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Germany 1981-1983: VW Golf reclaims top spot

VW Golf

* See the Top 100 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Thanks Florian for the data *

On this quiet Sunday I thought I would take you for a trip down memory lane. Let’s explore the German market from 30 years ago…

After a one year-interruption by the Mercedes W123 in 1980, the VW Golf is back in pole position in West Germany, leading the way during the 1981-1983 period. Sales figures do not take off that much however, at 219,467 units in 81, 198,533 in 82 and 224,887 in 83, far from its best score of 257,673 sales in 79.

Mercedes W123

The Mercedes W123 stays strong, ranking 2nd in 81 (203,632 units) and 82 (188,719) and #3 in 83 (135,631), as does the Opel Kadett, #3 in 81 (188,565 sales), 82 (188,348) and #2 in 83 (189,993). Below this winning trio, the sands are moving: the VW Passat manages an excellent 4th place in 81 at 130,708 units, its second best year ever, then slows down to #5 in 82 and 83, while the Opel Ascona, #7 in 81, climbs onto the 4th place in 82 and stays there in 83.

Other successful models over the period include the Ford Escort, #5 in 81 and 82, the Audi 80, #6 in 81, the Ford Sierra, #6 in 83 for its first full year of sales and the BMW 3 Series up to #7 and a best-ever 91,886 sales in 83, simply the highest annual volume ever reached by a BMW model in Germany.

In the foreign models ranking, the Renault 4 finally loses its crown after over 15 years of domination, passing the relay to the Renault 5 in 81 (#19) before the Renault 9 took the lead in 82 (#16), then the Mazda 626 became the first Japanese model to top the German foreign model ranking in 83, finishing the year in 19th position with 29,152 sales…

Full Year 1981, 82 and 83 Top 100 Ranking Tables below.

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