The Best-Selling Vehicles in the World By Country
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The Best-Selling Vehicles in the World By Country
Each country has different preferences for goods, and vehicles are no different.
Consumers in a dense country might prefer smaller cars, while countries with wide expanses (and parking spots) open the way for larger trucks. Likewise, rugged terrain might call for vehicles that can adapt and scale quickly.
And it’s also a question of which manufacturer invested in the country. As the world’s largest automakers have raced to attract consumers in every corner of the globe, they built factories, renamed models, and even built specific cars to fit the tastes of individual countries.
This infographic from Budget Direct Car Insurance highlights the best-selling vehicles in the world, using 2019 year-end sales data.
What is the Most Popular Vehicle in Each Country?
Though the map might vary across the board, one thing is certain: Toyota’s dominance.
The Japanese automaker—which was also the most valuable automaker in the world for many years before being overtaken by Tesla—had the best-selling vehicle in 41 countries of the 104 countries tallied.
It also had the world’s best-selling vehicle in 2019, the Toyota Corolla, though the sedan only took the top spot itself in five countries.
|American Samoa||Toyota Tacoma||Truck|
|Angola||Toyota Land Cruiser J70||SUV|
|Bahrain||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||Skoda Octavia||Sedan|
|Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|Czech Republic||Skoda Octavia||Sedan|
|France||Peugeot 208 I||Subcompact|
|Kuwait||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Lebanon||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Netherlands||Tesla Model 3||Sedan|
|New Zealand||Ford Ranger||Truck|
|Norway||Tesla Model 3||Sedan|
|Oman||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Papua New Guinea||Toyota Land Cruiser J70||SUV|
|Qatar||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|Saudi Arabia||Hyundai Accent||Subcompact|
|Solomon Islands||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|South Africa||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|South Korea||Hyundai Grandeur||Sedan|
|Sri Lanka||Suzuki Alto||Hatchback|
|Swaziland (Eswatini)||Toyota Hilux||Truck|
|United Arab Emirates||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
|United Kingdom||Ford Fiesta||Subcompact|
|United States||Ford F-150||Truck|
|Yemen||Toyota Land Cruiser||SUV|
As the best-seller in 16 countries, the Toyota Hilux truck (also known as the Toyota Pickup in North America) was the top vehicle in the most countries. It has a noticeably strong market share in the Southern Hemisphere, including in Argentina, South Africa, and Australia.
The other consistent factor was the strength of local manufacturers. Many countries with large automakers had local models as the best-selling vehicles, especially in Europe.
|Country with Local Best-Seller||Vehicle|
|Czech Republic||Škoda Octavia|
|France||Peugeot 208 I|
|South Korea||Hyundai Grandeur|
Cars are the Best-Selling Vehicles in the World
So what do car consumers currently prefer? Currently, cars have a slight edge over trucks as the best-selling vehicles in the world.
Of the 104 countries with sales tallied for the study, smaller cars often classified as “passenger vehicles” (including sedans, hatchbacks, and subcompacts) made up the majority of best-sellers, with 57 of the best-selling vehicles by country.
Meanwhile, “light trucks” or “light commercial vehicles,” which include trucks, SUVs, and vans, were best-sellers in 47 countries.
Best-Selling Vehicles by Type
- Hatchback: 12
- Sedan: 25
- Sedan/Wagon: 1
- Subcompact: 19
- SUV: 20
- Truck: 24
- Van: 3
But changing car consumption preferences are already making their mark. The electric vehicle (EV) Tesla Model 3 was already the best-selling vehicle in both the Netherlands and Norway, and other countries like China are increasing incentives for consumers to purchase EVs.
That’s not even factoring in the slowdown of travel during the COVID pandemic, more workers going remote, and the semiconductor strain on automakers. A truly post-COVID world will likely transform the map even further.
Mapped: European Colonial Shipping Lanes (1700‒1850)
This map plots the colonial shipping lanes used by the British, the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch in the 18th and 19th centuries.
European Colonial Shipping Lanes (1700‒1850)
Every year, thousands of ships ferry passengers and transport goods across the world’s oceans and seas.
200 years ago, the ships navigating these waters looked very different. Explorers and traders sailed from coast to coast to expand colonial empires, find personal riches, or both.
Before modern technology simplified bookkeeping, many ships kept detailed logbooks to navigate, tracking the winds, waves, and any remarkable weather. Recently, these handwritten logbooks were fully digitized into the CLIWOC database as part of a UN-funded project by the University of Madrid.
In this graphic, Adam Symington uses this database to visualize the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch shipping routes between 1700 and 1850.
Colonial Shipping Lanes
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the British, French, Spanish, and Dutch empires dominated global trade through their colonial shipping lanes.
All four nations sailed across the Atlantic Ocean with some frequency over that timeframe, but these fleets were also very active in the Pacific and Indian Oceans as well.
The table below reflects the record of days spent by digitized logbooks from each nation.
|Country||N. Atlantic||S. Atlantic||Indian Ocean||Pacific||All Oceans|
Does this mean that the Netherlands had the widest colonial reach at the time? Not at all, as researchers noted that there were thousands of logbooks from each country that weren’t able to be digitized, and thousands more that were lost to time. The days simply reflect the amount of data that was available to examine from each country.
But they can still give us an accurate look at critical shipping routes between European countries, their trade partners, and their colonies and territories.
Let’s now take a closer look at the colonial powers and their preferred routes.
The British shipping map shows a steady presence across the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. They utilized many of Europe’s ports for ease of trade, with strong pre-independence connections to the U.S., Canada, and India.
One of the most frequented shipping routes on the map seen is a triangular trade route that enabled the trans-Atlantic slave trade. This route facilitated the transportation of slaves from Africa to the Americas, raw materials such as sugar, tobacco, and cotton from the American colonies to Europe, and arms, textiles, and wine from Europe to the colonies.
During this period, Spanish maritime trade with its colonies was an essential economic component of the Kingdom of Spain (as with other colonial empires).
We can see the largest concentration of Spanish ships around Central and South America leading up to the Spanish American wars of independence, as those colonies were especially important suppliers of raw materials such as gold, silver, sugar, tobacco, and cotton. There are some lanes visible to Pacific colonies like the Philippines.
Of the four empires, France’s maritime logbooks were the most sparse. The records that were digitized show frequent travel and trade across the North Atlantic Ocean to Canada and the Caribbean.
The French empire at the time included colonies in the Caribbean, Indian Ocean, and West Africa. Their trade routes were used to transport goods like sugar, coffee, rum, and spices, while also relying on the slave trade to maintain plantation economies. The French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti) was one of the world’s wealthiest colonies in the late 18th century.
Dutch shipping routes from the time had the most detail and breadth of any country, reflective of the Dutch East India Trading Company’s position as the world’s dominant company and trade force.
These include massive traffic to the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), Cape Colony (now South Africa), and the Guianas in South America.
Interestingly, researchers from Leiden University found that the Dutch empire was a “string of pearls” consisting mostly of strategic trading hubs stretched along the edges of the continents and focused on maritime power.
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