The Datsun Stanza was #1 in South Africa in 1980
The direct links to 17 Historical Data articles are below.
Thanks to Miguel, I am now able to shed some light on the South African car market between 1973 and 2012 with selected years' Top 10 best-selling models now available. After the Chrysler Valiant in 1973, Japanese cars took ownership of the ranking, with the Datsun Stanza Number 1 in 1980 and the Toyota Corolla in 1984.
The Toyota Corolla may have been South Africa's best-seller from 1984 to 2005
The Corolla may have kept the pole position for a full 20 years, however I don't have data for each year over the period so cannot confirm this (if you do please get in touch!). Other successful models in South Africa over the period include the Toyota Cressida, Chevrolet Chevair, BMW 3 Series, Mazda 323, Honda Ballade, VW Golf, Toyota Conquest and Ford Tracer.
South Africa Historical Data:
South Africa 1973: Chrysler Valiant and Ford Cortina on top
South Africa 1980: Datsun Stanza and Chevrolet Chevair shine
South Africa 1984: Toyota Corolla starts its reign
South Africa 1986: Toyota Corolla, Mazda 323 and Honda Ballade on top
South Africa 1988: Toyota Corolla and VW Golf dominate
South Africa 1992-1996: Toyota Corolla/Conquest in command
South Africa 1997-2000: Toyota Corolla and Conquest lead the way
South Africa 2003: Toyota Corolla and Hilux on top
South Africa 2004-2005: Toyota Corolla #1, VW Citi Golf and Toyota Tazz in Top 5
South Africa 2006-2007: VW Polo takes the lead
South Africa 2008: VW Polo and Toyota Hilux fight it out
South Africa 2009: Toyota Hilux likely leader
South Africa 2010: Toyota Hilux potentially in the lead
South Africa 2011: Toyota Hilux edges VW Polo Vivo out
South Africa 2012: VW Polo Vivo snaps up top spot
South Africa 2013: Toyota Hilux takes the lead, Etios up to #4
South Africa 2014: Toyota Hilux #1, Ford Ranger and Toyota Corolla shine