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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.

UK Full Year 1977:

PosModel1977%/761976%Pos
1Ford Cortina120,6019.1%-4%126,2389.8%2
2Ford Escort103,3897.8%-23%133,95910.4%1
3Morris Marina66,0835.0%-7%71,2885.5%4
4BMC Mini60,3374.6%-26%81,1076.3%3
5Austin Allegro56,1754.2%2%55,2184.3%5
6Vauxhall Chevette51,7633.9%18%43,8273.4%6
7Ford Capri42,8163.2%19%36,0982.8%7
8Vauxhall Cavalier41,1283.1%38%29,7622.3%13
9Ford Fiesta40,9343.1%new00.0% –
10Datsun 120 Y Sunny35,2572.7%n/an/an/an/a
Ford Granada32,2572.4%15%28,0162.2%14
Leyland Princess29,8192.3%-6%31,7022.5%10
Austin Maxi26,3392.0%-21%33,4762.6%9
Triumph Dolomite24,7641.9%-18%30,1972.3%12
Renault 514,5621.1%-7%15,6981.2%
Triumph Sports cars13,0801.0%92%6,8040.5%
Renault 1213,0191.0%-14%15,1901.2%
Rover SD112,3740.9%82%6,8160.5%
VW Polo11,8910.9%59%7,4730.6%
Toyota Corolla11,8500.9%23%9,6570.8%
MGB/Midget9,3270.7%26%7,4310.6%
Renault 166,9240.5%-29%9,8180.8%
Triumph 2000/25006,3070.5%-37%10,0830.8%
Renault 205,9640.5%298%1,4990.1%
Renault 145,5770.4%new00.0%
Rover P64,8130.4%19%4,0350.3%
Toyota 10004,3870.3%-18%5,3300.4%
BMW 3 Series4,1000.3%8%3,7880.3%
Renault 43,9570.3%-29%5,5540.4%
Toyota Celica2,9850.2%-13%3,4230.3%
Renault 62,5050.2%-46%4,6780.4%
BMW 5 Series2,4890.2%-16%2,9630.2%
Renault 301,8430.1%-25%2,4550.2%
BMW 2500-3.3/6 Series1,8330.1%59%1,1530.1%
Triumph Stag1,6440.1%-20%2,0550.2%
Toyota Corona1,6180.1%12%1,4390.1%
Toyota Carina1,5330.1%-6%1,6310.1%
Renault 15/171,5110.1%-23%1,9580.2%
Range Rover1,4820.1%-21%1,8810.1%
Toyota Cressida1,2930.1%new00.0%
Toyota Hilux5740.0%301%1430.0%
Toyota Crown4490.0%-2%4580.0%
Toyota Land Cruiser400.0%-74%1560.0%
Hillman Imp250.0%-99%4,2230.3%
VW Derby150.0%new00.0%
Wartburg Knight70.0%-98%3380.0%

UK Full Year 1978:

PosModel1978%/771977%Pos
1Ford Cortina139,2048.7%15%120,6019.1%1
2Ford Escort114,4157.2%11%103,3897.8%2
3Morris Marina82,6385.2%25%66,0835.0%3
4BL Mini72,6174.6%20%60,3374.6%4
5Ford Fiesta68,7234.3%68%40,9343.1%9
6Austin Allegro61,5353.9%10%56,1754.2%5
7Vauxhall Cavalier55,3733.5%35%41,1283.1%8
8Vauxhall Chevette52,3273.3%1%51,7633.9%6
9Ford Granada38,0992.4%18%32,2572.4%11
10Datsun Sunny37,9232.4%8%35,2572.7%10
11Leyland Princess36,8132.3%23%29,8192.3%n/a
12Austin Maxi31,9602.0%21%26,3392.0%n/a
13Rover SD131,6692.0%156%12,3740.9%n/a
14Ford Capri31,6422.0%-26%42,8163.2%7
Triumph Dolomite22,5291.4%-9%24,7641.9%
Renault 519,3731.2%33%14,5621.1%
Renault 1415,0720.9%170%5,5770.4%
VW Polo15,0230.9%26%11,8910.9%
MGB/Midget12,4320.8%33%9,3270.7%
Renault 1211,3390.7%-13%13,0191.0%
Toyota Corolla10,3150.6%-13%11,8500.9%
Renault 209,8550.6%65%5,9640.5%
VW Derby7,1110.4%new150.0%
Citroen CX7,0580.4%new00.0%
Renault 166,3070.4%-9%6,9240.5%
Triumph Sports cars5,4570.3%-58%13,0801.0%
Toyota Celica5,1310.3%72%2,9850.2%
BMW 3 Series4,7680.3%16%4,1000.3%
Toyota Carina4,2980.3%180%1,5330.1%
Toyota Cressida3,8970.2%201%1,2930.1%
Renault 43,0420.2%-23%3,9570.3%
BMW 5 Series3,0040.2%21%2,4890.2%
BMW 6/7 Series2,7250.2%49%1,8330.1%
Toyota Starlet2,5110.2%new00.0%
Renault 61,6810.1%-33%2,5050.2%
Renault 301,6400.1%-11%1,8430.1%
Toyota 10001,6260.1%-63%4,3870.3%
Renault 15/171,2210.1%-19%1,5110.1%
Toyota Hilux7720.0%34%5740.0%
Triumph Stag6780.0%-59%1,6440.1%
Toyota Crown4900.0%9%4490.0%
Triumph 2000/25004680.0%-93%6,3070.5%
Renault 18920.0%new00.0%
Toyota Corona500.0%-97%1,6180.1%
Wartburg Knight20.0%-71%70.0%

UK Full Year 1979:

PosModel1979%/781978%Pos
1Ford Cortina193,78411.3%39%139,2048.7%1
2Ford Escort131,6677.7%15%114,4157.2%2
3Austin Mini82,9384.8%14%72,6174.6%4
4Morris Marina62,4103.6%-24%82,6385.2%3
5Austin Allegro59,9853.5%-3%61,5353.9%6
6Ford Fiesta58,6813.4%-15%68,7234.3%5
7Ford Granada52,0913.0%37%38,0992.4%9
8Ford Capri49,1472.9%55%31,6422.0%14
9Vauxhall Cavalier46,5172.7%-16%55,3733.5%7
10Vauxhall Chevette44,1972.6%-16%52,3273.3%8
11Datsun Sunny31,6651.8%-17%37,9232.4%10
12Leyland Princess31,2531.8%-15%36,8132.3%11
13Austin Maxi30,1691.8%-6%31,9602.0%12
14Chrysler Alpine29,9361.7%
15Rover SD129,5761.7%-7%31,6692.0%13
16Datsun Cherry29,3711.7%
17Chrysler Horizon29,0141.7%
18Renault 1828,7241.7%new920.0%
19Chrysler Sunbeam27,7591.6%
20Chrysler Avenger27,2191.6%
21Renault 522,8591.3%18%19,3731.2%
22Lada21,8061.3%
23Volvo 24021,0431.2%
24VW Golf19,9031.2%
25VW Polo18,0361.1%20%15,0230.9%
26Renault 1417,8181.0%18%15,0720.9%
27Citroen GS17,7381.0%
28Triumph Dolomite17,2361.0%-23%22,5291.4%
29Fiat 12717,1861.0%
30Datsun Bluebird16,6101.0%
31Datsun Violet15,5940.9%
32Fiat Strada15,5780.9%
33Fiat 131 Mirafiori14,8010.9%
34Mazda 32312,0680.7%
35Peugeot 50412,0230.7%
36Honda Accord11,4710.7%
37Volvo 34010,8740.6%
38Peugeot 30510,4290.6%
39Peugeot 10410,0040.6%
40Vauxhall Viva9,8580.6%
41Fiat 1269,6270.6%
42Renault 209,3210.5%-5%9,8550.6%
43Skoda Estelle9,2860.5%
44Alfa Romeo Alfasud9,2090.5%
45Toyota Corolla9,1160.5%-12%10,3150.6%
46Opel Kadett8,8030.5%
47VW Derby8,6550.5%22%7,1110.4%
48Opel Ascona8,6040.5%
49MGB/Midget8,3070.5%-33%12,4320.8%
50Vauxhall Carlton8,0290.5%
51Lancia Beta7,9930.5%
52Toyota Starlet7,9060.5%
53Audi 1007,1670.4%
54Citroen CX6,9600.4%-1%7,0580.4%
55VW Passat6,9580.4%
56Jaguar XJ6,7460.4%
57Fiat 1286,5930.4%
58VW Scirocco6,4910.4%
59BMW 3 Series6,4850.4%36%4,7680.3%
60Audi 806,3310.4%
Renault 125,7100.3%
Toyota Celica5,2940.3%3%5,1310.3%
Toyota Carina5,2710.3%23%4,2980.3%
Triumph Sports cars4,4380.3%-19%5,4570.3%
Toyota Cressida3,3150.2%-15%3,8970.2%
Toyota Hilux1,3780.1%78%7720.0%
Toyota Corona8050.0%1510%500.0%
Toyota Crown5020.0%2%4900.0%
Toyota 100040.0%-100%16260.1%

Source: SMMT, Wikipedia, Autocar and manufacturers. Many thanks to Ryan P, Florian, Paul and Chris for all the data!

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