Wednesday, 5 July 2017

UK Top Four Brands : 1965-84


Considering it came out in 1962, a stylish car in its day.

The only benefit of history is if you can learn something from it. That's my philosophy, although history teachers may say there is more to the subject than that. Anyway, the figures below reveal much about an important part of UK car sales.

After World War II, the UK quickly built up it's peacetime industries such as vehicle production. What became - and I call here - BL* (British Leyland) had become a very large car maker with many nameplates. Once great, it didn't take too long for the company to start struggling with substandard management and fractious workers. Underinvestment soon led to a fine range of cars becoming increasingly mediocre. So BL lost it's way and effectively handed the top spot to Ford. It went from around 40% share in the 1960s to under 20% by 1979.

Much the same occurred with Chrysler, who in the mid sixties were progressively taking over Rootes Group (Hillman, Humber etc.). They wanted to do what GM and Ford were doing in Europe so Rootes and France's Simca was the way to do that. The problem was although there were some good Hillman cars in the 1960s, like BL the managing of Chrysler Europe left much to be desired. It too handed third place in the UK to GM Vauxhall and eventually fell away quickly from 1980, Chrysler having sold out to Peugeot in 1978.

Ford UK was a steady brand through this time, with good, consistently successful cars. GM Vauxhall lost its way from the late '60s, but closer ties with Opel improved the product and by the '80s they benefited accordingly. Nissan has been a popular Japanese brand in the UK since its arrival and made the top four in the 1980s.

Below is the chart that reveals all that is discussed above. It has the top four selling brands in the UK, from left to right. The % figure is for the make that year. The extreme right % figure in the grey column is the share the top four had of the total market. The drop in that figure is another story. For sales, add three zeros.

Yr1stSales%2ndSales%3rdSales%4thSales%%
1965BL47541Ford28925Chry13111GMV1301189
1966BL46242Ford26224Chry12311GMV1171189
1967BL43838Ford28025GMV14613Chry1351287
1968BL43538Ford30126GMV14513Chry1131087
1969BL37739Ford26427GMV11312Chry931088
1970BL39837Ford28627Chry11310GMV1081084
1971BL49839Ford24119GMV13811Chry1351179
1972BL52932Ford40225Chry1549GMV147975
1973BL51231Ford37623Chry16210GMV133871
1974BL40132Ford28823Chry1149GMV92771
1975BL35630Ford25922GMV887Chry79766
1976BL34227Ford32525GMV1159Chry72666
1977Ford34024BL31324GMV1219Niss82665
1978Ford39225BL36123GMV1318Chry113763
1979Ford48628BL32719Chry1197GMV112761
1980Ford46531BL27018GMV1097Niss92662
1981Ford45931BL27919GMV1087Niss88663
1982Ford47430BL26817GMV17411Niss93665
1983Ford51829BL32618GMV25014Niss105667
1984Ford48728BL31218GMV27015Niss106667

*BL was founded in 1968. Sales from 65-67 are BMC (BMH) and Leyland combined.

To see the other two blogs in the series: 1985-2000, and 2001-2013.

Debuted in 1966. One of the best looking cars ever, in my opinion. 

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