A mini scuffle has emerged between Ford and Toyota, with both manufacturers claiming rights to the title of the best-selling car in the world so far for 2012.

The Detroit-based car maker started the battle on Friday when it announced the production of its 350 millionth vehicle – a Ford Focus – which it said was “the world’s best-selling car for the first half of 2012”.

Quoting data from IHS Automotive, Ford said 489,616 Focuses were sold across the globe in the first six months of the year, 27,429 sales clear of the second-placed Toyota Corolla on 462,187.

But Toyota hit back at Ford’s claims within hours, insisting the IHS Automotive figures quoted by Ford neglected to mention more than 140,000 vehicles that the Japanese manufacturer includes in its internal Corolla sales figures.

Among those was the Toyota Auris – the name of the Corolla hatch in Europe – which IHS sales analyst Chris Hopson told Bloomberg accounted for approximately 48,000 sales between January and June.

Toyota sold 603,840 Corollas in the first half of 2012 according to its breakdown, which also includes roughly 58,000 Corolla Verso MPVs and a number of North American Corolla Matrix sports hatches.

Hopson said the IHS data quoted by Ford applied specifically to nameplates and correctly put the Focus ahead of the Corolla, although in real terms the compact Toyota is still number one.

Toyota cannot deny Ford’s supremacy in overall sales, however, with the company’s 350 millionth vehicle rolling off the production line of the Ford Thailand Manufacturing plant in Rayong late last week.

Ford built its first vehicle in 1903, and has since produced the equivalent of one vehicle every 10 seconds in the ensuing 109 years. It took 56 years to produce its 50 millionth vehicle – a 1959 Ford Galaxie – and just 53 years to make the other 300 million.

Ford says if each one of its 350 million vehicles were placed end to end, they would stretch to the moon and back twice.

In July, Toyota announced the production of its 200 millionth vehicle.