The Focus is expected to hit about a million sales globally for 2012, with the Corolla sitting at around 966,000 for the year.
The Focus has become very popular in emerging markets such as China – and was also helped there by a consumer boycott of Japanese cars for nearly the final half of 2012.
The boycott – part of a public backlash in a long standing dispute between the two countries – cost Toyota an estimated 25 per cent of its sales in China. Volkswagen’s Jetta is in number three spot, followed by the Hyundai Elantra in fourth and Ford’s Fiesta in fifth.
Sitting in sixth place is the Volkswagen Golf, followed by the Toyota Camry – the only car in the top 10 that isn’t an economy-focused compact – Volkswagen’s Polo, the Chevrolet Cruze and the Honda Civic.
However Toyota is likely to win back its title of the world’s biggest carmaker, after losing it to General Motors last year.
GM and Volkswagen are in the race for number two spot in a record year that looks set to see global sales go past the 80 million notch – despite the slump in Europe and the slowing Chinese economy.