Once again we have a discrepancy in the #1 vehicle in the U.S. for 1981: Car and Driver places the Oldsmobile Cutlass in the lead with 454.188 sales (-3%) while other records don’t even have that nameplate in the Top 10 and instead crown the Chevrolet Chevette with 346.307 units sold (-7%). This is frustrating because it’s the very last year a passenger car would dominate the models ranking in the USA.
The Chevrolet Citation, 1980’s #1 (or was it the Oldsmobile Cutlass?) is down 20% to #2. Excellent performance of the Ford Escort, landing directly in third position for its first full year of sales in the country with just under 285.000 units. But this year’s best performer is the VW Rabbit, up 59% and 6 spots on 1980 to a fantastic 4th place. The Toyota Corolla is also on the up, to a best-ever 5th position, albeit with declining sales at 241,639 units (-6%). There are two other newcomers in the Top 10: the Buick Skylark at #8 with 200,350 sales and the Plymouth Reliant at #9 with 189,330 units.
Full 1981 Top 10 Passenger Car models ranking below.