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Finland 1985-1988: Toyota and Nissan on top, Corolla best-seller

Toyota and the Corolla are the most popular brand and nameplate over the period.

* See the Top 50 All-brands and Top 50 models by clicking on the title *

The Finnish new car market gains 8.8% in 1985 to break an all-time volume record for the 2nd year running at 138.273 units. Toyota soars 31% to take the lead of the brands ranking for only the second time ever after 1973. Nissan (+4%) is knocked down to #2, meaning the Top two best-selling brands in Finland are Japanese for the third year in a row. Opel (+21%) overtakes Lada (+1%) and Ford (-2%) to snap the third place, with Mazda (-1%) stuck at #6 above Volkswagen (+33%) and Volvo (+21%). Mitsubishi (+16%) posts another strong year but remains outside the Top 10 at #11. Citroen (+34%) and Peugeot (+32%) shine but Skoda (-20%) and Talbot (-48%) struggle and we welcome Seat in the ranking at #22.

Over in the models aisle, after winning for 10 out of the past 11 years, the Lada 1200-2107 (+1%) finally gives up its throne to the Toyota Corolla surging 57% to 8.4% and edging past the Lada for just 182 units. The Nissan Sunny (-2%) also drops one spot to #3, followed by the Opel Kadett (+54%), Ford Escort (-11%) and Mazda 323 (-2%). The Opel Ascona (+15%) is up three spots to #7, the Fiat Uno (+32%) breaks into the Top 10 at #10 and the VW Golf (+69%) is up 13 spots to #11.

Nissan is #2 over the period, with the Sunny climbing to #2 model in 1987 and 1988.

1986 marks a third consecutive record year with sales up 3.5% to 143.183 units. Toyota (+10%) widens the gap with Nissan (-1%) while Lada (+10%) reclaims the #3 spot off Opel (-2%) with Ford (+2%), Mazda (+9%), Volkswagen (-2%) and Volvo (+1%) camping on their positions. After five years of missing out by not much, Mitsubishi (+23%) finally breaks into the Top 10 at #9, knocking Fiat (-13%) out. Seat (+125%), Subaru (+78%), Isuzu (+58%), Peugeot (+35%) and Honda (+29%) also impress.

The Toyota Corolla (+4%) remains the best-seller while the Lada 1200-2107 (-8%) starts to be affected by the launch of the Lada Samara (#25) but still ranks #2. The Nissan Sunny (+7%) and Opel Kadett (+3%) camp on their position while the Mazda 323 (+25%) overtakes the Ford Escort (+3%) for #5. The Toyota Carina (+33%) jumps 7 spots to make it two Toyotas in the Top 7, a first. The Saab 900 (+18%) and Mitsubishi Lancer (+65%) impress while the VW Golf (+1%) still hasn’t managed a single Top 10 finish.

The Lada 1200-2107 remains on the podium over the period.

1987 brings another volume record – the fourth in a row – with Finnish registrations up 5.8% to 151.431. Toyota (+20%) is more dominant than ever at 14.8% share and 22.373 sales, the highest annual volume hit by any carmaker in Finland since stats began in 1956. In fact, the entire Top 10 brands remain unchanged vs. 1986 with Nissan (+3%), Lada (+15%) and Opel (+1%) rounding out the Top 5 and Volvo (+10%) the only other double-digit gainer. Below, Subaru (+90%), Peugeot (+23%) and Audi (+18%) shine but Fiat (-26%) and Seat (-19%) struggle.

Model-wise, the Toyota Corolla (+17%) continues to improve its share, now at 9.3%, followed this time by the Nissan Sunny (+34%). It is the first time two Japanese nameplates lead the Finnish models ranking. The Lada 1200-2107 (-7%) drops to #3, its lowest annual ranking in Finland since 1972. The Opel Kadett (+1%) remains at #4 while the Saab 900 soars 37% to break into the Top 5 for the first time, knocking the Mazda 323 (-10%) down to #6. The Lada Samara (+131%) ends its first full year in market at an excellent 7th place, while the VW Golf (+11%) finally breaks into the Finnish Top 10 at #10, 13 years after the nameplate’s launch. The Camry (+216%) is the third Toyota in the Top 15 along with the Carina (#13).

The Lada Samara ranks 7th for its first full year in market in 1987.

New car sales in Finland post an incredible 5th consecutive record volume in 1988 thanks to deliveries up 14.6% to 173.473. Toyota signs a 4th win in a row but progresses slower than the market at +11% to 14.3% share, however hitting a new annual volume record for any brand in Finland at 24.749. Nissan (+16%) and Opel (+22%) grow faster but remain at a fair distance. Lada (+5%) drops to 4th place ahead of Ford (+1%) while Volkswagen (+23%) overtakes Mazda (+13%) to rank 6th, its highest position in Finland in 15 years (since 1973). Peugeot (+74%) lodges the largest gain in the Top 20 to rank 8th thanks to the success of the 405.

The Toyota Corolla (+11%) comfortably remains atop the models ladder for the 4th year running with the Nissan Sunny (+9%), Lada 1200-2107 (+7%) and Opel Kadett (+39%) in tow like in 1987 – only the second time ever two Japanese nameplates are the best-sellers in Finland. The Toyota Carina (+59%) and Mazda 626 (+50%) both get propelled back inside the Top 6 by new generations, with the VW Golf up a further 25% to a record 8th place but the Lada Samara down two ranks to #9. The Fiat Uno rallies back up 83% to #10 and the Peugeot 405 lands directly at #14 for its first full year of sales.

Previous post: Finland 1983-1984: Datsun, now Nissan stays #1, Toyota #2

Full Year 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988 Top 45 All-brands and Top 50 models below.

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