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Best-selling cars | Top 10


There are no clear clues when you look at the all-time top sellers, which include everything from a hulking Yank pick-up to sedate German sedan - and the century-old Ford Model-T.

1. Toyota Corolla 1966- 36 million

You have to wonder if Toyota knew something when they christened it Corolla. The word is Latin for 'little crown' but it's been a big one for them, with a Corolla now being sold every 40 seconds. It was built at Toyota's Port Melbourne factory from 1968-1993, then became the first car to roll out of the Altona plant in 1994, continuing until local production stopped in 1999. It was also sold from 1989-1996 as the Holden Nova, the precursor to the Astra.

2. Ford F-Series 1948- 34 million

A mainstay of Ford's bottom line, the F-Series is said to have been the source of half the company's profits for many years. The F-150 is the current volume seller, but the range includes medium and heavy commercial models right up to the massive F-650 and F-750 - which allows Americans to supersize their everyday drive. We started with the F-100 here in 1965, and it was assembled at Auburn until 1974, then at Broadmeadows until 1987, moving to Brisbane until 1992. The flow of F-Series hiccupped and finally finished in 2006, but they're still popular on the used market.

3. Volkswagen Golf 1974- 28 million

We love it here -- where 15,000 last year accounted for the lion's share of VW's 38,000 local sales - and they love it everywhere else too. Named for the Gulf Stream (following a VW fad for names related to famous winds, including Scirocco, Jetta and Passat). The GTi version is the long-standing benchmark for hot hatches.

4. Volkswagen Beetle 1938-2003 - 21.6 million

Not the New Beetle, but the old Beetle - the one that really started Volkswagen (literally 'people's car') under Hitler. Developed by Ferdinand Porsche, the rear-wheel drive, rear-engined car was called the 'Type 1' but became known in Germany as the Kafer, or 'beetle', and in 1967 officially took on the nickname in its English translation. While VW started producing the New Beetle in 1998, it was not based on the old Beetle but on the Golf platform.

5. Honda Civic 1972- 20.37 million

The Civic started as a cheap sub-compact that was susceptible to rust, but improved quickly with each generation. Honda's racing background gave the car several respected sports variants - and from 1988-2000, class-leading front double-wishbone suspension that helped make it a popular modification base. But with its wayward youth now far behind, it's firmly settled into mainstream adulthood.

6. Ford Escort 1968-2003 20 million

This became the 'little car that could' for Ford - a small rear-wheel drive hero that could win hearts, sales and rallies (especially in the all-wheel drive version) around the world. The Australian car was built at Ford's Homebush factory from 1970-1980. The Escort also sold in many countries in near-twin form in its earlier days as the Orion - a name Ford Australia used as the working title for the FG Falcon project, perhaps hoping some of the magic would rub off.

7. Honda Accord 1976- 18.13 million

The Accord has been successful around the world, but its popularity in the US - where more than 10 million sales made it the best Japanese car for a 15-year run - is what has lifted it onto the all-time list. It was also the first Japanese car to be built in the US, and although it was never produced here, had a brief stint of being built in New Zealand around 1998. However, the sales success has been a double-edged sword, with many blaming the Accord and Honda's even better-selling Civic for blanding a brand that was originally known for racing DNA.

8. Ford Model T 1908-1927 16.536 million

The world's first mass-produced car, the 'Tin Lizzie' not only started a driving revolution by making cars available outside the moneyed classes, but also revolutionised factories of all kinds with Henry Ford's invention of the production line. Ford's oft-quoted 'any colour as long as it's black' only came into force in 1914 - until then the cars were grey, green, blue and red. Black reigned after that because of its shorter drying time, and the cost-cutting benefits of having a single colour.

9. Nissan/Datsun Pulsar 1966-2006 16.1 million

Successful overseas under several different names, it took 25 years to arrive here as the Datsun Pulsar in 1980. A tangled history saw it assembled here at the Clayton South factory in Victoria, with the better-specced Langley version being sold as the Pulsar, while the entry-level model sold elsewhere as the Pulsar was assembled here from 1982-1991 and rebadged as the Holden Astra. Nissan had a great run in Australia, with the car firmly establishing the Pulsar name - which they dropped in 2006 for the successor Tiida, but are now reconsidering after sale s similarly dropped.

10. Volkswagen Passat 1973- 15 million

Named from the German word for tradewind, the Passat traded on Audi Fox underpinnings until 2005, but quickly outstripped it in global sales. The staid premium car has been the unlikely candidate for a flood of viral web attention for its US Super Bowl Darth Vader ad, which has had more than 40 million views in the past two months. Parlaying that attention into sales could see the Passat move up the list in the next couple of years.

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