Ford's recently revamped Focus is sold in more than 100 countries worldwide. It's a strong seller in the U.S., where Focus sales were up 31 percent in the first half of the year compared with 2011. But the Corolla is still king in the U.S., outselling Focus by nearly 27,500 in the first half of the year.
The Corolla could still pass the Focus as the global top-seller this year, Bragman said. Toyota had few Corollas to sell at the start of the year because last year's earthquake and tsunami in Japan slowed its factories. But now the car is at full supply and selling well. Also, last year at this time the Focus was ahead of the Corolla, but the Corolla pulled through in the end, outselling the Focus by more than 100,000 vehicles.