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Europe 1979: Renault 5 new best-seller

Renault 5 Europe 1979The Renault 5 is Europe’s favourite car in 1979.

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

After 6 consecutive years of domination of the Fiat 127, the Renault becomes the most popular car in Europe in 1979, 7 years after its original launch. It is followed by the VW Golf and Fiat 127.

Full Year 1979 Top 3 models Ranking Table below.

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West Germany 1976-1979: VW Golf establishes leadership

VW Golf

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 80/100 best-selling models! Thanks to Florian for the data *

The VW Golf progresses all through the period to establish itself as Germany’s solid leader, passing the 200,000 annual sales for the first time in 1976 (202,265) and the 250,000 mark in 1979 (257,673).

Opel Ascona

The Opel Ascona shines in 1976 and reaches a best-ever 2nd place at 149,348 units before falling to #3 in 77, #5 in 78 and #7 in 79.

Mercedes W123

The Mercedes W123 on the contrary replaces the ‘Strich 8’ on the German ranking’s podium, grabbing an outstanding 2nd place each year from 1977 to 1979, peaking at 203,320 units in 1979 and therefore becoming only the third model in Germany’s car history to sell more than 200,000 units in a single year after the VW Beetle and Golf…

Audi 80

The 3rd place changes hands each year and is held by the Ford Taunus in 76 (143,750 sales), the Opel Ascona in 77 (153,992), the Opel Rekord in 78 (168,730) and the Audi 80 in 79 (157,216), the very first time an Audi climbs onto the German podium!

VW Scirocco

Other models selling more than 100,000 annual units over the period are the Opel Kadett, peaking at 143,906 sales in 79, the VW Passat (151,330 in 78), the Audi 100 (115,853 in 78) and the Ford Granada (113,922 in 78). Notice also the arrival of the Ford Fiesta in 76, peaking at #8 in 79, the VW Derby landing directly in 12th position in 77 and the VW Scirocco peaking at #17 in 78.

Mazda 323

All through the period, the Renault 4 continues to be the best-selling foreign model in Germany, brilliantly maintaining itself within the Top 20. Other successful imports are the Simca 1307/1308 (#20 in 76), the Renault 5 (#21 in 76), the Fiat 131 (#22 in 76), Fiat 128 (#24 in 76), Peugeot 504 (#25 in 76), Fiat 127 (#25 in 77), Renault 18 (#18 in 79) and Fiat Ritmo (#23 in 79). The Mazda 323 is the first Japanese car to rank within the German Top 30 at #30 in 1979.

Previous post: West Germany 1975 VW Golf takes the lead

Full 1976-1978 Top 80 and 1979 Top 100 Ranking Tables below.

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UK 1977-1979: Ford Cortina back on top, Morris Marina #3

Ford Cortina

* See the 60 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

New car sales in the UK are back on the up over the period, at +3% in 1977 to 1,323,524 registrations, +20% in 1978 to 1,591,941 and +8% in 1979 to a record 1,716,275 units. In the meantime the imports market share goes from 45.4% in ’77 to 56.3% in ’79, the first time ever imports sell more than local brands in the UK…In fact, a Japanese model ranks within the year-end UK Top 10 for the first time in 1977: the Datsun Sunny at #10 with 35,357 sales and 2.7% share, reiterating this performance in 1978 (37.923). The Sunny peaked at #7 in September 1977, January 1978 and September 1978.

Datsun Sunny

After one year of interruption in 1976, the Ford Cortina, helped by the 4th generation just launched, resumes its domination of the English car market by finishing #1 in 1977, 78 and 79 when it peaks at 193,784 sales which would remain its best ever year. The Ford Escort ranks #2 each year while the Morris Marina rounds up the podium in 77 and 78, passed by the ever-valiant British Leyland Mini in 1979. Looking at the monthly rankings over 1978, it’s worthwhile noting that the Ford Escort led UK sales from August to October 1978 and the Morris Marina was the best-seller in the country in November 1978.

Morris Marina

The Ford Fiesta, Ford’s new supermini launched in 1976, ranks #9 in 77, #5 in 78 and #6 in 79. The Austin Allegro is #5 in 77 and 79 and #6 in 78. Notice also theVauxhall Cavalier (#7 in 78) and Ford Granada (#7 in 79) appearing in the Top 10 over the period and the Rover SD1 up to #13 in 78.

Full Year 1977/78 Top 10 and 1979 Top 60 Ranking Tables below.

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Spain 1978-1979: Seat 127 and Ford Fiesta lead the way

Ford Fiesta

* See the 1978-1980 sales figures for the Ford Fiesta by clicking on the title! *

Thanks to René and Ricardo, I am now able to share with you more detail on the best-selling models in Spain in 1978 and 1979. The podium is unchanged over both years, with the Seat 127 still in the lead, but now followed by the Ford Fiesta and Renault 5.

Previous post: Spain 1974-1977: Seat 127 reaches record levels

Full Year 1978-1980 Ford Fiesta sales figures below.

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Argentina 1979: Ford Falcon comes back

Ford Falcon Argentina 1977. Picture courtesy of Falcon, Argentina spec

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

After 5 years of absence, the Ford Falcon manages to reclaim the title of best-selling car in Argentina in 1979 thanks to 28,522 units sold, an impressive 55% increase on its 1978 score, 72% on 1977 and 229% on 1976! The Falcon would end up being the 2nd most produced model in Argentina by the time it finished its career in the 1990s with almost 500,000 units produced in this country alone!

World 1979: VW Golf passes Toyota Corolla to claim top spot

Japanese VW Golf

Let’s go back in time once again, this time by almost 35 years…

Thanks to René, one piece of the puzzle of Historical World car sales has been added today: based on information published in Dutch newspaper Limburgs Dagblad in 1981, we learn that the VW Golf, originally launched in 1974, managed to pass the Toyota Corolla to become the best-selling model in the entire world in 1979… A title it lost straight after in 1980 when the Corolla reclaimed the world crown by far… So there, the Corolla’s reign was interrupted for one small year between 1974 and 1998 when the Opel Corsa led the way, although I am still after World models rankings from 1981 to 1989 and from 1992 to 1996 to be able to 100% confirm this…

You can find all 1960-2011 World Historical Data here

Previous post: World 1975-1978: Toyota Corolla in the lead

Next post: World 1980: Toyota Corolla clear leader, Renault 5 and VW Golf follow

Source: Limburgs Dagblad, many thanks to René for sharing the data!

Switzerland 1970-1979: VW Golf interrupts Opel domination

VW Golf

* See the Top 25 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

Thanks to Rene I can now share with you a Top 25 by decade in Switzerland, giving us a great insight into the best-selling models in the country at that time. This decade marks the arrival of the VW Golf atop the Swiss models charts, VW’s Beetle replacement managed to take the lead for its first full year of sales in 1975 and never looked back, even raking #1 over the decade with just 5.5 years of sales at 92,108 units.

Opel Kadett

The Opel Kadett with 83,667 sales and Opel Rekord at 80,534 shared the top spot during the first half of the decade. In 4th place overall we find the Ford Taunus at 73,841 units, the Volvo 142-245 at 64,361 (first non-German model) and the Opel Ascona at 59,888.

Opel Rekord

The VW Beetle is still valiant at #7 with 58,451 sales, ahead of the Fiat 128, Mini and Toyota Corolla, by far the best-selling Japanese model at #10 and an exceptional performance for the time. The Renault 4 is the best-selling Frenchie at #11, followed by the Peugeot 504 and Citroen GS. Further down the ranking, notice the Renault 5 at #16, the Fiat/Seat 127 at #18, Opel Manta at #21 and Citroen 2CV at #24.

Next post: Switzerland 1980-1989: VW Golf and Opel Kadett on top, the Japanese land

Full 1970-1979 overall Top 25 Ranking Table below.

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USA 1979: Chevrolet places Impala/Caprice & Chevette on podium

Chevrolet Chevette

* Click on the title for the Top 10 best-selling models – thanks to Adam for the data! *

The Chevrolet Impala/Caprice enjoys its third consecutive year atop the American ranking with 449,001 sales, down 28%, while the Oldsmobile Cutlass hangs onto its 2nd place for the third year in a row also, down just 1% to 404,068 units. The Chevrolet Chevette is the best-selling newcomer in the Top 10 this year, directly to #3 with 375,724 sales.

The Chevrolet Malibu stays 4th at 344,323 units, down 8% and the Ford Fairmont is down 2 spots and 17% to #5 and 338,819 sales. Other newcomers are the Chevrolet Citation at #6, the Ford Mustang at #7, the Buick Regal at #10…

Toyota Corolla

…and the Toyota Corolla at #8. This is the first time a Japanese car ever ranks within the American Top 10, and certainly not the last! The Corolla sells 275,934 units in 1979.

Previous post: USA 1978 Chevrolet Impala/Caprice #1, Ford Fairmont arrives

Next post: USA 1980: Oldsmobile Cutlass reigns Supreme, or Chevy Citation?

Full 1979 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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France 1979: Renault 5, 18 and Peugeot 305 on podium

Renault 5

* See sales of all French models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

The Renault 5 is the best-selling car in France for the 6th consecutive year and it holds a 10.8% market share in 1979.

Renault 18

Launched in 1978, the Renault 18 is an instant hit with French consumers: it ranks 2nd as early as for its first full year of sales in 1979 with a robust 7.7% market share.

Peugeot 305

The Peugeot 305 rounds up the podium with 6.8% of the market, ahead of the Peugeot 104 at 5%, the Renault 4 at 4.8%, the Renault 14 at 4.7% and the Citroen Visa at 4.6%. Notice the Talbot Horizon at #8 with 4.3% share and the Peugeot 604 at #17 with 0.6%.

Full Year 1979 sales of all French models: click on ‘Read more’ below the Peugeot 604 pic.

Peugeot 604

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Greece 1962-1979: Ford and Opel pass the relay to Fiat and Japs

Toyota was the best-selling brand in Greece in 1974, 75 and 79 if pick-up trucks are included.

* See the #1 brands for the period by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Bill *

The Greek market undergoes impressive growth over the period: from 7,572 registrations in 1962 to a record 119,814 in 1978, the first time more than 100,000 vehicles are sold in a single year in the country. Thanks to Bill I can share with you the total sales figures and the best-selling brand for each year between 1962 and 1979.

Launched in 1966, Datsun was the #5 brand in Greece in 1970, #1 with pick-ups

All through the sixties Ford, Volkswagen and Opel dominate the roads but in the early seventies Fiat debuts a decade-long domination, while the Japanese start to really make their mark. Datsun is the 5th best-selling passenger car brand in the country as early as 1970 and goes up to #1 in the passenger car+trucks rankings in 1971 thanks to very strong sales of pick-ups. Toyota does the same in 1974, 1975 and again in 1979 thanks to its pick-up trucks. It is #5 in the passenger car rankings at that time.

The Fiat 127 was among the best-selling models in Greece in the seventies

Fiat is the favourite passenger car brand in Greece in 1967 and from 1970 to 1979 with only one year of interruption by Lada in 1974, all this mainly due to the success of the Fiat 127, 128 and 131. Notice also the progression of Seat, #3 in 1974 and #2 in 1975… 1973-1974 were odd years when Eastern European brands were extremely successful: Lada #1 in 1974, Skoda #4, Dacia #5 and Zastava #7 all in 1973.

Previous post: Greece 1932: Ford and Chevrolet most popular, 4 US brands in Top 6

Next post: Greece 1987: Nissan Sunny, Cherry and Lada Nova on podium

1962-1979 Total sales and #1 brand, plus Top 5 brands for some years below.

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