17 April 2014

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.

Yr 1st Sales % 2nd Sales % 3rd Sales % 4th Sales % %
1965 BL 475 41 Ford 289 25 Chry 131 11 GMV 130 11 89
1966 BL 462 42 Ford 262 24 Chry 123 11 GMV 117 11 89
1967 BL 438 38 Ford 280 25 GMV 146 13 Chry 135 12 87
1968 BL 435 38 Ford 301 26 GMV 145 13 Chry 113 10 87
1969 BL 377 39 Ford 264 27 GMV 113 12 Chry 93 10 88
1970 BL 398 37 Ford 286 27 Chry 113 10 GMV 108 10 84
1971 BL 498 39 Ford 241 19 GMV 138 11 Chry 135 11 79
1972 BL 529 32 Ford 402 25 Chry 154 9 GMV 147 9 75
1973 BL 512 31 Ford 376 23 Chry 162 10 GMV 133 8 71
1974 BL 401 32 Ford 288 23 Chry 114 9 GMV 92 7 71
1975 BL 356 30 Ford 259 22 GMV 88 7 Chry 79 7 66
1976 BL 342 27 Ford 325 25 GMV 115 9 Chry 72 6 66
1977 Ford 340 24 BL 313 24 GMV 121 9 Niss 82 6 65
1978 Ford 392 25 BL 361 23 GMV 131 8 Chry 113 7 63
1979 Ford 486 28 BL 327 19 Chry 119 7 GMV 112 7 61
1980 Ford 465 31 BL 270 18 GMV 109 7 Niss 92 6 62
1981 Ford 459 31 BL 279 19 GMV 108 7 Niss 88 6 63
1982 Ford 474 30 BL 268 17 GMV 174 11 Niss 93 6 65
1983 Ford 518 29 BL 326 18 GMV 250 14 Niss 105 6 67
1984 Ford 487 28 BL 312 18 GMV 270 15 Niss 106 6 67

*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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