Ford's Focus has overtaken the Toyota Corolla in the sales charts. Unremarkable, you might say? Not when you realise this is the global sales mantle, making the Focus the best-selling car name on the planet in the first half of the year.
It's proof Ford's 'One Ford' gamble has paid off - to truly nail the 'world car' conundrum, streamlining production costs but still keeping consumers happy.
How many Focuses has Ford sold in 2012?
In the first six months of 2012, Ford shifted 489,616 Focus models worldwide. In comparison, the nearest competitor - Toyota's venerable Corolla - sold 462,187 examples.
What makes the feat more impressive is that the Blue Oval only switched to its 'One Ford' programme a few years ago, with a view to streamlining its operations and building global models, rather than umpteen variants for bespoke markets. CEO Alan Mulally's mission when he joined Ford was to reduce the number of models sold globally from 97 to just 20. Click here for his explanation why.
The US Focus is near identical to that sold in Europe and elsewhere around the world, barring emissions regs, local legislation and the vagaries of global spec preferences.
Ford's 2012 output milestones
So far, Ford has been racking up the big-number celebrations this year. Last week, Ford produced the 350 millionth vehicle in its history, at the Rayong plant in Thailand. The century-plus output is equivalent to turning out one vehicle every 10 seconds for 109 years, enough to stretch to the moon and back twice if parked end to end, says Ford proudly.
And in July 2012 Ford's Dagenham UK plant built its 40 millionth engine since operations began there in 1931.
So One Ford is the answer to Ford's problems?
Well, it's certainly a boon. But don't forget Ford is on track to lose $1 billion in Europe in 2012 - it's only keeping its head above water thanks to strong sales elsewhere in the world. But it makes you wonder about the state of the balance sheet if it hadn't embarked on its global harmonisation programme.
For CAR's review of the ultimate current Focus - the 247bhp ST - please click here.