The Ford Focus has notched up the enviable title of world's best-selling car - so far in 2012.

Nearly 490,000 units of the Blue Oval hatchback have been sold worldwide during the first half of this year, and, according to HIS Automotive, that makes it the single best-selling car.

HIS Automotive's data shows the Focus beat its nearest competitor – the Toyota Corolla – by almost 27,500 units.

The announcement comes as automotive giant celebrates the 350 millionth Ford ever made. The landmark car was a Ford Focus built at the company's Rayong factory in Thailand.

"Consider, for a moment, the enormity of 350 million vehicles," said John Fleming, Ford executive vice president of global manufacturing. "It's equivalent to producing one vehicle every 10 seconds for 109 years; and, if placed end to end, would stretch to the moon and back – twice."

Director of the UK's oldest Ford dealer, Steve Hendy of Hendy Group based on the south coast, exclusively told Autoblog: "It's no great surprise that the Focus is so popular – Ford has produced an amazing product which appeals to such a wide audience.

''At our dealerships we are finding that customers love the stunning new look, they are impressed with the class-leading technology and have really embraced innovations such as parking assist.

"The affordable price brings all of these features within the reach of so many car buyers who never thought they could afford such a great package.

"For a medium-sized family car it has a 'big car' feel to it. In fact, you could think you're in a Mondeo."