Friday, 26 May 2017

US Car Production By Make : 1950-59

Hudson Sedan from 1952

Car making isn't that big in the US these days, truck and SUV types becoming more popular. Back in the 1950's it was a different story. The car was king. While Europe was getting back on its feet, US citizens were out buying cars by the truck load. The figures below are in thousands so you have to add three zeros. For example GM in 1950 was 3,040,000. Which brands made up each company?

GM: Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac.

1953 Cadillac Eldorado

Ford: Ford, Mercury, Lincoln and briefly Edsel.

Chrysler: Plymouth, Dodge, Chrysler, De Soto and Imperial.

American Motors: Nash, Rambler and Hudson.

S-P Corporation: Studebaker and Packard.

Kaiser: Willys, Kaiser, Henry J and Frazer.

This was a period of consolidation for the smaller makers as they struggled to survive. American Motors (AMC) was a combination of brands, notably Nash-Rambler and Hudson. Studebaker and Pachard became one but the latter brand was soon deleted. Kaiser-Frazer took over Willys-Overland and briefly created Henry J cars. Kaiser got out of cars altogether in 1955 and just made the Jeep vehicle instead.


I had Dinky cars of some of these makes. A Studebaker Hawk, Hudson Sedan, Nash Fire Chief wagon, 2 x Rambler wagon, 2 x Plymouth Plaza taxis, a Cadillac Eldorado and a Packard maybe too. They have long gone but remain in the memory. The pictures here are all of those cars.

1957 Plymouth Plaza

I was surprised how well Plymouth cars sold back then, only trailing Chevrolet and the Ford brands. As for companies, GM was well ahead of Ford and Chrysler not that far behind Ford in the early 50's. However, as the decade progressed, Chrysler fell back to a distant third. 

Each make has a story and there was so much that could be written. The article is a summary only, to keep it better focused on the overall trend. It shows the reduction in car brands that took place at this time, with the big three taking shape as the local car makers of the USA. 

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