World Best Selling Small Cars 2017


World Best Selling Small Cars 2017 dominated by the Volkswagen Polo. albeit losing terrain. In second place the Toyota Yaris, despite is the oldest among top sellers. The raising stars are the Citroen C3 in 10th, up 9 spots and Chinese Baojun 310, 14th.


We classify as “Small Cars” compact vehicles with a length between 3.50 and 4.10 mm. In North America this segment is called sub-compact car (according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a passenger car not exceeding 165 inches (4,191 mm) in length, but larger than a microcar) while in Europe the segment equates roughly B-segment. While traditionally the segment was composed by vehicles hatchback or sedan, in recent evolution new models have been produced within the 4.10 mm with a MPV (Multi Purpose vehicles) shape and even with a SUV look. While we are able to sub-segment the market both by size and by body, for the scope of this report, we include in “Small Cars” segment just sedan and hatch models, considering we have a report dedicated to SUVs and MPVs.

Global Sales

In the 2017, the “Small Cars” segment, accounted for the 16.6% of the global car passenger’s sales, with 13.2 million vehicles sold, up 4.7% from the previous year.

The top three markets for this segment are China, Japan and India.

Japan represents 10.3% of global segment sales, due to the need of compact cars in the heavy congested metropolitans areas, in a country with one of highest people density per square kilometer. In the 2017 the segment improved 18.7% from the previous year.

China tops the segment due to the huge size of the market. However, it counts only 10.2% of total, up 8.7% from the previous year, while within the light vehicles market China is over 30% of total sales.

India represents 9.2% of total market, up 6.9% from the previous year. The segment is sustained by local legislation with growing duties for vehicles above 4.00 mm of length.

Best Selling Models

Coming from the victory in the 2016 ranking, in the 2017 the global segment-leader was again the Volkswagen Polo with 653.000 units (-7.0%) with a huge gap over all the followers. Produced since the 1975, in over 12 million units so far. In September 2017 the 6th generation was released for sales in almost all countries in the World.

In second place, the Toyota Yaris with 526.000 units (+5.6 %). Launched in the 1999, first generation Yaris represented a break-trough for Toyota in Europe, becoming the first volume model in the Continent and definitively open the road for success for the Japanese brand. Since 2011 the third generation is distributed and is the oldest model among the top 10 in the segment. Since 2013, different version of the Yaris, based on the Toyota Vios (XP150), was launched for the Asian market – including China, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines (sales data are included in our report).

In third place the Renault Clio with 405.000 units (-2.4%). Launched in 1990, Clio is actually at the 4th generation (launched in the 2012). The Clio is one of only three cars, the others being the Volkswagen Golf and Opel Astra, to have been voted European Car of the Year twice, in 1991 and 2006.

In fourth place the Ford Fiesta, with 401.000 sales (-13.1%). Developed as a European project, the first generation Fiesta was released in the 2016 and only the 6th generation was distributed and produced all over the World. Just in September the 7th generation was on sales, following the over 16 million models sold in the last 41 years.

In fifth place the Peugeot 208 with 312.000 sales (-1.5%) followed by the Honda Fit with 306.000 (-8.0%). This model is distributed in Europe under the nameplate “Jazz”, with 122.000 sales. If Honda would distribute this car under only one nameplate, it would be the third in the World with 428.000 units.

In seventh place the Kia Rio with 282.000 (+0.1%) followed by the Hyundai i20 with 275.000 (+5.8%), the Opel Corsa with 245.000 sales (-12.3%) and in 10th place the Citroen C3, up 9 spots and the highest improvement among Top 10, with 239.000 units (+38.1%).

To be mentioned the Baojun 310, landed in 14th place (from 52nd) and projected to be within the Top 10 in the 2018.

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Data Source

This report is done utilizing data extracted from our GAD (Global Auto Database) the wider Auto Sales Database actually existing in the World, with sales data by region/area/country broken down by type/size/body-style/brand/model from January 2010 to the last month. Data are collected by over 300 sources, including all the official providers (local Minister of Transportations or Associations of car Manufacturers).


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Rank 2017Rank 2016Sales 2017Sales 2016Variation 2017
11Volkswagen Polo653.178702.222-7,0%
22Toyota Yaris526.977499.1835,6%
34Renault Clio405.407415.525-2,4%
43Ford Fiesta401.404462.053-13,1%
56Peugeot 208312.385317.171-1,5%
65Honda Fit306.357332.963-8,0%
78Kia Rio282.348282.2050,1%
89Hyundai i20275.109259.9735,8%
97Opel Corsa245.002279.315-12,3%
1019Citroen C3239.843173.66438,1%