Friday, 28 April 2017

UK Top 10 Models : 1970-74

The best Cortina (IMO), the Mk III. It was hugely popular in NZ too

Imports were increasing their presence but still all the Top 10 models were either UK (green) or US (blue) owned. From 1963 to 1971, the 1100/1300 range had been the best seller (except for 1967). In 1972 that run came to an end. In fact that was the last year that a UK model was number one. From that year to 2015, a Ford has always been top, quite a record.

Ford had now secured the two top spots and would do so until 1984. The Morris Marina arrived as a Cortina rival and reached second place in 1973 but was unable to do better than that. A much maligned car, it was in a fact a competent, practical car. Our family owned an Australian made Leyland Marina, with a 2.6L six cylinder engine. The boot was huge, the seats very comfortable (better than the UK ones) and it was a much liked car by our family.

The Hillman Hunter had been a Top 10 regular for several years but just missed out in 1974 with 33,000 sales. It ended up being made in Iran and it did its job well there. By brother had one and an underrated car again. It and the Avenger replaced the Minx and both did better in sales. Again as personally owning one of the last NZ assembled Avenger cars (GLS Alpine) I can say it was a very practical vehicle. My mother commented they were the most comfortable rear seats she had ever sat in (again better than the UK model).

Yes, we also owned an Austin Maxi and we must be easily pleased (if critics are to be believed) as that served us very well too. A new arrival in 1974 was the Austin Allegro to replace the 1100/1300, big shoes to fill. A close friend had one and it nearly became my first car. I offered to buy it off him when he planned to move overseas, but that didn't eventuate.

Vauxhall weren't doing well at the time, the Viva the only car in the Top 10 in 1974. My wife owned one when we met and married and I have to say it didn't impress me. I think the brand had lost its way at the time.

The share of sales the Top 10 achieved fell from 65 to 55% in five short years, revealing a trend that would continue down to 2015. 1970 was the last time the Top 10 was over 60% of total market share.


Ford Cortina131,234181,607187,159102,214123,025

Ford Escort91,699114,296140,83789,14395,782

Austin/Morris Mini89,68696,38396,314103,18080,740

Morris Marina81,444115,041104,96841,164

Vauxhall Viva71,88997,89399,39392,99476,838

Austin Allegro60,619

Hillman Avenger60,24478,64478,72963,47650,133

Triumph Toll / 150039,798

Ford Capri37,569

Austin Maxi36,07252,85353,98442,867

Off / Mor 11/1300

Hillman Hunter55,93455,60048,80043,111

Ford Granada

Austin 1800


Vauxhall Victor


Top 10700,254891,974961,870756,528701,791

% of Total55.253.758.758.865.2


Data source: SMMT.

Other years in the series:

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