Germany 1951-1954: VW Beetle first model over 100,000 sales

VW Beetle

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

Car sales in Germany grow steadily over the period, from 245,100 in 1951 to 383,400 in 1954. The VW Beetle grows faster than the market, selling 58,469 units in 1951 for a 23.9% market share, then 71,440 and 25.8% in 1952, 89,157 and 27.9% in 1953 and finally 113,169 units and 29.5% market share in 1954.

1954 will therefore remain the first year any model managed to sell over 100,000 units in Germany.

VW Beetle sales evolution below.

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Sweden 1950: VW Beetle best-seller

VW Beetle

* See the Top 5 best-selling brands by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rene *

There is only a brands ranking available for 1950 in Sweden and Ford is the best-seller with 16.2% of the market, however Volkswagen coming second at 13.3% means the Beetle should lead the models ranking that year. Volvo is the third best-selling brand with just under 12% share and is followed by Opel and Morris.

Full Year 1950 Top 5 Ranking Table below.

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France 1950: Renault 4CV and Citroen Traction Avant shine

Renault 4CV

* See ‘Read more’ at end of post for the France 1950 Top 15 best-selling models – thanks STAC for the tip! *

In 1950, the French market is rebooted: it is 5 years since the end of World War II, sale of petrol is not controlled anymore and raw materials are more widely available. Consumers are buying new cars again: 174,305 exactly that year, making France the largest car market in Europe by far, 3 times the volume of the UK, the 2nd biggest. Three models hold 2/3 of the market:

The Renault 4CV is king with 50,291 sales and 28.9% share. Presented at the 1946 Paris Motor Show, its production started in August 1947 and 37,000 units had been sold by mid-1949, making it the most popular car in France. It was nicknamed “La motte de beurre” (the lump of butter) due to its shape and colour: early deliveries used surplus paint from the German Afrika Korps Army vehicles which were a sand-yellow color.

Peugeot 203

In 2nd place the Peugeot 203 sells 34,012 units for a 19.6% market share. The 203 launched in 1948, was the first model Peugeot launched after the War and the only model it produced up until 1954 when the larger 403 debuted.

Citroen Traction Avant

The legendary Citroen Traction Avant takes the 3rd spot with 30,180 units sold in 1950 and 17.3% share in spite of its much higher price. Launched in 1934 it is the oldest model in the ranking.

Two more cars sell upwards of 10,000 units this year: the Simca 8 (10.2%) and Ford Vedette (7.5%). At that time Ford had a French branch and produced cars in the country. Notice the Panhard Dyna at #6 with 6,825 sales and the all-new Citroen 2CV at #7 and 6.177 units, up from 876 in 1949 which was its launch year.

Full Year 1950 Top 15 best-selling models below.

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Germany 1950: VW Beetle, Bus and Fiat Topolino on top

VW Beetle

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

In 1950 German consumers bought 223,900 new cars, up 65% on 1949. The VW Beetle continues to progress and sells 50,562 units for a 22.6% market share.

Fiat Topolino

The Fiat Topolino sells 3,123 units while the VW Type 2 or Kombi/Bus launches this year and sells 2,117 units for its first year.

VW Kombi

Notice also the Renault 4CV at 1,760 sales, the Traction Avant at 393 and the Tatra T600 at 88.

Full Year 1950 Ranking Table below.

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France 1949: Renault 4CV ramps up

Renault 4CV

Presented at the 1946 Paris Motor Show, the Renault 4CV started its production in August 1947 and 37,000 units had been sold by mid-1949, making it the most popular car in France. It was nicknamed ”La motte de beurre” (the lump of butter) due to its shape and colour: early deliveries used surplus paint from the German Afrika Korps Army vehicles which were a sand-yellow color.

This is all the information I have for this period in France so if you have more details please make sure to get in touch by commenting on this post!

Australia 1948-1949: Austin A40 dominates sales

Austin A40

I have very little information about the Australian car market over the period, only that the locally assembled Austin A40 is the best-selling model in the country in 1948 and 1949 just before the Holden cranked up its production.

If you have more information please make sure to get in touch!

Next post: Australia 1949-1959: Holden ‘Australia’s own’ launches

Source: Wheels magazine March 2012

Germany 1946-1949: Volkswagen brings the car to the people

The VW Beetle was originally named KdF-Wagen

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

The VW Beetle (Kaefer in German) was first called ‘Type 1’ and lead the models ranking during the second half of the forties, when production ramped up. Originally launched in 1938, the first 1,785 units of the model were produced in 1945 and by March 1946 the Wolfsburg factory produced around 1,000 units every month. The Beetle sold 8,184 units in Germany in 1948 and 32,557 in 1949.

Source: Wikipedia, many thanks to Florian for sharing the data!

France 1948: Last year of reign for the Citroen Traction Avant

Citroen 2CV France 1948The Citroen 2CV is unveiled at the 1948 Paris Auto Show.

* See the Top 24 brands production ranking by clicking on the title! *

Finally a frank year of growth for the new car market in France: up 64% overall to 120,557 registrations, including 50,253 cars and buses, a 4-fold improvement on 1947, and 70,304 trucks, up 27%. Only production figures by brand are available for now for 1948 and based on these my estimation is that the Citroen Traction Avant leads the models sales charts in France for the last time in 1948, before the Renault 4CV really ramps up in 1949 and most significantly before the 2CV, unveiled at the Paris Auto Show this year, becomes the brand’s best seller in the early fifties.

Citroen Traction Avant France 1938Citroen Traction Avant

Renault keeps the lead of the manufacturers ranking with 67,576 vehicles produced in 1948 (+56%), stepping away from Citroen at 42,785 (+48%) and Peugeot at 33,414 (+27%). However Citroen is the most prolific private cars manufacturer once again at 34,164 units (+49%) ahead of Renault and Peugeot. Notice the Top 6 manufacturers production ranking unchanged vs. 1947 with Simca in 4th place above Ford SAF and Berliet while Panhard overtakes Hotchkiss to rank 7th and Delahaye Delage and Chenard et Watcker rounding out the Top 10 like in 1947.

Full Year 1948 Top 24 brands Ranking Table below.

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France 1947: Citroen Traction Avant & Renault Juvaquatre on top

Renault Juvaquatre France 1947Renault Juvaquatre (pre-war model shown)

* See the Top 24 best-selling models and Top 23 brands by clicking on the title! *

In 1947 like in 1946, the large majority of vehicles produced in France were exported, as French consumers simply did not have the means (yet) to purchase a new car. As a result the French new car market is not very dynamic at 62,366 registrations (-8%) of which only 12,105 are  private cars (+107%) and 46,968 trucks (-21%). This situation would change drastically from 1948 onwards. 1947 is the first year a ranking by models is made possible by data published on French newspaper L’Argus. At the time, ‘deliveries’ were divided between metropolitan clients, French overseas territories (aka colonies) and exports.

Simca 8 France 1947Simca 8

The data itself is not exactly split by model but by fiscal power, which in actual fact describes a single model in most cases. At this little game and only taking into account Private Cars (“Voitures Particulières”), the Citroen Traction Avant (11 CV) is the winner both with deliveries in France (2,417) and overall (22,305). Add in the (slim) sales figures of the 15 CV variant and its domination is even clearer. In 2nd place we find the Renault Juvaquatre (6 CV) at 2,202 deliveries in France and 17,798 overall, while the Peugeot 202 (6 CV) rounds up the podium at 1,770 and 12,610 deliveries respectively. The Simca 8 is also successful, ranking 4th in overall deliveries. Note the 6th place of the Renault 4 CV in metropolitan France, slowly ramping up at 584 sales.

Delahaye 135 M France 1947Delahaye 135 M

In the manufacturer production ranking, Renault is in the lead with 43,317 units (+54%) ahead of Citroen (+19%), Peugeot (+91%) and Simca (+43%) overtaking the French subsidiary of Ford (+24%) while prestigious lost names like Hotchkiss (#7), Panhard (#8) and Delahaye Delage (#9) all find a way into the annual Top 10, although mainly thanks to lesser-known trucks. Citroen however keeps the pole position in the private car production charts thanks to 22,879 units (+81%) above Renault at 18,966 (+123%) and Peugeot really ramping up at 12,955, a six-fold improvement on its 1946 score… Finally, note Peugeot unveiled the 203 in 1947 which would end up breaking sales records for the brand but won’t appear in the stats until 1948.

Full Year 1947 Top 24 models and Top 23 brands Ranking Tables below.

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