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Top 10 Selling Cars of All Times (9 is a bit of a surprise)

To become one of the most popular cars in history requires the manufacturer to understand and meet customer needs. Here are the 10 cars that set the records.

Click on next (below) to see all top 10 selling cars.

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10. Chevrolet Impala

Introduced in 1958 GM, the Chevrolet Impala has sold over 14 million units in the intervening years. What makes this so surprising is that it’s the only vehicle on the list whose production was not continuous since its launch. The Impala was offered from 1958 to 1985, again from 1994 to 1996, and from 2000 to today. the Impala is perhaps the vehicle on this list that has changed the most in concept. It started as a RWD sedan, offering the 425 hp 427 V8 from 1966 – 69, and is now a FWD car with a 305 hp 3.7 L V6 as its largest available engine.

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9. Volkswagen Passat

Introduced in 1973,  Volkswagen has sold 15.5 million Passat sedans in the years in between. While the car retains its FWD configuration, its grown both in size and luxury, providing good value to the customer, which has been its strongest selling point for many years. Wonder where all those Volkswagen Passats are hiding? Europe and China. VW has been building the Passat as part of a joint venture in China since the mid-1990s.

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8. Ford Model T

Henry Ford had a vision that automobiles shouldn’t be available only to the wealthy who could afford to purchase the expensive models of the time. In 1908 the Ford Motor Company launched the Model T and Henry and his team – through clever design, purchasing, and manufacturing techniques – continued to lower the price of the Model T over its 20 year lifespan.  In the end, 16.5 million were built at factories all over the world. And the “any color as long as it’s black” is a bit of a myth. There were numerous colors available until 1914 when the “black only” policy was initiated.

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7. Honda Accord

Launched initially as a three-door hatchback based on an expanded Civic platform, the Honda Accord has grown and added variations over the years. It’s included four door and wagon versions and has moved from the compact class to the mid-size car class, and now the full-size car class. In 1992 the Accord became the first Japanese model car produced in the United States when Honda opened its plant in Marysville, OH.

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6. Honda Civic

The first Civic was introduced by the Honda Motor Company in July of 1972, followed by a three-door hatchback that September. Originally powered by a 1.2 L transversely-mounted engine and FWD, the Civic has grown from its initial classification as a Subcompact Car into a Compact Car. There have been a variety of versions of the Civic, ranging from those powered by alternate fuels to high-performance models. Honda has sold over 18.5 million Civics.

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5. Ford Escort

Launched originally in Europe in 1968, where it quickly became a favorite among racers and rally drivers due to its high-performance options, a much more tame Ford Escort entered the US market in 1991. Since that time the US Escort had benefited from European design and tuning until replaced by the Ford Focus in 2000. In that time, Ford sold 18 million Escorts worldwide, which still have an enthusiast following.

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4. VW Beetle

While the first models may have rolled off the line in 1938, production of the Volkswagen Type 1 (Beetle) didn’t kick into high gear until after WWII. But once production started rolling, there was no stopping the Beetle, selling  23.5 million copies worldwide until being discontinued in 2003.

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3. VW Golf

The VW Golf, which at times has been called the Rabbit in the US, was first produced in 1973 and has remained fairly true to its original design concept, as a compact car capable of carrying four adults and their luggage in relative comfort. The name Golf, by the way, doesn’t refer to the game, but to the Gulf Stream, the Atlantic current that warms Europe (German spelling is Golf). Since 1973 Volkswagen has produced 27.5 million of the compact cars.

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2. Ford F-series

Introduced in 1948, Ford modern line of F-series pickup trucks is now in its 13th generation and has transcended its work truck roots to become daily transportation for millions.  The first generation (known as the Ford Bonus Built) replaced a line of passenger-car based trucks in production since 1942. In 1965 Ford added the Twin I Beam Independence front suspension to the F series, which remained in production for many years. Having now reached the 35 million mark in sales, the Ford F-series is the most popular line of trucks in history.

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1. Toyota Corolla

If you looked at the photos of the very first models of each of these cars, it’s doubtful that you’d land on the plain, unassuming little Toyota Corolla as the car that would become the most popular across the world. Launched in 1966 as a front engine – rear drive compact, it would already be the world’s best selling car by 1974. In 1983 the Corolla went to front wheel drive (with the brief exception of the AE85 and AE86, the last RWD Corollas) and has grown from the subcompact category into a compact car.

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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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