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Germany 1980: Mercedes W123 passes VW Golf!

Mercedes W123

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

It’s an excellent year for Mercedes with the W123 interrupting the VW Golf reign after 5 years on top with 202,252 sales vs. 200,892 for the Golf. 1980 would be the last year any model other than the VW Golf tops the Germany ranking… The Opel Kadett, helped by the new generation launched in 1979, reaches its highest volume yet at 190,504 registrations in 3rd place.

Opel Kadett

VW Jetta

The Audi 80 drops one spot to #4 at 139,843 units, while the new VW Jetta delivers an outstanding first full year of sales in 5th place with 97,170 units sold. The Opel Rekord (-1 spot), Ford Fiesta (+1) and BMW 3 Series (+2) follow.

Honda Accord

Japanese models keep getting stronger, going from 1 model inside the Top 30 last year to no less than 5 from 5 different brands this year: the Honda Accord is at #23 with 24,306 sales (+34%), the Toyota Corolla at #25 with 22,148 units (+630%), the Datsun Cherry at #27, the Mazda 626 at #28 and the Mitsubishi Colt at #29.

Previous post: Germany 1976-1979 VW Golf establishes leadership

Full 1980 Top 100 Ranking Table below.

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World 1980: Toyota Corolla clear leader, Renault 5 & Golf follow

1980 Toyota Corolla

The oldest official world models ranking I could access dates back from 1980. It shows how clearly the Toyota Corolla dominates world sales. With 771,720 units sold around the world that year, it has an advance of more than 250,000 units over the #2, the Renault 5.

This is even more impressive when we take into account the fact that in 1980, the Renault 5 was at the peak of its popularity in Europe and particularly in its native France, where it reached a best-ever (and record-breaking) 16% share of the market.

The VW Golf, launched back in 1974, is shaping up to be the Beetle replacement VW had been looking for for decades. It sold 517,619 units in 1980. A fourth model clocked up more than 500,000 sales: the Datsun Sunny. It is followed by the Chevrolet Citation at 459,353 sales.

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

Next post: World 1981-1989: Toyota Corolla from strength to strength

Full Top 5 Ranking Table: click on ‘Read more’ below the VW Golf picture.

Renault 5

VW Golf

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France 1980: Renault 5 hits highest share at 16%

Renault 5 (I couldn’t find a proper picture of the 4-door version!)

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

French consumers bought 1,873,202 new cars in 1980. Helped by the launch of the 4 door version in July 1979, the Renault 5 increases its sales to an outstanding 299,712 units, commending a record 16% market share, its highest ever and still to this date (as of 2011) the highest year-end market share reached by a single model in France since 1961 and the Renault Dauphine.

Renault 14

The podium stays unchanged compared to 1979 with the Renault 18 in 2nd position with 157,349 sales and 8.4% share, followed by the Peugeot 305 at 116,138 units and 6.2%. The Peugeot 104 stays 4th at 5.1% and the Citroen GSA is up 4 spots to #5 with 93,660 units and 5% share.

Renault 20

Three more models reach their best ever market share in France this year: the Renault 14 is in 6th place at 4.9% thanks to 91,787 sales, the Renault 20 breaks into the Top 10 in 9th position with 3.4% and 63,689 units and the Renault Fuego is #15 with 39,337 sales and 2.1% share for its first and what will stay its best year of sales.

Full Year 1980 Top 20 Ranking Table: click on ‘Read more’ below the Renault Fuego picture.

Renault Fuego

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Brazil 1977-1980: VW Fusca and Brasilia fight it out, Fiat lands

VW Brasilia

VW Fusca production in Brazil peaked at over 250,000 units in 1972 but has been slowing down since. In 1977, the drop accelerates to -22% at 161,004 units or 166,828 sales. This puts the Fusca’s best selling car title under threat by another VW star: the Brasilia.

In 1977 the Brasilia gains 11% to reach 151,986 units (and 154,231 sales). It continues to progress in 1978 at 159,097 sales vs. 165,412 for the Fusca. In 1979 the Fusca sells 165,890 units whereas the Brasilia starts to drop but stays solid at 152,434 (-4%). No official figures for 1980 but it is expected that the Fusca stays on top.

Over the period, the Brasilia managed to pass the Fusca and lead the Brazilian market 6 times: in May, October and November 1977, September and November 78 and February 79. It peaked at 17,250 sales in October 78.

Fiat 147

The other big event of the period if the arrival of Fiat in Brazil with the 147, launched in 76. It is #6 in 77 (62,782 sales), climbs onto the podium in 78 (92,331 units) and stays on it in 79 at 108,111 units. The 147 passes the 10,000 monthly sales mark and takes the 1st spot for the first time in July 1979 at 10,924 units.

VW Passat and Ford Corcel (from right to left)

The VW Passat is also very strong over the period, #3 in 77 and #4 in 78 and 79. It is even #1 in March 1979 at 10,338 sales. The Chevrolet Chevette, Ford Corcel and VW Kombi follow.

Top 20 Production and Top 5 Sales Ranking Tables for 1977, 78 and 79 below.

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Spain 1980: Ford Fiesta, Renault 5 and Seat Ritmo on top

Ford Fiesta

Renault 5

Seat Ritmo

560,000 new cars found a buyer in Spain in 1980, and two models dominate the ranking this year: the Ford Fiesta is on top with 56,900 sales and 10.2% share, just above the Renault 5 at 55,120 units and 9.9%. The Seat Ritmo rounds off the podium with 39,430 sales and 7.1%.

Renault 7

3 Renaults follow: the Renault 18 at 31,970 units, the Renault 14 at 31,310 and the Renault 12 at 31,270. The best selling Spanish car, the Seat 127, ranks 7th with 30,758 sales and 5.5% share. A exclusively Spanish oddity produced by Renault’s local subsidiary, FASA Renault, is the Renault 7, a Renault 5 sedan, totalling 14,500 sales this year to rank #16 with 2.6% market share.

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

Next post: Spain 1985: Renault 11 distant leader

Full Year 1980 Top 18 Ranking Table below.

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

1980-1981 Oldsmobile Cutlass Calais

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks Adam for the data *

I have conflicting information for the best-selling models in the US in 1980. Once source tells me the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme is on top of the overall US models ranking with 460,000 sales. Another, more detailed, places the Chevrolet Citation in pole position with 374,706 sales just above the Chevrolet Chevette at 373,988 units, and has the Cutlass at #8. The difference must be how many versions of the Cutlass are counted together or separately…

Chevrolet Citation

In third position we find the Ford Fairmont, up 2 spots on 1979 but down 16% at 285,272 sales. The Chevrolet Impala/Caprice, #1 in 1979, is down 42% to #5 at 261,819 units. Notice the Toyota Corolla up 2 spots to an best-ever 6th place with 257,315 sales and the VW Rabbit breaking into the Top 10 for the very first time at #10 with 177,118 units.

Previous year: USA 1979: Chevrolet places Impala/Caprice and Chevette on podium

Next year: USA 1981: Chevrolet Chevette leads, VW Rabbit up to #4

Full 1980 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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South Africa 1980: Datsun Stanza and Chevrolet Chevair shine

Datsun Stanza

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 10 best-selling models, many thanks to Miguel for the data! *

From 1980 onwards, Japanese models are really dominant in South Africa. Nissan/Datsun sells the Nissan Violet as the Datsun Stanza in the country and leads the models ranking this year. It is followed by the Toyota Corolla and the Chevrolet Chevair, the name of the Opel Ascona in South Africa.

Opel Ascona/Chevrolet Chevair

Other interesting models in the Top 10 include the Datsun Laurel at #5, the Alfa Romeo Alfetta at #6 and the Chevrolet Commodore, imported from Australia where it is sold as a Holden, at #9.

Full Year 1980 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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Italy 1980: Fiat 127, Ritmo and Panda on podium

Fiat 127

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Andrea *

Over the first 6 months of 1980 the Fiat 127 keeps its title of best-selling car in Italy with 123,744 sales and 13.3% share, down 18% on the same period in 1979. It is now threatened by the Fiat Ritmo, up a massive 44% year-on-year to 118,276 sales and 12.7%. The Fiat 127 finished the year on top with 220,238 units but that’s the only info I have for the full year – if you do have more please comment!

Fiat Ritmo

The Fiat Panda is an instant hit: just launched, it is already #3 over 6 months 1980 with 64,736 sales and 6.9%! As a result the Fiat 126 drops 2 spots and 49% to #4 and 45,483 units. The Fiat 131 ranks 5th, up 10% to 43,657 sales.

Fiat Panda

The Renault 5 passes the Ford Fiesta to reclaim the title of best-selling foreign model in Italy again, up an impressive 40% to 38,385 units and 4.1%, possibly the highest market share ever reached by a foreign model in the country… Notice the VW Golf making its first appearance in the Italian Top 10: the start of  a long love story with Italian consumers…

Previous year: Italy 1979: Fiat 127 and 126 dominate

Next year: Italy 1981: Fiat 127 and Ritmo neck-to-neck

Full 6 months 1980 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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Sweden 1979-1980: Volvo 240 and Saab 900 dominate

Volvo 242

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 25 best-selling models! Many thanks to Torbjörn and Rene *

In 1979 the Swedish car market is up 7% to 215,325 registrations. The Volvo 240 keeps the lead with ease at 43,117 units, up 15%, for an all-round 20% market share.

Launched last year, the Saab 900 jumps to the 2nd spot for its full year of sales at 17,543 units and 8.1%. 908,817 units of the 900 would end up being built by the end of its career in 1993. More info about the Saab 900 here.

Saab 900

The Volvo 340 stays #3 and improves its share to 5.4%, it is followed by the VW Golf, up 34% to 11,316 sales and 5.3%. The Saab 99 drops 3 spots to #5 (4%), just above the Opel Kadett (3.9%) and Rekord (3.4%). Notice the Datsun Cherry at #18.

For 1980 we only have a Top 7, with the Volvo 240 keeping the lead by far at 20.6% share, ahead of the Saab 900 up to 9.5% and the VW Golf climbing onto the podium at 5.5% share, passing the Volvo 340 at 5.4%. The Mercedes 200-240/300 is up 3 spots to #7.

Previous year: see the Swedish 1978 Top 20 best-selling models here.

Full Year 1979 Top 25 and 1980 Top 7 Ranking Tables below.

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