26 December 2015

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.

Model 1974 1973 1972 1971 1970

Ford Cortina 131,234 181,607 187,159 102,214 123,025

Ford Escort 91,699 114,296 140,837 89,143 95,782

Austin/Morris Mini 89,686 96,383 96,314 103,180 80,740

Morris Marina 81,444 115,041 104,968 41,164

Vauxhall Viva 71,889 97,893 99,393 92,994 76,838

Austin Allegro 60,619

Hillman Avenger 60,244 78,644 78,729 63,476 50,133

Triumph Tol/1500 39,798

Ford Capri 37,569

Austin Maxi 36,072 52,853 53,984 42,867

Aus/Mor 11/1300
59,198 102,449 133,527 132,965

Hillman Hunter 55,934 55,600 48,800 43,111

Ford Granada

Austin 1800

39,163 32,927

Vauxhall Victor


Top 10 700,254 891,974 961,870 756,528 701,791

% of Total 55.2 53.7 58.7 58.8 65.2

Total 1,268,767 1,661,639 1,637,866 1,285,661 1,076,865

Data source: SMMT.

Other years in the series:

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