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Europe 1973: Fiat monopolises Top 2 spots with 127 and 128!

Fiat 127 Europe 1973Fiat 127

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

Big change atop the European sales charts this year: the Fiat 127 becomes the most popular model on the continent for the very first time, 1973 marking the first of 6 consecutive years of reign for the small Fiat. Even more impressive for the Italian manufacturer: it places a second model in second place in the ranking: the Fiat 128 in spite of sales down 15% on 1972… The VW Beetle is relegated to third position, its last appearance on the European podium.

Full Year 1973 Top 3 models Ranking Table below.

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World 1960-1973: VW Beetle conquers the planet

1966 VW Beetle

First presented in 1938 but produced from 1945 onwards, the VW Type 1, or ‘Beetle’ is the most recognised car in the world. Its total production took 10 years to reach the first million (in 1955), but then its sales boomed, helped by clever advertising and iconic status among the hippie crowd.

In 1965 alone, 1 million Beetles came out of the Wolfsburg factory in Germany, and in 1971 1.3 million units were produced around the world, the highest yearly figure of its career. This means the VW Beetle should be the best selling car in the world between around 1960 and 1973 when production dropped in advance of the launch of the VW Golf.

Total Beetle production reached 15 million in 1972 to beat the Ford Model T as the most successful model in history. By 1992 it had passed 21 million, with the final figure reaching 21,529,464 when production stopped for good in Mexico in 2003.

Next post: World 1974: Toyota Corolla takes command

Figures: Wikipedia

UK 1972-1973: Ford Cortina best seller

1970 Ford Cortina

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

In 1972, the UK new car market shoots up by a huge 27% to a record 1,637,775 registrations before stabilising (+1%) in 1973 at 1,661,639 units. The imports market share is up to 23.5% in ’72 and 27.4% in ’73. The second gen Cortina managed to top the ranking for one year in 1966, well the third and 4th generations would be even more successful, keeping the Cortina nameplate on top of UK sales for a total of 9 years, starting with 4 years in a row in 1972-75. In ’72 the Cortina is up 83% year-on-year to 187,159 units and 11.5% share, then down 3% in ’73 to 181,616 sales and 10.9%.

Morris Marina

The year 1972 also marks the start of an astounding 40 consecutive years of Ford models leading the UK market… The Cortina is #1 followed by the Ford Escort up 58% to 140,837 sales and 8.6%, the Morris Marina up 155% to 104,986 units and 6.4% and the  Vauxhall Viva at 6.4% also. In 1973, the Morris Marina jumps up to #2 thank to sales up 10% to 115,041 and 6.9%.

Full Year 1972 and 1973 Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Germany 1971-1973: Last years of reign for the VW Beetle

VW Beetle

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 20 best-selling models, many thanks to Florian for the data! *

The VW Beetle enjoys its last 3 years atop the German models ranking, making it 25 consecutive years. Over the period it slows down from 291,312 sales in 71 to 257,742 in 72 and 236,308 in 73. The Opel Kadett is #2 in 71 at 142,514 units but is passed by the Opel Rekord in 72 (177,280 sales) and 73 (151,202).

Opel Rekord

The Mercedes ‘Strich 8’ lodges the brand’s best scores ever in the country, ranking #4 in 71 with 129,758 sales and up to #3 in 72 at 148,122 units and in 73 with 135,447 sales. Other great performers during the period are the Ford Taunus peaking at #5 and 123,658 units in 71, the Audi 80, litterally exploding onto the German car landscape, directly #4 in 73 with 125,607 sales, and the Opel Ascona up to #6 and 96,125 units in 73.

Audi 80

The Renault 4 continues to dominate the foreign models ranking all through the period but goes down from #8 in 71 to #11 in 73. Notice also the BMW “-02” up to #8 in 72, the Fiat 128 up to #12 that same year and the birth of the VW Passat nameplate, landing directly in 12th position in 73 with 37,761 sales.

Full 1971, 1972 and 1973 Top 20 Ranking Tables below.

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Spain 1973: Seat places 4 models in Top 4, 127 leads

Seat 127

* See the Top 8 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Ricardo *

Thanks to Ricardo, I can now share with you the best-selling cars in Spain almost 40 years ago – this is the oldest data yet for this country on Best Selling Cars Blog. At that time Seat produced rebadged Fiats and had a total stranglehold over the Spanish market. The Seat 127 is the most popular model with a mammoth 91,435 sales. The 127 would go on to lead the Spanish models ranking for the following 5 years up until 1978, peaking at an enormous 125,066 units in 1974, still today the highest volume ever reached by a single model in one year in Spain.

Seat 124

Seat 850 at its launch in 1966

Back to 1973: the Seat 124 ranks 2nd with 68,760 sales, the Seat 850 rounds up the podium at 51,234 units, followed by the Seat 1430 with 41,568 sales. Renault also was very popular that year, placing the Renault 12 at #5, the Renault 5 at #7 and the Renault 6 at #8… Lastly the Simca 1200 ranks 6th at 37,895 units.

Next post: Spain 1974-1978: Seat 127 reaches record levels

Full Year 1973 Top 8 Ranking Table below.

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France 1973: Renault 12 in pole position

Renault 12

The Renault 12 is the best-selling car in France in 1973 but I don’t have any sales data so if you do, please get in touch by commenting on this post!

Citroen GS

Production figures show the Renault 12 in the lead too by a large margin with 322,793 units, ahead of the Citroen GS at 216,304 units, the Renault 5 at 207,727 units, the Peugeot 504 at 206,467 and the Renault 4 at 197,786.

Peugeot 504

Full 1973 Top 5 Production Ranking Table below.

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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.

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

Next post: Italy 1974-1978: Fiat 127 takes the lead, Fiat 131 on podium

Full 11 months 1973 Top 65 Ranking Table below.

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