UK 1977-1979: Ford Cortina back on top, Morris Marina #3

Ford Cortina

* See the 60 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in the UK are back on the up over the period, at +3% in 1977 to 1,323,524 registrations, +20% in 1978 to 1,591,941 and +8% in 1979 to a record 1,716,275 units. In the meantime the imports market share goes from 45.4% in ’77 to 56.3% in ’79, the first time ever imports sell more than local brands in the UK…In fact, a Japanese model ranks within the year-end UK Top 10 for the first time in 1977: the Datsun Sunny at #10 with 35,357 sales and 2.7% share, reiterating this performance in 1978 (37.923). The Sunny peaked at #7 in September 1977, January 1978 and September 1978.

Datsun Sunny

After one year of interruption in 1976, the Ford Cortina, helped by the 4th generation just launched, resumes its domination of the English car market by finishing #1 in 1977, 78 and 79 when it peaks at 193,784 sales which would remain its best ever year. The Ford Escort ranks #2 each year while the Morris Marina rounds up the podium in 77 and 78, passed by the ever-valiant British Leyland Mini in 1979. Looking at the monthly rankings over 1978, it’s worthwhile noting that the Ford Escort led UK sales from August to October 1978 and the Morris Marina was the best-seller in the country in November 1978.

Morris Marina

The Ford Fiesta, Ford’s new supermini launched in 1976, ranks #9 in 77, #5 in 78 and #6 in 79. The Austin Allegro is #5 in 77 and 79 and #6 in 78. Notice also theVauxhall Cavalier (#7 in 78) and Ford Granada (#7 in 79) appearing in the Top 10 over the period and the Rover SD1 up to #13 in 78.

Full Year 1977/78 Top 10 and 1979 Top 60 Ranking Tables below.

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