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Ford Focus Set to Topple Toyota Corolla as World’s Best-Seller

But don't count the Japanese small car out yet.

by on Aug.31, 2012

The Ford Focus could topple the current global best-seller, the Toyota Corolla, if it maintains its current sales pace.

The automotive global order could be in for a major shake-up.

Ford Motor Co. reports it sold 489,616 of its Focus sedans and hatchbacks worldwide during the first half of this year.  That’s 27,000 units, or about 5.5%, more than the perennial global sales leader the Toyota Corolla – and it could mark the first time in years that an American maker produced the world’s best-selling passenger car if that pace holds for the second half of 2012.

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Not that Toyota won’t try to cover that gap.  The giant maker has picked up plenty of momentum this year as it recovers from severe product shortages caused by the March 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami.  In July, Toyota’s U.S. sales surged 37%, about twice the overall pace of the rebounding American market.

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Ford Produces Milestone 350 Millionth Vehicle

Thai-made Focus symbolic of maker's big transformation.

by on Aug.31, 2012

Ford's 350 millionth vehicles, a red Focus sedan, rolls down the assembly line in Rayong, Thailand today.

It looked pretty much like any other Ford Focus as it rolled down the maker’s assembly line in the Bangkok suburb of Rayong early Friday morning.  But the compact sedan marked a major milestone for the automaker – as the 350 millionth vehicle has produced in its nearly 110-year history.

The event was significant for more than just the raw numbers.  The sedan symbolizes the dramatic transformation that has been shaking up Ford as it evolves from a worldwide network of regional fiefdoms into an integrated system producing global products like the Focus.

Equally noteworthy is the fact that the Rayong plant was chosen to mark the occasion.  The Asian market has become increasingly important to Ford – and its rivals.  The maker will soon operate nine plants in the region – including the newest of six in China for which Ford CEO Alan Mulally helped break ground earlier this week.

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“Producing 350 million vehicles is equivalent to producing one vehicle every 10 seconds for our 109-year history. If placed end to end, the vehicles would stretch to the moon and back – twice,” said John Fleming, Ford executive vice president of global manufacturing, in a statement.

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