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USA 1997: Toyota Camry takes command of passenger cars

Toyota Camry

* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on ‘Read more’ at end of post! *

This year the traditional leading pick ups take a breather: the Ford F-Series is down 4% at 750,000 sales and the Chevrolet C/K is down 2% at 515,000 units. 1997 is the year the Toyota Camry became the best-selling passenger car in the USA with 400,000 sales, up 11%. It would hold that title for 12 of the next 13 years!

The Ford Explorer is down to #4 at -2%, ahead of the Dodge Ram (+4%), Honda Accord (stable) and Toyota Taurus, down a worrying 11%. Notice the Honda Civic up 2 spots and 11% to #8 and 315,000 sales and the Chevrolet Cavalier up 4 spots to #10 at 300,000 units.

Previous year: see the 1996 USA post here.

Full Year 1997 Top 30 Ranking Table below.

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Brazil 1997: VW Gol and Fiat Palio at their highest

Fiat Palio

In 1997 the two best selling cars in Brazil reach levels they haven’t managed to beat since. In spite of the strong competition coming from the Fiat Palio, the VW Gol increases its sales by 1% on 1996 at 361,402 units, its best ever year in Brazil. In August 1997 it sells 34,964 units, its best-ever month in Brazil, still unbeaten to this day.

For its first full year of sales, the Fiat Palio delivers 290,820 units, an increase of 85% over 1996 and its best ever figure. It also beats its monthly volume record in April 1997 at 28,965 units, and becomes #1 for the first time in November 1997 for its 20th month of sale in Brazil. See the first 2 years of sales of the Palio compared to the Gol by clicking on ‘Read more’ below.

Fiat Palio Weekend

The Chevrolet Corsa Hatch stays 3rd with sales up 3% at 195,890, followed by the Fiat Uno, ‘killed’ by the Palio at -54% and 92,973 sales. Excellent performances of the Ford Fiesta (+65%), Chevrolet Vectra (+68%) and VW Parati (+61%).

Two all-new models enter the Top 10: the Ford Ka at #8 with 54,086 units and the Fiat Palio Weekend at #10 with 46,953 units.

Full Top 20 Ranking Table and 1996-1997 Gol-Palio monthly sales comparo below.

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Romania 1969-1997: Dacia 1300/1310 reigns

1979 Dacia 1310

In August 1969, Dacia launches the 1300, a rebadged Renault 12 that would dominate car sales in Romania for more than three decades with a market share of around 65 to 80%, in effect moulding the country’s car landscape. It is relaunched as 1310 in 1979 and goes through subtle facelifts in 1983, 1989, 1993 and 1999.

Exactly 1,959,730 units were produced from 23 August 1969 to 21 July 2004, including 1,716,660 sedans, 230,107 station wagons, 7,822 hatchbacks and 5,141 coupes. A majority of these were sold within Romania as Dacia had limited success in export markets during that period.

1969 Dacia 1300

More pictures and sources below.

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Sweden 1997: Volvo V70 and V90 dominate

Volvo V70

* See the Top 30 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

The Swedish car market is up 25% year-on-year in 1996 to 225,263 registrations. The Volvo 850 gets replaced by the S/V/C70, denoting the Sedan, Versatile (Station Wagon) and Coupe versions. Sales are not split in 1997 and add up to 25,972 units and 11.5% market share.

Volvo V90

At the same time, following the new naming structure Volvo has adopted, the 900 Series is relabelled S/V90 and overall sales of these models reach 14,285 units and 6.3%. The Volvo S40/V40 is up 4 spots and 66% on 1996 to land in third place at 11,182 sales and 5%. It is the first time in a long while (ever?) that Volvo monopolises the podium. Given the fondness of the Swedish consumer for station wagons, it is reasonable to assume that the two best-selling models over the period are the Volvo V70 and V90.

Volvo S40

As far as foreign models are concerned, the Ford Escort reclaims the leadership this year at #4 overall with 9,089 units and 4%, followed by the Ford Mondeo at #5 with 7,645 sales and 3.4% and the VW Golf at #6 with 7,635 units and 3.4% also. The Saab 9000 and 900 rank #7 and #8 respectively while the VW Passat and Renault Megane round up the Top 10.

Previous post: Sweden 1995-1996: Volvo 850 at its best

Full Year 1997 Top 30 Ranking Table: click on ‘Read more’ below.

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Germany 1997: Last year of VW Golf III reign, Passat up to #4

VW Golf

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

At 3,528,179 registrations and up 0.9%, the German car market passes the 3.5 million mark for the third time only after 1991 and 1992. No surprises on top, the VW Golf III leads the way again but for the last time, down 18% at 262,284 units and a slim 7.4% share. The 4th generation, launched late in the year, appears in the ranking at #48 with 16,531 sales.

Opel Astra

The Opel Astra also enjoys its last year as the current generation and resists surprisingly well at -4% with 191,254 sales and 5.4% share. The 3 following models all reach 4% of the market and fit within 1,800 sales: the Opel Corsa stays 3rd with 142,750 units, the VW Passat, relaunched this year, is up 8 spots and 30% at 141,092 sales and the Opel Vectra is up 8% to #5 and 140,964 units.

VW Passat

There are only two foreign models in the Top 20 and they are both Renaults: the Renault Twingo snaps the top spot from the Megane at #17 and 57,284 sales vs. #19 and 50,032. Two models break into the Top 20 for their first full year of sales this year: the Audi A3 is #15 with 64,940 sales and the Ford Ka is #16 at 60,609 units. Notice also the Renault Scenic landing directly in 28th place with 30,760 sales.

Full Top 100 Ranking Table below.

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Poland 1997: Fiat Cinquecento and FSO Polonez on top

Fiat Cinquecento

* See the Top 50 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Mariusz *

477,960 new cars were registered in Poland in 1997, and 3 models hold more than 10% market share this year. The locally manufactured Fiat Cinquecento is the best-selling car in the country with 54,467 sales and 11.4% share, followed by Poland’s very own FSO Polonez at 50,610 units and 10.6% and the Fiat 126p, also produced in the country, at 48,437 sales and 10.1% share in spite of its 22 years of age!

FSO Polonez

Excellent performance of the Daewoo Tico at #4 with 42,236 units and 8.8%, while the Skoda Felicia grabs the 5th place with 24,683 sales and 5.2%. Fiat manages to place two additional models in the Top 10: the Fiat Uno at #6 and the Punto at #8, whereas Daewoo also places the Nexia at #9 and Opel has the Astra at #7 and the Corsa at #10. Further down the ranking, notice the Fiat Bravo/Brava at #13 and the Daewoo Espero at #15.

Full Year 1997 Top 50 Ranking Table below.

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Spain 1997: Seat Ibiza in the lead again

Seat Ibiza Spain 1997Seat Ibiza

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

In 1997 the Seat Ibiza manages to lead the Spanish models ranking for the second year in a row and the third time ever after 1987 thanks to 60,734 sales, up 19% year-on-year. In fact the podium is totally new, with the Renault Megane up 4 spots and 37% to #2 and 54,367 units and the Citroen Saxo up 14 ranks and 147% to #3 and 46,911 sales. The Ford Escort is down 2 to #4 and the Opel Corsa stable at #5. Notice also the Seat Cordoba up 36% to #11, Citroen Xantia up 43% to #15 and Peugeot 205 surprisingly up 29% to #18.

Previous year: Spain 1996: Seat Ibiza in pole position for the second time

Next year: Spain 1998: Renault Megane clear leader, Seat Ibiza #2

Full Year 1997 Top 20 models Ranking Table below.

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France 1997: Renault Megane snaps up pole position!

Renault Megane Scenic

* See the Top 100 best-selling models by clicking on the title! *

Catastrophic year for car sales in France: down 20% at 1,713,030 registrations, the worst total since 1975. Massive change in pole position: the Renault Megane puts an end to 5 years of uninterrupted Clio domination to become the best-selling car in France with 143,821 sales and 8.4% share, peaking at 10% in January. It is the first time in 24 years (since the Renault 12 in 1973) that the French best-seller is not a ‘mini’. However Megane figures include the Scenic MPV version accounting for 60% of total sales, as for now the two models are considered part of the same range.

Peugeot 406

The Renault Clio drops 27% to #2 and 119,844 units, its weakest full year result since the launch of the nameplate in 1990. It fell to a worst-ever 4.8% market share in June. All four following models drop significantly: the Peugeot 306 (-15%), Renault Twingo (-29%), Peugeot 106 (-37%) even though it ranked #1 for the first time in June, and Renault Laguna (-23%).

VW Polo

There are 3 newcomers in the Top 10: the Peugeot 406 is 7th at 3.7%, peaking at a fantastic 2nd place with 6.5% in June, the Citroen Saxo is 8th at 3.6%, peaking at #4 in April, and the VW Polo, brilliantly taking the lead of imported models, up 6 sots to #9 and even ranking 4th in May, potentially the best monthly position ever reached by a foreign model in France. Note the Fiat Bravo/a broke into the Top 10 in August at #9 with 3%.

Previous year: see the France 1996 Top 100 best-selling models here.

Full Year 1997 Top 100 and monthly Top 15 Ranking Tables below.

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Venezuela 1997: Chevrolet Corsa and Chrysler Neon shine

Chrysler Neon Venezuela 1997Chrysler Neon

* See the Top 25 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Ricardo *

Before today the oldest Venezuelan Historical Data I had managed to get my hands on dated from 2002, but now thanks to Ricardo I can share with you what the most popular models were there 15 ago in 1997… The Chevrolet Corsa was the favourite back then with 11,714 sales and 6.7% ahead of the Toyota Corolla at 10,781 and 6.2% and the Chrysler Neon with 10,288 units and 5.9%.

Notable appearances include the Chevrolet Blazer at an impressive 4th place, the Fiat Palio at #7, Jeep Grand Cherokee at #12 and the Chevrolet Lumina at #18. The title of best nameplate goes to the Toyota Macho (#19, aka Land Cruiser) followed closely by the Toyota Samurai (#22)…

Most recent Venezuela post: March 2013: Chevy Aveo and Ford Fiesta back on top

Full Year 1997 Top 25 Ranking Table below.

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