What is the Best-Selling Car of All Time?

Americans love their trucks. In 2021, the Ford F-Series, the Dodge Ram and the Chevrolet Silverado were the three best-selling vehicles. The Ford F-Series has remained the most popular (i.e. best-selling) vehicle for more than four decades. The F-Series must be the best-selling car of all time, right?

While car buyers in the U.S. seem to gravitate towards pickup trucks, the F-Series doesn’t hold the record as the best-selling car. What is the best-selling car of all time? The answer is a model that’s affordable, safe and fuel-efficient, too.

This is the Best-Selling Car of All Time

The best-selling car of all time debuted in the 1960s. The Toyota Corolla has sold the most vehicles and is the best-selling vehicle. However, there’s a bit of a catch to this record.

MotorBiscuit explains that while the Corolla is technically the best-selling vehicle of all time, this record only refers to the Corolla name. The vehicle hasn’t been the same design since its inception. While it remains a compact vehicle, the design changes might make auto aficionados cite a different best-selling vehicle.

The Volkswagen Beetle has an unchanged style, and, because of this, some would argue that the Beetle is actually the best-selling vehicle. MotorBiscuit reported that in 1972, the Beetle became the best-selling vehicle in history. Back then, the Beetle took over the top spot from the Model T! The Beetle still looks the same, and it also holds a soft spot for many as an emblematic icon of the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Fiat Holds a Different Record

When naming the best-selling vehicle, MotorBiscuit also noted that Fiat produced the best-selling chassis because the Fiat 124 chassis was licensed out to other auto manufacturers; this meant that the design of the Fiat 124 actually was included in a number of other models by Lada Classics (in Russia). While the Fiat 124 isn’t the top-selling vehicle, its platform is noted for being a best-seller.

About the Toyota Corolla

While the Toyota Corolla’s design might have evolved through the years, it remains a top seller. In 2021, the Corolla was the 12th most popular vehicle in the country by sales numbers.

The 2022 Corolla is one of the more affordable small cars on the market. The 2022 Corolla has a starting MSRP of $20,425. It can get an estimated 31 MPG in the city and 40 MPG on the highway. In addition, the 2022 Corolla sedan and hatchback body styles received a Top Safety Pick+ (for cars built after November 2021) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). In addition, the 2022 Corolla (front-wheel drive) also received a five-star safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The 2019 Toyota Corolla also was named as the most dependable compact car in 2022 by J.D. Power. Winners were determined by the scores of thousands of car owners; vehicles are assessed after three years, and car owners take into account issues over the previous 12 months. The 2019 Corolla beat out 15 other compact vehicles.

The 2019 Corolla received a total dependability score of 84. In the area of Quality & Reliability, it received a 92. For Driving Experience, it scored a 79. In the area of Resale Value, the 2019 Corolla received a 78.

Best-Selling Car of All Time

About the Volkswagen Beetle

The Volkswagen Beetle was created in the 1930s but didn’t actually become widely produced for the typical consumer until the late 1940s. However, the Beetle became wildly popular in the ‘60s, and its association with this swinging decade have made the Beetle a cultural icon.

Unfortunately, the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle was the last of the models. The iconic ‘Bug’ was discontinued, and those who want this tiny car need to shop for pre-owned models. Since the Beetle is no longer in production, the Corolla might be the undisputed best-selling car.

How Popular was the Model T?

The Model T became the best-selling vehicle of its time—more than 15 million were sold.  The Model T ceased production in 1927. According to Ford, its founder Henry Ford once proclaimed that, “There’s no use trying to pass a Ford, because there’s always another one just ahead.”

Ford’s best-selling vehicle is now its F-Series pickup truck. The F-Series has been the most popular vehicle for decades, and its popularity doesn’t seem to be slowing. Ford even introduced an electric model F-150 called the Lightning. The model was in such demand that Ford stopped accepting orders.

While Ford’s F-Series is the lineup best-seller, two other Ford models also were among the 25 best-selling vehicles of 2021. The Ford Explorer was the 14th best-selling vehicle, and the Ford Escape was the 23rd most popular vehicle.

Other Best-Selling Vehicles

Numerous car sites, blogs and publications include a list of the best-selling vehicles of all time. While the Corolla and Beetle might be the two models that vie for the title, there are several other models that also have remained popular among consumers.

HotCars compiled a list of 15 of the best-selling vehicles. The top five best-selling vehicles of all time are the Corolla, the F-Series, the Volkswagen Golf, the Volkswagen Beetle and the Lada Riva (which used the Fiat 124 chassis).

Best-Selling Car of All Time

What are the Best-Selling Electric Cars?

Electric cars and electric motors have been around a lot longer than consumers might realize. In fact, the electric car debuted in the 1800s. In the 1970s, Sebring-Vanguard’s CitiCar was a very compact electric vehicle that could only drive around 50 to 60 miles (not much range!).

In 1997, the Toyota Prius became the first mainstream (and mass-produced) hybrid. While the Prius debuted in 1997, the vehicle became popular in the 2000s.

Tesla entered the market in 2006 and became the name associated with electric power. The only electric vehicle that was among the 25 best-selling vehicles of 2021 was the Tesla Model Y. The Model Y Long Range is priced at $65,990 and has an estimated range of 330 miles and space for seven. The Model Y Performance is priced at $69,990 and offers an estimated range of 303 miles; it offers space for five.

As more electric models debut, though, buyers might find more affordable models. The Nissan Leaf was once the most affordable electric model on the market, but now the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Chevrolet Bolt EUV are priced lower.

The 2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV has a starting MSRP of $25,600 and an estimated range of 259 miles. The Chevrolet Bolt EUV starts at $27,200 and has an estimated range of 247 miles. The Bolt EUV has space for five passengers.  

Will Electric Dominate Sales?

As more brands move to electric powered motors for their cars, could an electric vehicle dominate the market? Many manufacturers are evolving to accommodate the needs and preferences of buyers; this means electric and hybrid options for vehicles.

In fact, Toyota offers hybrid options for many of its most popular models, including the Corolla. Will Toyota electrify its models in the future? It’s possible. Some consumers opt for the hybrid models to increase fuel efficiency, but they might shy away from electric models because the price of these models could be higher.

The Corolla Hybrid has a starting price of $24,040, which is still more than $1,000 cheaper than the least expensive electric vehicle on the market. The Corolla Hybrid also gets more than 50 MPG; in fact, it can get an estimated 53 MPG in the city and 52 MPG on the highway.

Best-Selling Car of All Time

What are the Least Popular Vehicles in History?

While buyers might be curious about the best-selling car of all time, there have been models that failed to resonate with buyers. What are the worst-selling vehicles in history?

HotCars compiled a list of these sales flops; the forgotten vehicles included the 1986 Lamborghini LM002, which looked like a Hummer. HotCars noted that this vehicle was driven by Saddam Hussein’s son. The 1958 Ford Edsel, 1975 Triumph TR7 and the 1984 Maserati Biturbo all posted low sales figures, too.  

Are the Most Popular Cars the Best Models for Buyers?

While a car model can boast incredible sales figures, the sales numbers alone don’t necessarily mean that it’s every buyer’s ideal vehicle. The Toyota Corolla is affordable and offers great safety ratings. It’s also fuel efficient. However, the Corolla doesn’t offer space for larger families.

Some buyers also don’t want to drive the most popular car. They might want a unique model or even a different brand. However, the sales figures of a model can indicate how the model resonates with buyers. Again, the Corolla is affordable, fuel efficient and safe, and many buyers want a model that checks off all these boxes.

When shopping for a new vehicle, popularity also might take a back seat to the budget. The Corolla is affordable, but it still could be out of the budget for some buyers. Others might buy a luxury vehicle or they might prefer an SUV or a larger sedan.

As more brands also move towards electric power, the EV models could surpass standard vehicles to become the most popular. The Toyota Corolla is currently offered in a hybrid option, but perhaps future models accommodate the plug. As the preferences of buyers evolve and the focus shifts to eco-friendly models, electric motors could electrify buyers and dominate sales.