RAYONG, Thailand — The stylish and nimble Ford Focus is on track to unseat Toyota's aging Corolla to become the world's top-selling car, Ford says.
Ford officials say the company sold 489,616 Focus sedans and hatchbacks globally in the first half of 2012, besting the Corolla by almost 27,000.
The Focus has several advantages, says Aaron Bragman, an automotive industry analyst for IHS Global Insight. It is newer, features better handling and styling, has superior technology and a nicer interior than the Corolla.
“I'd rank it superior to the Corolla in pretty much most ways,” Bragman says.
But Toyota isn't conceding the title. It says its car is still on top when you include Corollas sold under other names. Hatchback versions of Corolla are sold as the Auris in Europe and Matrix in the U.S.
Toyota also sells the Corolla Verso, a vanlike vehicle Toyota has traditionally counted as a Corolla, says spokesman Mike Michels. Including all the models, Toyota sold 603,840 Corollas in the first half, beating the Focus by about 114,000, Michels says
Toyota is working on a new version of Corolla that is expected to go on sale in 2013, but the company hasn't made it official.