Global sales of the Ford Focus stayed strong through the first quarter of the year, bolstered by strong demand in China and Brazil.
According to the auto maker, that demand was enough to keep the Focus in the top sales spot through the first quarter of 2013. Global registrations increased 18 percent for the Focus compared to the same time last year. Globally, the company said there were 288,724 Focus registrations according to data from R.L. Polk.
The rising demand is prompting Ford to ramp up its production capacity, adding its Pacheco, Argentina plant as the ninth facility to build the car worldwide.
In the U.S., demand for the Focus also continues to increase. Through July, sales totaled 151,549, up a modest 2.4 percent over the same time last year.
Ford made similar claims about the Focus last year, which Toyota disputed. The Japanese automaker claimed its Corolla compact still held the top spot. Ford issued a press release about Focus sales, only to see Toyota fire back the following day, saying Corolla sales were actually 100,000 greater than the Focus.
The dispute rested on Toyota claiming derivative models like the Matrix as part of its overall Corolla sales. Ford, meanwhile, counts all forms of the Focus including the high-performance ST and electric models.
Competition between the two companies is heating up as Toyota prepares to launch the next generation Corolla with all-new styling. The 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine carries over on the base model, but Toyota will also offer a more fuel efficient “Valvematic” version it says will offer a five percent fuel efficiency gain.
Don’t be surprised if Toyota replies in similar fashion to Ford’s statement sometime very soon.
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