26 July 2019

Oldsmobile USA Sales : 1980's

The Firenza was a perfect fit for tennis

Oldsmobile had a very strong early 80's as sales past the million mark for four consecutive years, starting with 1983. Three models were in the 250-300k region, which gave a nice spread of sales. The compact hatchback Starfire was retired with a belated replacement coming in the form of the Firenza. Things were looking good.

Model 1984 1983 1982 1981 1980
Cutlass Supreme 302,087 331,179 281,120 266,070 258,789
Eighty Eight 258,293 228,770 180,839 158,662 147,997
Cutl Ciera/Cutlass 242,209 191,720 113,367 190,834 210,784
Ninety Eight 100,419 119,528 89,223 84,583 73,464
Firenza/Starfire 62,456 44,753 28,282
5,334
Cutl Calais/Omega 48,984 49,818 72,392 109,981 87,262
Toronado 41,605 41,791 34,362 38,609 37,051
Total US Sales 1,056,053 1,007,559 799,585 848,739 820,681

The only model change was the Firenza was put out to pasture and in came the Silhouette mini van to have a crack at that potentially lucrative segment. The middle 80's were strong but sales started falling and by 1989, they came down to 600,000 units. Every model was down on the 1985 figure.

Was the gap narrowing between mainstream and premium brands making Oldsmobile's position between the two less relevant? Model differentiation between divisions was becoming increasingly blurred. In the short term a profitable move, but for Oldsmobile it diluted its raison d'ĂȘtre.

Model 1989 1988 1987 1986 1985
Cutlass Ciera 190,720 237,386 244,607 329,930 333,585
Eighty Eight 138,357 158,205 168,853 261,260 188,128
Cutlass Supreme 99,898 116,179 92,779 191,937 217,504
Cutlass Calais 95,254 106,117 101,861 116,018 122,810
Ninety Eight 65,671 73,348 72,001 109,370 122,421
Tornado 10,125 14,887 16,667 16,762 32,093
Silhouette 2,122



Firenza
9,148 17,626 34,113 49,580
Total US Sales 602,147 715,270 714,394 1,059,390 1,066,121

Summary: Suddenly things were not looking so bright for Oldsmobile. What could GM do to address the fall in popularity? Were there now too many brands competing too closely to justify this brands continued existence? The 90's would be crucial.

The Silhouette was a change in direction

To view the 1970's, simply click here. For the 1990's just click here.

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