Best-selling models in China, India, Brazil, UK and more revealed – and how some of them are related to the Holden Barina – Car News
Every year, automotive brands in markets around the world compete for the title of best-selling model and top-selling brand.
In Australia last year, Toyota again dominated the new-vehicle market, more than doubling the number of second-placed Mazda and taking the top-selling model crown with the HiLux.
But what about the rest of the world? Figures published by Best Selling Cars Blog reveal some surprises at the top of the sales charts in some countries.
Learn more about new vehicle sales results
Among the surprises is the number of models linked to the defunct Holden Barina.
If you’ve even been curious about what the people of Kazakhstan drive or which model tops the charts in the world’s largest car market, China, then read on.
Unsurprisingly, British and European cars dominate the charts in the UK. Well, for the most part.
The most popular choice among Britons last year was a car that had already been sold in Australia in a previous iteration as the humble Holden Barina. This is the Vauxhall Corsa lightweight sedan!
Previously built in the UK but now coming from Spain after the takeover of Vauxhall and German sister brand Opel by the PSA Group, the Corsa has been one of the best sellers in the UK for many years.
The Corsa knocked the Ford Fiesta off the top last year with a total of 34,111 sales, but was narrowly beaten by the Tesla Model 3 (32,767).
The British-built but BMW-owned Mini hatchback was the third best-selling in the UK last year, beating German rivals including the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and Volkswagen Golf.
More new cars are sold in China than in any other country (just over 20 million in 2021), making it the world’s largest market with several million in annual sales.
Given the proliferation of domestic Chinese brands, as well as Chinese brands that have gone global – Haval, MG, etc. – you would think that one of them would have taken the top spot. But in the end, the winner was a Nissan-badged model.
The sadly named Sylphy sedan may come from a Japanese brand, but in China the Sylphy and other Nissan models – as well as Peugeot and Citroën cars – are built in a joint venture with Chinese automaker Dongfeng .
The Sylphy – based on the US-market Sentra – recorded just over 500,000 sales to beat Volkswagen’s long-lived Lavida sedan which is built by its Chinese partner, SAIC, and the adorable Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.
Do you remember the Suzuki Wagon R+? The small tallboy hatch sold in Australia in the late 1990s?
Well, the latest version of that original offering was India’s favorite model in 2021, as Maruti Suzuki Wagon R. Maruti was a government founded and run car company until Suzuki bought a share majority in 2003.
Maruti Suzuki is India’s Toyota, with a massive 44% market share in 2021, and occupying eight of the top 10 spots on the list of top-selling models.
The only other brands to come close are Hyundai, which has a large manufacturing presence in India – and the fifth best-selling model of the Creta SUV – and local brand Tata.
The top 10 brands in Japan by sales are, unsurprisingly, Japanese brands, led by a dominant Toyota with a 32% market share.
This corresponds to the most popular models, with Toyota occupying the top four spots in the list of non-kei car models.
The Yaris lightweight car is the top dog in Japan, with 213,000 sales last year, ahead of the Roomy, Corolla and Alphard minivans.
Add in kei-car sales – the Japanese market segment for the smallest legal passenger cars with restricted size and engine capacity – and Honda’s super-cute N-Box takes second place ahead of the Corolla.
Fiat has a strong presence in South and Central America, thanks to its range of inexpensive small models and its strong manufacturing base in Brazil.
Brazilians have embraced the Fiat brand in large numbers and not only is it the number one brand with over 20% market share, but the Fiat Strada compact pickup was the most popular new model last year .
The cute ute topped the sales of two subcompact cars, including the Brazilian-made Hyundai HB20 hatchback and another Fiat, the Argo.
Nobody will be shocked that the Hyundai Group dominates the South Korean car market. Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis hold the top three spots on the list of best-selling brands and together hold an unassailable market share of 74%.
Hyundai edged out its sister brand Kia for overall sales by around 56,000 units, but the big surprise was the top-selling model in South Korea last year. It was the Hyundai Porter, also known as the H-100, a light truck that has been on sale as a fourth generation since 2004.
The light-duty vehicle edged out the large sedan Hyundai Grandeur – which shares the underpinnings of the Sonata and Kia Optima – and the mover Kia Carnival.
The group has such a lead in its home market that the first non-Hyundai Group model in the 2021 top 20 was the Renault-Samsung QM6 – known here as the Renault Koleos – in 17and position.
Despite a population of 144 million, Russia’s new-vehicle market isn’t much bigger than Australia’s, with 1.7 million cars sold in 2021.
The Russian brand Lada, owned by the Renault group, is always the first choice for Russians and the small car Vesta topped the list in 2021. It was followed by the aging subcompact Lada Granta and the Kia Rio in third place .
It’s not the same Rio hatch that Australians know. It is a Russian-Chinese market model built in Russia.
Those with long memories might recall Lada’s presence in Australia for around a decade from 1984, the most notable model being the four-wheel-drive Niva. Well, this model – which, confusingly, shares its name with a model developed by GM – is still a top seller, ranking sixth last year.
I promised Kazakhstan and here it is. The best seller in the Central Asian country is the Chevrolet Cobalt.
The Uzbekistan-built compact car is backed by GM’s Gamma II platform which was the same as the last Holden Barina sold in Australia.
It outsold another Chevrolet, the Nexia, which carries the Ravon Nexia brand. This model is also based on an old Barina, from 2005, which was itself a rebadged Daewoo Kalos.