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South Africa: 1973-2017 Historical Data now available

The Datsun Stanza was #1 in South Africa in 1980

The direct links to 18 Historical Data articles are below.

BSCB is now able to shed some light on the South African car market between 1973 and 2012 with selected years’ Top 10 best-selling models now available. After the Chrysler Valiant in 1973, Japanese cars took ownership of the ranking, with the Datsun Stanza Number 1 in 1980 and the Toyota Corolla in 1984.

The Toyota Corolla may have been South Africa’s best-seller from 1984 to 2005

The Corolla may have kept the pole position for a full 20 years, however I don’t have data for each year over the period so cannot confirm this (if you do please get in touch by commenting on this post). Other successful models in South Africa over the period include the Toyota Cressida, Chevrolet Chevair, BMW 3 Series, Mazda 323, Honda Ballade, VW Golf, Toyota Conquest, Ford Tracer, VW Polo, Polo Vivo, Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger

South Africa Historical Data:

South Africa 1973: Chrysler Valiant and Ford Cortina on top

South Africa 1980: Datsun Stanza and Chevrolet Chevair shine

South Africa 1984: Toyota Corolla starts its reign

South Africa 1986: Toyota Corolla, Mazda 323 and Honda Ballade on top

South Africa 1988: Toyota Corolla and VW Golf dominate

South Africa 1992-1996: Toyota Corolla/Conquest in command

South Africa 1997-2000: Toyota Corolla and Conquest lead the way

South Africa 2003: Toyota Corolla and Hilux on top

South Africa 2004-2005: Toyota Corolla #1, VW Citi Golf and Toyota Tazz in Top 5

South Africa 2006-2007: VW Polo takes the lead

South Africa 2008: VW Polo and Toyota Hilux fight it out

South Africa 2009: Toyota Hilux likely leader

South Africa 2010: Toyota Hilux potentially in the lead

South Africa 2011: Toyota Hilux edges VW Polo Vivo out

South Africa 2012: VW Polo Vivo snaps up top spot

South Africa 2013: Toyota Hilux takes the lead, Etios up to #4

South Africa 2014: Toyota Hilux #1, Ford Ranger and Toyota Corolla shine

South Africa 2015: Toyota Hilux holds off Ford Ranger threat

South Africa 2016: Toyota Hilux sovereign in market down 11%

South Africa 2017: Toyota Hilux snaps 8th win in past 9 years

East Germany 1958-1990: Trabant and Wartburg omnipresent

1973 Trabant 601

The East German car market was unique and totally different from West Germany. The most popular model by far and one of the most famous cars in the world, reaching iconic status after the Berlin Wall Fall in 1989, the Trabant dominated the East German car landscape during the period.

The original model, the P50, introduced in 1957, was replaced by the 601 in 1963 and this model stayed practically unchanged up to its production end in 1991. In total, over 3.7 million Trabants were produced between 1958 and 1991.

Trabant painting on the Berlin Wall

Since it could take years for a Trabant to be delivered from the time it was ordered, people who finally got one were very careful with it and usually became skillful in maintaining and repairing it, and as a result the lifespan of an average Trabant was 28 years. Used Trabants would often fetch a higher price than new ones, as the former were available immediately… More on the Trabant here.

2009 Trabant nT

In 2007, Bavarian miniature vehicles manufacturer Herpa announced the project of introducing the Trabant nT, a new, all-electric version of the model. Production was planned to start in 2012 but has been put on hold since. More about this here.

1966 Wartburg 353

Another symbol of the East German car industry is the Wartburg, with the 353 produced between 1966 and 1985, then replaced by the 1.3 from 1985 to 1991.

Source: Wikipedia


Argentina 1973-1975: Fiat 128 and Ford Falcon fight it out

1973 Ford Falcon, Argentina spec

* Many thanks to Bruno for making this post possible! *

In 1973, while the Argentinean Ford Falcon undergoes its first (and only) major renewal, the Fiat 128 takes the opportunity to become the most popular model in the country. I have not managed to find out how many sales the 128 clocked up over the period, only figures for the Falcon are available: in 1973, 35,595 Falcons changed hands which is the nameplate’s strongest year ever but weirdly it ranked #2 that year. The Falcon is back in pole position in 1974 in spite of sales down 27% to 25,870 units, but gives up its throne to the Fiat 128 once again in 1975, a year it sold a sad 11,525 units in the country.

Fiat 128 Argentina 1973. Picture courtesy of Fiat 128 was #1 in Argentina in 1973 and 1975.

Europe 1973: Fiat monopolises Top 2 spots with 127 and 128!

Fiat 127 Europe 1973Fiat 127

* See the Top 3 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Flavio *

Big change atop the European sales charts this year: the Fiat 127 becomes the most popular model on the continent for the very first time, 1973 marking the first of 6 consecutive years of reign for the small Fiat. Even more impressive for the Italian manufacturer: it places a second model in second place in the ranking: the Fiat 128 in spite of sales down 15% on 1972… The VW Beetle is relegated to third position, its last appearance on the European podium.

Full Year 1973 Top 3 models Ranking Table below.

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UK 1972-1973: Ford Cortina best seller

1970 Ford Cortina

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

In 1972, the UK new car market shoots up by a huge 27% to a record 1,637,775 registrations before stabilising (+1%) in 1973 at 1,661,639 units. The imports market share is up to 23.5% in ’72 and 27.4% in ’73. The second gen Cortina managed to top the ranking for one year in 1966, well the third and 4th generations would be even more successful, keeping the Cortina nameplate on top of UK sales for a total of 9 years, starting with 4 years in a row in 1972-75. In ’72 the Cortina is up 83% year-on-year to 187,159 units and 11.5% share, then down 3% in ’73 to 181,616 sales and 10.9%.

Morris Marina

The year 1972 also marks the start of an astounding 40 consecutive years of Ford models leading the UK market… The Cortina is #1 followed by the Ford Escort up 58% to 140,837 sales and 8.6%, the Morris Marina up 155% to 104,986 units and 6.4% and the  Vauxhall Viva at 6.4% also. In 1973, the Morris Marina jumps up to #2 thank to sales up 10% to 115,041 and 6.9%.

Full Year 1972 and 1973 Top 10 Ranking Tables below.

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Germany 1971-1973: Last years of reign for the VW Beetle

VW Beetle

* See ‘Read more’ for the Top 20 best-selling models, many thanks to Florian for the data! *

The VW Beetle enjoys its last 3 years atop the German models ranking, making it 25 consecutive years. Over the period it slows down from 291,312 sales in 71 to 257,742 in 72 and 236,308 in 73. The Opel Kadett is #2 in 71 at 142,514 units but is passed by the Opel Rekord in 72 (177,280 sales) and 73 (151,202).

Opel Rekord

The Mercedes ‘Strich 8’ lodges the brand’s best scores ever in the country, ranking #4 in 71 with 129,758 sales and up to #3 in 72 at 148,122 units and in 73 with 135,447 sales. Other great performers during the period are the Ford Taunus peaking at #5 and 123,658 units in 71, the Audi 80, litterally exploding onto the German car landscape, directly #4 in 73 with 125,607 sales, and the Opel Ascona up to #6 and 96,125 units in 73.

Audi 80

The Renault 4 continues to dominate the foreign models ranking all through the period but goes down from #8 in 71 to #11 in 73. Notice also the BMW “-02” up to #8 in 72, the Fiat 128 up to #12 that same year and the birth of the VW Passat nameplate, landing directly in 12th position in 73 with 37,761 sales.

Full 1971, 1972 and 1973 Top 20 Ranking Tables below.

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Spain 1973: Seat places 4 models in Top 4, 127 leads

Seat 127

* See the Top 8 best-selling models by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Ricardo *

Thanks to Ricardo, I can now share with you the best-selling cars in Spain almost 40 years ago – this is the oldest data yet for this country on Best Selling Cars Blog. At that time Seat produced rebadged Fiats and had a total stranglehold over the Spanish market. The Seat 127 is the most popular model with a mammoth 91,435 sales. The 127 would go on to lead the Spanish models ranking for the following 5 years up until 1978, peaking at an enormous 125,066 units in 1974, still today the highest volume ever reached by a single model in one year in Spain.

Seat 124

Seat 850 at its launch in 1966

Back to 1973: the Seat 124 ranks 2nd with 68,760 sales, the Seat 850 rounds up the podium at 51,234 units, followed by the Seat 1430 with 41,568 sales. Renault also was very popular that year, placing the Renault 12 at #5, the Renault 5 at #7 and the Renault 6 at #8… Lastly the Simca 1200 ranks 6th at 37,895 units.

Next post: Spain 1974-1978: Seat 127 reaches record levels

Full Year 1973 Top 8 Ranking Table below.

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France 1973: Renault 12 in pole position

Renault 12

The Renault 12 is the best-selling car in France in 1973 but I don’t have any sales data so if you do, please get in touch by commenting on this post!

Citroen GS

Production figures show the Renault 12 in the lead too by a large margin with 322,793 units, ahead of the Citroen GS at 216,304 units, the Renault 5 at 207,727 units, the Peugeot 504 at 206,467 and the Renault 4 at 197,786.

Peugeot 504

Full 1973 Top 5 Production Ranking Table below.

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Brazil 1970-1973: VW Fusca at its highest, Opala & Corcel strong

Topping off over 10 years of constant progression, the VW Fusca reaches what remains its highest production volume ever in Brazil in 1972 at 252,209 units. It then drops 6% in 1973 at 237,509. The Fusca claims 40% of the total Brazilian production in 1970, up to 45% in 1972 then down to 36% in 1973.

Chevrolet Opala

All other models are under 62,000 yearly units. The VW Variant launches in 1969 and ranks #2 in 1970 at 45,036 units produced, then #3 in 1971 and #4 in 1972 and 73. The Chevrolet Opala is released in 1969 and  is the 3rd most produced model in Brazil in 1970, up to #2 in 71 and 72, and #3 in 73.

Ford Corcel

The Ford Corcel, based on the Renault 12, drops 22% to #4 in 1970, stays there in 71 in spite of a 40% increase, then climbs up to #3 in 72 (+27%) and #2 in 73 with stable production at 61,105 units.

VW Variant

The VW Kombi stays solid over the period, from 28,255 units (#5) in 1970 to 40,748 in 1973, still 5th. The VW 1600 TL makes a short appearance in the Top 5 in 1971, the year of its launch.

Full Top 15 Production Ranking Tables for 1970, 71 & 72, Top 20 for 73 below.

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