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Brazil 1954-1961: VW Fusca leads the way

Thanks to Brazilian car sales expert Marcelo de Vasconcellos from The Truth About Cars and Quatro Rodas, I can share with you Historical Info about Brazil’s best selling models.

The VW Beetle, called “Fusca” locally, started being assembled in Brazil in 1953 with parts imported from Germany, but by 1959 the cars were 100% made in Brazil. It was an instant success, and the Fusca would go on to lead the models ranking in Brazil for over 25 years from 1954, all the way through the sixties and seventies up until 1980. Its market share would peak at over 50% in 1967 and its production would peak at over 250,000 units in 1972.

Along with the Fusca, VW produced the Karmann Ghia which, although not a mass hit, was an original addition to VW’s range in Brazil.

1962 VW Karmann Ghia

For a full, complete history of the Brazilian car industry, simply go click on the following words for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 and Part 5.

France 1961: Renault Dauphine & Citroen 2CV on top, R4 launches

Renault Dauphine

* See the Top 5 most produced models by clicking on the title! *

Today I am taking you on a trip down memory lane, to explore the best-selling models in France 50 years ago…

Launched in 1956, the Renault Dauphine is an instant hit. It becomes the best-selling car in France as early as for its first full year of sales in 1957 and hits record production figures for the times, peaking at 395,000 units in 1959. 267,000 units were produced in 1961.

Citroen 2CV

The early sixties is also the time the Citroen 2CV became a (sort of) blockbuster, 15 years after its original launch! It reaches a record 158,000 units produced in 1961 and ranks #2 overall for the very first time. France’s best-seller in 1956, the Simca Aronde stays on the podium all the way up to 1961 when 153,000 units were produced.

Peugeot 404

Launched in 1960, the Peugeot 404 immediately strikes a chord with the French consumer: it is produced at 115,000 units for its first full year in 1961. It is followed by the Peugeot 403, slowing down to 78,000 units after peaking at 182,000 in 1958.

Renault 4L

1961 is also the year the legendary Renault 4L launched. From July to December, 20,000 units of the model were produced. The Renault 4 would end up being the most successful French model ever, reaching a final production total of 8,135,424 units by the time it finished its life in 1992.

Full Year 1961 Ranking Table below.

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Germany 1958-1961: VW Beetle and Opel Rekord dominate

VW Beetle

* See ‘Read more’ for the 1958 Top 10 best-selling models! Thanks to Florian for the data *

In 1958 the VW Beetle stays comfortably on top of the ranking with 186,014 sales and 24.1% share, ahead of the Opel Rekord at 92,410 units and 12%, and the Mercedes W120 and Lloyd Alexander both at 4.6% share. The Fiat 600 and Goggomobil follow.

Opel Rekord

In 1959 the VW Beetle passes the 200,000 sales mark for the first time with 228,234 units sold while the Opel Rekord improves its share to 14.8% thanks to 135,530 sales. Then in 1960 the German market is above 1 million units for the first time at 1,071,000 registrations, with the VW Beetle delivering 297,668 sales for a 27.8% market share…

Finally in 1961, in a market up 2% at 1,095,127 units, the VW Beetle hits what will remain its highest year-end volume at 348,929 sales for a record 31.9% market share.

Full Year 1958 Top 10 Ranking Table and 1959-1961 information below.

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