lead is far from secure, however, as crossover sales have been eating into compact sedan market share in recent years. With the F-Series not suffering the same cannibalism, it's only a matter of time before Toyota's compact is officially dethroned.