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UK 1984-1985: Ford Escort, Vauxhall Cavalier & Ford Fiesta on top

Vauxhall Cavalier

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

The Ford Escort continues to dominate the English car market in 1984 and 85 with around 157,000 sales both years while the Top 5 best selling cars stay unchanged: the Vauxhall Cavalier is up to a best-ever 2nd place with 127,509 then 134,335 sales, and the Ford Fiesta back up to #3 with about 125,000 sales each year.

MG Metro

The Austin/MG Metro stabilises in 4th position and the Ford Sierra drops to 5th. The Austin/MG Maestro spends one more year at #6 before the arrival of the Montego at #7 in 1985. The Ford Orion, a 4 door version of the Escort, breaks into the Top 10 at #9 in 1984 and ranks 8th in 1985.

1984 and 1985 Top 20 Ranking Tables: see ‘Read more’ below the MG Maestro pic.

MG Maestro

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USA 1985: Ford F-Series and Chevrolet Cavalier on top

Ford F-Series

* See the Top 209 models and Top 35 All-brands by clicking on the title! Thanks Austin and Y *

In 1985, 10,968,515 new vehicles found a buyer in the USA, up 7% year-on-year. The brands ranking is fascinating: 11 American carmakers in the Top 15, 4 of them have disappeared since: Oldsmobile at #3 with 1,087,641 sales, Pontiac at #8 with 782,617, Mercury at #9 with 561,387 and Plymouth at #11 with 481,216. Toyota is the best-selling foreign brand at #5 with 905,405 units, followed by Nissan at #7 and 798,891 and Honda at #10 and 528,095. Notice also AMC-Renault at #20 with 145,733 sales and Peugeot at #30 and 18,101 units – both French manufacturers gave up on the US market shortly after that time.

Chevrolet Cavalier (1982 model)

The Ford F-Series is the best-selling vehicle in the country with 562,507 sales ahead of the Chevrolet C/K at 436,910. The Chevrolet Cavalier is #3 and best-selling Passenger Car at 431,031 units, ahead of the Ford Escort at 420,690, Chevrolet Celebrity at 363,619 and Oldmsobile Ciera at 333,585.

AMC-Renault Encore

The Toyota Hilux/SR5 ranks at a brilliant 7th place thanks to 291,442 sales, while Oldsmobile places the Cutlass Supreme at #12 and the 88 at #15. The Chevrolet Camaro is #14, the Nissan Sentra is the most popular imported Passenger Car at #19 and 179,230 units, with the Toyota Corolla following at #20 and 168,378 sales. Notice also the US-made Honda Accord at #30, the Mercury Cougar XR7 at #42, the AMC-Renault Alliance selling 71,501 units (#73) and the AMC-Renault Encore at 39,172 sales (#117).

Previous post: USA 1982-1984: Ford F-Series takes command

Next post: USA 1986: Chevrolet Celebrity leads passenger cars

Full Year 1985 Top 209 models and Top 35 All-brands Ranking Tables below.

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Australia 1985: Ford Falcon increases gap with Commodore

Ford Falcon Australia 1985Ford Falcon

* See the Top 15 best-selling brands and Top 20 models by clicking on the title *

1985 sales of new cars in Australia are up a further 9% to 695.856 units, a new record that would hold until 1997. Ford (24.5%), Toyota (19.3%) and Holden (18.5%) hold onto their respective rankings this year, while Mitsubishi (+28%) leaps in front of Nissan (-6%) to claim #4 overall with 11.5% share. Mazda is stable at 5.6%, resulting in a Top 6 holding a mammoth 88.8% of the market. The Ford Falcon (+12%) increases its advantage over the Holden Commodore (+11%) to over 14.000 units with the Ford Laser (+12%) remaining on the third step of the podium and the Toyota Corolla up 5 spots and 36% to #4. Mitsubishi replaces the Sigma by the Magna: an instant success at #5 for its first annual appearance in Australia.

Full Year 1985 Top 15 brands and Top 20 models vs. Full 1984 data below.

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Greece 1985: Opel, Nissan and Zastava in the lead

Zastava Yugo 45 Greece 1985Zastava is the #3 brand in Greece in 1985, mainly thanks to the Yugo 45.

* See the Top 15 best-selling brands by clicking on the title. Thanks to Bill *

New car sales in Greece are up a fantastic 19% year-on-year in 1985 to 78.534 units. One of the reasons behind this significant growth is the year-long rumours that the local currency, the Drachma, was about to go through devaluation, which did happen in October 1985 when it depreciated by 15%. Also, because of high tax rates, low-end and affordable cars from Eastern Europe are a very popular choice: Yugoslavian brand Zastava manages to step onto the podium at an impressive third place with 8% market share thanks to the Yugo 45 and 1100 while Lada ranks 5th with 7% share thanks to the 1200. Opel leads the overall brands ranking with 12.1% share, its best-seller being the Kadett E 1.2, followed by Nissan (Sunny 1.3).

Previous post: Greece 1962-1979: Ford and Opel pass the relay to Fiat and Japanese carmakers

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

Full Year 1985 Top 15 brands Ranking Table below.

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France 1985: Peugeot 205 at its highest, Renault Supercinq arrives

Peugeot 205

* See the Top 172 best-selling models by clicking on the title *

Stable market in France in 1985 at 1,766,328 registrations. The Peugeot 205 has what will remain its best year, peaking at a record 15.4% share in February and hitting 12.9% of the market at year-end thanks to 226.974 sales. French consumers can’t get enough of the GTI version, fast becoming an icon of the eighties…

Renault Supercinq

After a wobbly transition during 1984, the Renault Supercinq, the successor to the 5 launched in August last year, establishes itself in 2nd place in December ’84 and stays there until September ’85 when it ranks #1 for the first time. 1985 is indeed the start of the most tightly fought rivarly for the title of best-selling car in France, a rivalry that still extends to today with the 207 vs. Clio… The Supercinq finishes its first full year of sales at 184,218 units and 10.5%.

Citroen BX

The Citroen BX climbs onto the podium and reaches its best year-end share at 7% thanks to 123,164 sales. The Renault 11’s success was short-lived: it is down 19% this year to #4 and 6.6%. The Renault 25 delivers its best year at #5 with 82,696 sales and 4.7%, an exceptional score in France for a car that large and expensive.

Renault 25

The Ford Fiesta is the best-selling foreign model in France this year, reaching an excellent 7th place thanks to 46,359 units sold. It is followed by the VW Golf (#10), Ford Escort (#12), Fiat Uno (#15), Ford Sierra (#16), VW Polo (#18) and Opel Kadett (#19). Notice also the Peugeot 309 landing directly at #21 and the Seat Ibiza up 98 spots to #35 for its first full year. The Mazda 323 is the best-selling Japanese model at #44.

Previous year: see the 1984 France Top 20 best-selling models here.

Full Year 1985 Top 172 and Monthly Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Spain 1985: Renault 11 distant leader

Renault 11

* See the Top 60 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Rutger *

In 1985 the Spanish new car market is up a very healthy 11% year-on-year to 539,868 registrations. The Renault 11 is by far the best-selling model with 74,583 sales and nearly 14% market share! The Opel Corsa ranks #2 at 44,457 units and 8.2% while the Peugeot 205 rounds up the podium with 41,292 sales and 7.6% ahead of the Renault Supercinq at 33,418 units and 6.2%.

Seat Malaga

The Ford Fiesta and Renault 9 follow, with the Ford Escort and VW Polo completing the list of models selling over 20,000 units this year in Spain. Seat places 4 models in the Top 20: the Panda at #9 with 18,982 sales, the Malaga at #12 and 17,588 units, the Ibiza at #14 with 16,403 sales and the Ronda at #17 and 10,397.

Previous post: see the Spanish 1980 Top 20 best-selling models here.

Next post: see the Spanish 1989 Top 60 best-selling models here.

Full Year 1985 Top 60 Ranking Table below.

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China 1980-1985: Fiat 126p best-seller, 1 passenger car for every 6 million people

Fiat 126P China 1980. Picture courtesy of chinacartimes.comFiat 126p taxi in Shanghai, China

* See the Full article by clicking on the title! *

Up until 1979, cars were an extremely rare sight on Chinese roads, only high ranking civil servants were permitted to have cars and a privately owned vehicle was unthinkable. In the early eighties, China bought 10,000 Fiat 126P from Poland, but as they were too small for official use and personal car ownership was not yet permitted the cars became part of the taxi fleet.

Eventually car ownership rules were relaxed which allowed for the 126p to be sold on the private market at a price of 5,000 yuan, an astronomical sum at the time but not out of the reach of the nations first entrepreneurs who eagerly snapped them up, the majority in Shanghai where the economic reforms were really having an effect on consumer spending habits. Later on the Toyota Crown and VW Santana would join the market at the price of 10,000 yuan but the 126p continued to be a strong seller with 30,000 units being sold each year on average during the eighties.

A fascinating article from the Christian Science Monitor describes China in 1985: 1 passenger car for every 6 million people, the cheapest model on sale being the Fiat 126p  at 23,000 yuan ($8,000), with the Toyota Crown, popular with officials, selling for 80,000 yuan ($28,500). 1985 was the year China’s first passenger car sales offices opened their doors. The CSM describes the scene: “In Beijing, some 200 people a day pour into the trading center’s newly built offices to look over glossy brochures and to study a chalkboard listing the prices and models of cars and trucks for sale.

There is no showroom and there are seldom any vehicles to inspect. The center provides no servicing and no financing – cash must be paid in advance. And buyers have to travel to the port of delivery to pick up imported models – to Tianjin (2.5 hours away by train) or more likely to a port near Canton (36 hours by train)… Buyers need only a letter of introduction from their work unit, neighborhood committee, or village government. The letter must confirm the need for a vehicle and attest that it will not be resold for profit.”

The CSM continues: “Owning a car in China is so unusual it hasn’t become a status symbol. Out of some 3 million vehicles on China’s roads, about 170,000 are passenger cars. Most are state-owned. In Beijing, a city of 9.5 million people, fewer than 1,000 Chinese own their own cars, according to local residents. Car owners include top officials, celebrities, or leading intellectuals. How times have changed!

Full articles below.

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Italy 1985: Fiat Uno close to 22%, Renault 5 on podium

Fiat Uno

* See the Top 15 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Andrea *

New car sales in Italy are up 7% this year to 1,745,898 registrations. The Fiat Uno is the best-selling car in the country for the third consecutive year with sales up 15% to 382,100 units and an outstanding 21.9% market share. It even reaches 25.3% share in December thanks to 26,600 sales!

Renault 5

The Fiat Panda comes 2nd again but see its figure go down 6% to 119,650 units and 6.9% share. For its first full year of sales as the new ‘Supercinq’ the Renault 5 impresses and breaks into the podium at a fantastic 3rd place with 98,150 sales and 5.6%, up 6 spots and 129% year-on-year. This is the first time ever a foreign model ranks within the podium at year-end in Italy and perhaps the best volume and market share for any foreign model – if you know this for sure please confirm!

Lancia Prisma

The VW Golf is also very robust, up 2 spots and 61% to reach a best-ever 4th position with 96,150 sales and 5.5% share. The Fiat Regata (-17%) and Ritmo (-27%) follow. The Lancia Prisma reaches what will remain its best-ever scores in 7th place with 57,150 sales and 3.3%. The Peugeot 205 breaks into the Top 10 for the first time at #9.

Previous year: Italy 1984: Fiat Uno and Regata shine

Next year: Italy 1986: Fiat Uno at its highest – 433,700 sales and 23.8% share

Full Year and December 1985 Top 15 Ranking Tables below.

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Canada 1985: Hyundai Pony best-selling car!

Hyundai Pony

Thanks to Pedro I can share with you that the Hyundai Pony sold 50,799 units in Canada in 1985, which positions it as the best-selling passenger car in the country, and potentially the most popular vehicle outright. Am exceptional performance for the South Korean car manufacturer…