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The world produces a wide variety of cars. In the U.S. alone, over 30 brands sell over 17 million vehicles every year. That’s a lot of engines, a lot of tires, and a lot of cupholders.
But which vehicles are the most popular? While Toyota sells the most vehicles of any company in the world, they are not the most popular car brand in every country—far from it.
A closer look at each continent shows just how different auto sales can be across the globe. We focused on North America with a little help from Donut Media’s James Pumphrey to get a better sense of what kinds of vehicles are popular from Canada to Costa Rica.
The most popular cars in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico
Geographically, the U.S. and Canada are not that different, at least in the part of Canada where most Canadians live. That similarity is a key reason why the same vehicle—Ford F-Series pickup trucks—topped the list in both countries.
All the wide-open spaces in the U.S. and our northern neighbors make for great pickup country, so it’s no wonder that an American-made truck would be the best-seller. In the U.S. the F-Series has topped the list for 40 years. In Canada, it’s been on top for 54 years.
Mexico has plenty of open country of its own, so it’s surprising to learn that the best-selling vehicle south of the border is the Nissan Versa, a little sedan made by a Japanese brand. Nissan Versas are available in the U.S. but aren’t even close to the most popular cars here.
The most popular cars in Central America and the Caribbean
South of Mexico, things get even more odd in terms of popular models. Toyota starts to enter the picture in Barbados, Belize, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Trinidad & Tobago.
South Korean carmaker Hyundai also has a lot of fans in the region. It’s the most popular brand in Costa Rica, Dominica, and the Dominican Republic.
Some odd models make the top of the list in a few Caribbean countries. Jamaica’s most popular vehicle is still the original Volkswagen Beetle. Cuba’s favorite car is the Lada Vesta, a Russian-made sedan. In Haiti, it’s a Daihatsu, a Toyota-owned brand.
But one American brand has managed to hold on in a few countries. Chevy sells the most vehicles in Ecuador and El Salvador.
Can you buy all these cars in the U.S.?
Many of the favorite models across North America are available in the USA but not all of them. Daihatsu stopped importing to America in the early ‘90s. Lada never made it to our shores unless independent buyers had them shipped over themselves.
Despite the wide range of models available in these countries, almost all the most popular models are affordable and small, making them easy to buy and insure.
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