Home > USA > USA 1981: Chevy Chevette leads, VW Rabbit up to #4!

USA 1981: Chevy Chevette leads, VW Rabbit up to #4!

VW Rabbit

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks to Adam for the data *

The Chevrolet Chevette is the best-selling car in America this year with 346,307 units sold, down 7% on 1980. That would make the Chevette the last passenger car to dominate the models ranking in the USA. It is followed by the Chevrolet Citation, 1980's #1, down 20% to 300,184 units.

Chevrolet Chevette

Excellent performance of the Ford Escort, landing directly in third position for its first full year of sales in the country with 284,907 units sold. But this year's best performer is the VW Rabbit, up 59% and 6 spots on 1980 to a fantastic 4th place with 282,240 sales. Never before had an import reached such high levels in the US.

The Toyota Corolla is also on the up, to a best-ever 5th position, albeit with declining sales at 241,639 units (-6%). There are two other newcomers in the Top 10: the Buick Skylark at #8 with 200,350 sales and the Plymouth Reliant at #9 with 189,330 units.

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Full 1981 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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Categories: USA
  1. matgasnier
    April 22nd, 2012 at 18:17 | #1


    Hi Jason,

    Thanks very much for your comment and apologies for the late response. You seem to have exhaustive access to historical car sales data for the US, and I would be very interested in knowing more about what you have access to. Would you mind letting me know? I’d love to make my site much more complete and historical US data is one of the biggest holes in my data…

    Would love to hear from you.
    Thanks very much Jason.


  2. Jason
    February 23rd, 2012 at 13:16 | #2

    According to Polk … 1981 sales : Cutlass-155,088 4 door model, Cutlass Supreme- 263,425, Cutlass Wagon- 30,598 ,,,,, all RWD models … as the Cutlass Ciera FWD wasn’t yet available….. so the Cutlass model was the Best Selling Car in 1981 … add up the numbers and it totals over 400k units in 1981 !!!!!! WOW. Also the Regal/ Regal Century and Wagon = 332,000 units sold . Rember the RWD Regal was a 2 door model and the Century Regal is a 4 door model. VW Rabbit figures include the total VW sales in 1981… VW made many models in 1981 , while the Rabbit was the best selling vw, it did’nt sell at the numbers reported. Escort sales didn’t include the Escort EXP , a 2 door sporty car , which should be added to the Escort sales …. EXP sales =51,500 sales.

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