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Portugal 1997: Opel Corsa reclaims pole position, Fiat Marea #17

Opel Corsa

* See the Top 20 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to José *

After two years of interruption by the Fiat Punto in 1995 and 1996, the Opel Corsa reclaims the pole position in the Portuguese models ranking in 1996 and ranks Number 1 for the third time in the last 5 years. The Fiat Punto is down to #2, followed by the Ford Fiesta, VW Polo and Renault Clio. The Citroen Saxo is up 5 spots on last year to #6 and passes its twin the Peugeot 106 (#7) while the Honda Civic maintains itself within the Portuguese Top 10 at an excellent #9.

Fiat Marea

Outside the Top 10, the Rover 400 stays at a very solid 12th place , the Peugeot 306 and Opel Vectra are both up 7 ranks to #14 and #16 respectively, the Fiat Marea brilliantly breaks into the Portuguese Top 20 for the first time, up 27 spots to #17 and the Hyundai Accent is the first Korean model to rank within the year-end Top 20 in Portugal, up 14 ranks on 1996 to #18.

Previous year: Portugal 1996: Fiat Punto on top, Honda Civic up to #8

Next year: Portugal 1998: Opel Corsa and Fiat Punto fight it out

Full Year 1997 Top 20 Ranking Table below.

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Italy 1997: Fiat Punto at its highest

Fiat Punto

* See the Top 100 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Flavio/Marc *

Thanks to aggressive scrappage schemes, the Italian car market is up a massive 39% this year to a record-breaking 2,402,363 units. The Fiat Punto also break records with 375,159 sales, up 31% and still today the nameplate’s highest year-end volume in Italy, however its market share slips down slightly to 15.6%.

The Fiat Panda enjoys a (very strong) second wind, back in the Top 10 to #2 with 112,829 sales, just above the Lancia Y doubling its sales vs. 1996 at 112,687 units and 4.7% share. The Fiat Cinquecento is up 46% to 101,858 sales and the Opel Corsa is up 3 spots to #5 with 97,593 sales and the best-selling foreign model in Italy this year above the Ford Fiesta, down 4 spots to #6.

Fiat Marea

Notice the Peugeot 106 and Fiat Marea make their first appearance in the yearly Top 10 at #8 with 67,469 sales and #9 at 67,445 units respectively.

Previous year: Italy 1996: Fiat Punto and Bravo/a dominate

Next year: Italy 1998: Fiat Punto, Panda and Lancia Y dominate

Full Year Top 100, January, February, May and June 1997 Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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World 1992-1997: Toyota Corolla reinforces world domination

1992 US spec Toyota Corolla

* See the 1997 Top 28 best-selling models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

The Toyota Corolla should be the best selling car in the world over the period with at least 900,000 units produced each year. The only official data I have is for 1997 when the Corolla sold 998,867 units, ahead of the Opel Corsa at 893,771 and the Honda Civic at 730,295.

Honda Civic

The Toyota Camry, helped by its US score, is 4th with 690,199 sales, followed by the Fiat Punto at 656,283, the VW Golf at 623,519 and the Opel Astra at 599,179. Notice also the Ford Taurus at #15, the Brazilian VW Gol at #16, the Fiat Palio at #17 and the Mercedes C Class at #27.

Full Year 1997 Top 28 Ranking Table below.

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UK 1997: Ford Mondeo starts with a bang, Fiesta leads at year-end

Ford Mondeo

* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Florian *

In 1997, the Ford Fiesta stays on top for the second year in a row, but it didn’t look like it at the start of the year: boosted by its facelift, the Ford Mondeo was leading by a rather comfortable margin, with 6.8% share in January and 5.4% in February.

Ford Fiesta

However, the Mondeo finished the year 3rd behind the Ford Escort. The Vauxhall Vectra, Astra and Corsa follow, making the Top 6 identical to 1996. The Peugeot 306 progresses again and beats the foreign model annual volume record for the third year in a row at 66,888 sales, reaching a best-ever 7th place, the highest position a foreign model has reached at year-end in at least 40 years! In fact, Peugeot places 3 models in the Top 4 best-selling foreign cars with the 106 at #12 (+14%) and the 406 at #13 (+33%).

Peugeot 306

There are a few newcomers in the Top 30: the Citroen Saxo at #19, the Renault Megane landing at #22 and the Scenic at #24 for their first year of sales in the UK, the Ford Ka at #23 and the Volvo S/V40 at #30.

Full 1997 Top 30, January and February Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Australia 1997: Commodore & Falcon down, Kia lands

Holden Commodore

* See the Top 50 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

Record year for the Australian new car market, up 11% on 1996 to 722,642 registrations, for the first time above 700,000 and beating the 695,856 units delivered in 1985. Both in a transition year with a new model released, the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon drop quite significantly: -7% to 76,849 sales and 10.6% share for the Commodore and -8% to 71,850 units and 9.9% for the Falcon, its first time below 10% since 1991.

Ford Falcon

The Mitsubishi Magna/Verada reclaims the third spot for the 5th time in the last 7 years and the first since 1994 with a record 41,008 sales and 5.7% share, up a massive 27% year-on-year. The Hyundai Excel gains ground again but slower than the market at +9% to 38,489 units, resulting in a 4th place and 5.3% share. We’ll come back to the Koreans shortly.

Other great performers in 1997 include the Nissan Pulsar up 81% to #9, the Toyota Starlet up 298% to #12, the Mitsubishi Mirage up 231% to #17, the Mitsubishi Triton up 42% to #24, the Toyota Prado up 147% to #26, the Subaru Impreza up 60% to #30, the Land Rover Discovery up 19% to #35 and the Holden Astra up 220% to #36.

Kia Mentor

Back to the Koreans, which keep progressing year after year in Australia. On top of the Hyundai Excel at #4, the Hyundai Lantra cuts its ranking in two compared to last year to #11 with 11,674 sales, the Daewoo Cielo/Lanos is up 1% but down 6 spots to #16, the Hyundai Sonata is up 43% to #22 and we welcome a new brand in the Top 50: Kia, placing both the Mentor at #44 and the Sportage at #50…

Previous year: Australia 1996: Commodore at record 12.8%, Hyundai Excel #3

Next year: Australia 1998: Commodore breaks volume record, Hyundai Excel #1 in June!

Full Year 1997 Top 50 Ranking Table below.

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Europe 1997: Fiat Punto crowned for the first time

Fiat Punto

* See the Top 10 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

After leading for 4 months in 1995-1996, the Fiat Punto finally makes its mark over the European car market and puts an end to 14 years of uninterrupted domination by the VW Golf. The Fiat Punto is #1 during 10 out of 12 months this year, the Golf popping up to #1 in April and the Ford Fiesta leading a very odd month of August.

Opel Corsa

The Italian superstar sells 588,590 units this year, up 5%, and the VW Golf drops to #2 at 503,000 units (-21%). The Golf 4 launched in September to an extremely slow start, to the point where the Opel Corsa, #3 at 500,000 sales (+3%), and the Opel Astra, #4 at 498,000 (-2%), nearly passed it. Boosted by very strong sales of the Scenic SUV version, the Renault Megane is up 35% and 5 spots this year at #5. Note a different source places the Astra #3, Megane #4 and Corsa #5.

Fiat Brava

The Opel Vectra stays very strong and leads its category at #9 with 385,800 sales, partly due to its success in the UK. Notice the Fiat Bravo/Brava breaking into the Top 10 briefly: #9 in February at 29,510 sales and in March at 34,750, the nameplate’s best position and volume still to this date.

Previous year: Europe 1996: VW Golf resists Fiat Punto assault

Next year: Europe 1998: VW Golf, Renault Megane and Fiat Punto lead

Full Year 1997 and January to August Monthly Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Greece 1997: Hyundai Accent new favourite

Hyundai Accent

* See the Top 7 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Erik and Bill *

162,030 new cars were sold in Greece in 1997, a healthy increase of 18% over 1996. The Hyundai Accent takes the lead of the models for the first time this year with a very strong 8,774 sales and 5.4% share. It is followed by the Citroen Saxo at 4.7%, the Toyota Corolla at 4.5% and the Nissan Almera at 4.2%. VW Polo and Fiat Punto also manage to hold more than 4% of the Greek market in 1997.

Previous year: Greece 1996: Fiat Punto in the lead

Next year: Greece 1998: Hyundai Accent dominates

Full Year 1997 Top 7 Ranking Table below.

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Argentina 1997: The only year the Renault 19 finished #1

Renault 19

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 10 best-selling models! Many thanks to Bruno for the data *

While the Renault Megane has already replaced it in Europe, the Renault 19 manages to snap away from the VW Gol the title of best-selling car in Argentina in 1997 for… 19 units! The 19 sells 29,890 units vs. 29,871 for the Gol, both models holding 9.3% of the market…

Up 108%, the Fiat Uno jumps onto the Argentinean podium possibly for the first time with 23,995 sales and 7.5% share, just above two models breaking into the Top 10: the Ford Escort (7.1%) and the VW Polo (6.9%). Two models that would go on to enjoy phenomenal success in the country make their first appearance in 1996: the Fiat Palio at #7 with 5.7% share and the Chevrolet Corsa at #8 with 5.5%.

Full Year 1997 Top 10 Ranking Table below.

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