From Ford and Chevrolet to Suzuki and Daihatsu, these are the small SUVs Australia doesn't get - but we definitely want!
The small SUV space is a crowded one, but is there room for more? You bet, and...
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Each year, automotive brands in markets all over the globe battle for the title of best-selling model and best-selling brand.
But what about the rest of the world? Figures released by Best Selling Cars Blog reveal some surprises at the top of the sales charts in some countries.
Among the surprises is just how many models are related to the dearly departed Holden Barina.
If you’ve even been curious to know what the people of Kazakhstan drive, or what model tops the charts int the world’s biggest car market, China, then read on.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, British and European cars dominate the charts in the UK. Well, for the most part.
The most popular pick among Brits last year was a car that was once sold in Australia in a previous iteration as the humble Holden Barina. It’s the Vauxhall Corsa light hatchback!
Previously built in the UK but now sourced from Spain after Vauxhall and German sister brand Opel were bought by PSA Group, the Corsa has been one of the UK’s top sellers for many years.
More new cars are sold in China than any other country (just over 20 million in 2021), making it the world’s biggest market by several million annual sales.
Given the proliferation of Chinese domestic market brands, as well as Chinese brands that have gone global – Haval, MG etc – you’d think that one of them would have grabbed the top spot. But in the end the winner was a Nissan-badged model.
The unfortunately named Sylphy sedan may come from a Japanese brand, but in China the Sylphy and other Nissan models – as well as Peugeot and Citroen cars – are built as part of a joint-venture development with Chinese manufacturer, Dongfeng.
The Sylphy – based on the US-market Sentra – nabbed just over 500,000 sales to beat out Volkswagen’s perennial Lavida sedan that’s built by its Chinese partner, SAIC, and the adorable Wuling Hongguang Mini EV.
Remember the Suzuki Wagon R+? The tiny tallboy hatch sold in Australia in the late 1990s?
Well, the latest version of that quirky offering was India’s favourite model in 2021, badged as the Maruti Suzuki Wagon R. Maruti was a government-founded and run car company until Suzuki bought a majority share in 2003.
Maruti Suzuki is the Toyota of India, with a massive 44 per cent market share in 2021, as well as occupying eight of the top-10 places on the best-selling models list.
The only other brands to come close are Hyundai which has a big manufacturing presence in India – and the fifth best-selling model in the Creta SUV – and home-grown brand Tata.
The top 10 brands in Japan by sales are, unsurprisingly, Japanese makes, led by a dominant Toyota with a 32 per cent market share.
That correlates with the most popular models, with Toyota occupying the top four spots in the non-kei car models list.
Add in kei-car sales – the Japan-market segment for the smallest legal passenger cars with restricted size and engine capacity – and Honda’s super cute N-Box takes out second place ahead of the Corolla.
Fiat has a huge presence in South and Central America, thanks to its range of small, cheap models and strong manufacturing base in Brazil.
Brazilians have adopted the Fiat brand in huge numbers and not only is it the number one brand with more than 20 per cent market share, the Fiat Strada compact pick-up was the most popular new model last year.
The cute ute outsold two sub-compact cars including the Brazilian-built Hyundai HB20 hatch, and another Fiat, the Argo.
No one will be shocked that the Hyundai Group dominates the South Korean car market. Hyundai, Kia and Genesis own the top three places on the best-selling brands list and between them have an unassailable market share of 74 per cent.
Hyundai led its Kia sister brand for overall sales by about 56,000 units, but the big surprise was South Korea’s top-selling model last year. It was the Hyundai Porter, also known as the H-100, a light truck that’s been on sale in fourth-generation guise since 2004.
Despite having a population of 144 million people, the Russian new-vehicle market isn’t much bigger than Australia’s, with 1.7 million cars sold in 2021.
Renault Group-owned Russian brand Lada is still the top pick for Russians and the Vesta small car topped the list in 2021. It was followed by the ageing Lada Granta sub-compact car and the Kia Rio in third.
That’s not the same Rio hatch Australians know. It’s a Russian/Chinese market model built in Russia.
Those with long memories might recall Lada’s presence in Australia for about a decade starting in 1984, with the standout model being the Niva four-wheel drive. Well, that model – which, confusingly, shares its name with a GM-developed model – is still a top seller, coming in at number six last year.
I promised Kazakhstan and here it is. The top seller in the Central Asian country is the Chevrolet Cobalt.
The Uzbekistan-built compact car is underpinned by GM’s Gamma II platform which was the same as the last Holden Barina sold in Australia.
It outsold another Chevrolet, the Nexia, which is branded as a Ravon Nexia. That model is also based on an old Barina, from 2005, which itself was a rebadged Daewoo Kalos.