Brazil 1970-1973: VW Fusca at its highest, Opala & Corcel strong

Topping off over 10 years of constant progression, the VW Fusca reaches what remains its highest production volume ever in Brazil in 1972 at 252,209 units. It then drops 6% in 1973 at 237,509. The Fusca claims 40% of the total Brazilian production in 1970, up to 45% in 1972 then down to 36% in 1973.

Chevrolet Opala

All other models are under 62,000 yearly units. The VW Variant launches in 1969 and ranks #2 in 1970 at 45,036 units produced, then #3 in 1971 and #4 in 1972 and 73. The Chevrolet Opala is released in 1969 and  is the 3rd most produced model in Brazil in 1970, up to #2 in 71 and 72, and #3 in 73.

Ford Corcel

The Ford Corcel, based on the Renault 12, drops 22% to #4 in 1970, stays there in 71 in spite of a 40% increase, then climbs up to #3 in 72 (+27%) and #2 in 73 with stable production at 61,105 units.

VW Variant

The VW Kombi stays solid over the period, from 28,255 units (#5) in 1970 to 40,748 in 1973, still 5th. The VW 1600 TL makes a short appearance in the Top 5 in 1971, the year of its launch.

Full Top 15 Production Ranking Tables for 1970, 71 & 72, Top 20 for 73 below.

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South Africa 1973: Chrysler Valiant and Ford Cortina on top

Chrysler Valiant Rebel

* See the Top 15 best-selling models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

Thanks to info shared by Miguel we go back nearly 40 years to detail the best-selling cars in South Africa in 1973… The Chrysler Valiant was the most popular model in the country then, available in four different bodies: the Rebel (sedan), Charger, Barracuda (coupes) and Safari (station wagon).

Ford Cortina

The Ford Cortina took the 2nd spot, ahead of the Hillman Hunter, later produced in Iran to become the Paykan, Ford Escort and Ford Ranger. Notice the Volvo 144/164 at #6 and the Datsun 1600 SSS at #11, the best-selling Japanese car in the country that year.

Full Year 1973 Top 15 Ranking Table and more images below.

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Italy 1973: Fiat 128 and 127 fight it out, Fiat 126 on podium

Fiat 128

Fiat 127

* See the Top 65 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Andrea *

In 1973 the Fiat 128 is the best-selling car in Italy for the 2nd year in a row, but the race was close with the Fiat 127 still gearing up 2 years after its launch. The 128 is at 200,445 sales after 11 months, down 16% on the same period in 1972, while the 127 is up 2% to 182,056 units and would end up the year at 200,600… It’s interesting to note that at a European level the roles are reversed, with the Fiat 127 leading overall sales on the continent ahead of.. the Fiat 128!

Fiat 126

However the big event this year is the arrival on the podium of the Fiat 126, launched the replace the 500, ranking directly #3 with 146,543 sales in 11 months. The Fiat 500 logically drops 56% and one spot to #4 at 78,265 units. With the Fiat 124 in 5th position, Fiat places 5 models in the Italian Top 5, a rare feat.

Alfa Romeo Alfasud

Two new Alfa Romeos arrive in the Top 10 this year: the Alfasud at #8 with 41,675 sales and the Alfetta at #9 with 31,344 sales. The Renault 5 becomes the best-selling foreign model in the country at #10 and 28,732 units, ahead of the Simca 1000, Ford Escort and VW Beetle.

Thanks to the UNRAE team, I can now share with you the Top 20 best-selling brands and most produced models for 1973 (see ‘Read more’). 1973 is the first year a brand other than Fiat manages to sell over 100,000 units: Alfa Romeo is the 2nd best-selling brand in the country with 123,503 sales.

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Full 11 months 1973 Top 65 Ranking Table below.

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Norway 1972-1973: Volvo 140, Beetle and Ford Taunus on podium

Volvo 144

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rene *

The Norwegian car market “consolidates” over the period: down 8% in 1972 to 74,680 and back up 19% in 1973 to 88,989 units. The Volvo 140 Series confirms its newly acquired leadership by reaching what would remain its highest ever year-end share in the country in ’72 at 10.7% thanks to 7,973 sales and maintains itself at a solid 9% in ’73 at 7,990 units.

Ford Taunus

The Top 4 stays unchanged over the period with the VW Beetle at #2 and 7.4% share in ’72, 7.1% in ’73 and the Ford Taunus at #3 and 5.3% in ’72 and 6.4% in ’73. The Opel Rekord/Caravan is #4 both years at 4.6% and 4.3% share. We welcome the Opel Ascona is the Top 10 at #6 both years.

Mazda 616

Japan passes a new benchmark in Norway 1973: for the first time in the history of the country a Japanese model manages to rank within the overall Top 5 at year-end and it’s the Mazda 616/1600/1800 ranking 5th with 3,164 sales and 3.6% share, up 34% on 1972. By this time it is the only Japenese model left in the Top 10 whereas there were 3 in 1970, 71 and 72.

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Full Year 1972 and 1973 Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Europe 1972: VW Beetle and two Fiats on top

VW Beetle Europe 1972Last year of European reign for the VW Beetle…

* See the Top 3 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Flavio *

This is the oldest official sales data I have about Europe, and it shows the VW Beetle in the lead with 439,200 sales ahead of the Fiat 128 at 408,600 units and the Fiat 127 at 347,100. This would end up being the last time the Beetle dominates the European sales charts…

Full Year 1972 Top 3 Ranking Table below.

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Argentina 1971-1972: Ford Falcon reclaims leadership

Ford Falcon Argentina 1970. Picture courtesy of testdelayer.com.ar1970 Ford Falcon, Argentina spec

* Many thanks to Bruno for making this post possible! *

After leading the Argentinean new car market in 1965, the Ford Falcon reclaims the pole position in 1971 thanks to 26,135 sales, and in 1972 with 25,312 units. Bizarrely, it reaches its highest annual sales volume in 1973 with 35,595 units finding a buyer in Argentina alone, but this isn’t enough to secure the model the #1 ranking that year, a position held for the first time by the Fiat 128…

France 1972: Simca 1100 best-seller

Simca 1100

1972 is a particular year for the French car market: the Simca 1100 takes the lead of the models sales ranking for just one year, and it would be the last Simca model to do so with the pole position being split between Renault and Peugeot models for the next 40 years! I have no detailed data for this year so if you do please get in touch!

Simca 1100

USA 1972: Chevrolet Vega threatens VW Beetle

1971 Chevrolet Vega

While going through old issues of Wheels Magazine at the Sydney State Library I fell upon some info on the US car market in 1972: then the VW Beetle’s domination of the small car segment was being threatened by the new Chevrolet Vega… Despite fire-risk carburettor and exhaust problems necessitating the recall of 130,000 cars and sabotage on the assembly lines (!) the Vega topped 520,000 sales in the States only in 1972 with the formerly invisible class-leading VW Beetle reaching 560,000.

Please note this may not reflect the top of the ranking as it is only information about the small car segment. If you have more detailed information on the best-selling models in the US before 1974 please make sure to get in touch by commenting on this article!

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Italy 1972: Fiat 128 best-seller, Fiat 127 arrives

Fiat 128

* See the Top 60 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Andrea *

Launched in 1969, the Fiat 128 becomes the best-selling car in Italy in 1972 and sells 239,675 units over the first 11 months of the year. During the same period the Fiat 127 lands in 2nd place with 181,068 sales (and 197,557 over the full year) while the Fiat 500, #1 up until 1971, drops to 3rd place at 176,005 units. The Fiat 124 follows with 95,497 sales.

Fiat 127

The Leyland-Innocenti Mini shines in 5th position, followed by the Autobianchi A112 and the Alfa Romeo Giulia. The Simca 1000 is the best-selling foreign model at #8 ahead of the Ford Escort (#10) and Opel Kadett (#11).

Thanks to the UNRAE team I can now share with you the Top 20 best-selling brands and most produced models in 1972 (see ‘Read more’ to check it out).

Previous post: Italy 1970-1971: Fiat 500 leads, Fiat 128 up to 2nd place

Next post: Italy 1973: Fiat 128 and 127 fight it out, Fiat 126 on podium

Full 11 months 1972 Top 60 Ranking Table below.

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Finland 1971: Fiat 600 & Toyota Corolla shine, Moskvitsh Elite #6

Fiat 600

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rene *

It’s a ranking of another time, but one that shows the Italian, Japanese and Russian influences the Finnish car market displayed at the start of the seventies. The Fiat 600 is the best-selling car in the country in 1971 and by very far, selling more than double the amount of the #2 at 7,579 sales vs. 3,641 for the Opel Kadett. The Toyota Corolla brilliantly rounds up the podium at 3,479 units only a few year after starting to be exported outside of Japan, showing that Finnish consumers were early adopters of Japanese models.

Moskvitsh Elite

This trend is confirmed by the 4th place of the Datsun 1200 with 2,854 sales, while the Datsun 1000 ranks #15 and the Mazda 1300 is #17. Coming from neighbour Sweden, the Volvo 140 ranks 5th with 2,481 units while the Moskvitsh Elite delivers an outstanding 6th position with 2,322 sales, Finland being one of the few countries in the world the model got exported to. Notice also the Saab 96 at #7, the VW 13oo at #12 and the Mercedes 220 at #16.

Next post: Finland 1981: Lada 2105 takes control, Datsun Cherry #2

Full Year 1971 Top 20 Ranking Table below.

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