Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: America Loves A Celebrity…

Matt Gasnier
by Matt Gasnier

Over the last few weeks we’ve been to Botswana, Malta, Bangladesh and Venezuela. Well I have a surprise for you this week: we are going to the most exotic of places – to the eighties! We travel 25 years back in time, back to homely United States of America, and, you know, party like it’s 1986! You are welcome. That’s what friends are for.

Now, I know it is controversial to study the US in an article titled ‘Around The Globe’ but hey, I pride myself to be able to surprise you week after week so you can’t be mad at me for trying… The only thing is, 1986 might be a very bad year for you to remember and a bad idea for me to pick…. could be for any reason (don’t tell me) but it’s ok if so, there are 155 (truly exotic) countries to visit in my blog, and I can tell you it is just great, so click away!

Back to 1986. This was a time when the Top 6 best-selling vehicles in the US and 8 of the Top 10 were all American… Livin’ in America, baby!

The Ford F-Series was already in the lead in 1986. After becoming the best-selling truck in the country in 1977, it advanced to the #1 spot overall in 1982 and kept it warm by the time 1986 was around the corner (and still has to this day)… The 544,969 sales lodged by the F-Series in 1986 are still a far cry from its peak of 940,000 in 2004 but comparable to its 2010 level (528,349).

In 2nd place, the Chevrolet Celebrity shines and is the best-selling passenger car in the country with 408,946 sales. This would be its last year atop the passenger car ranking as it will be passed by the Ford Escort in 1987 and 1988 before the Honda Accord took the reins in 1989.

Just under the Celebrity we find the Chevrolet C/K Pick-up with 403,150 sales…

…Followed by the Ford Escort at 402,181 units.

The Chevrolet Cavalier is 5th with 357,120 sales and would stay in the Top 10 for many years to come.

Oldsmobile places the Ciera in 6th position at 329,930 units.

The Honda Accord kicked off production in the US in 1982 and has been the best-selling Japanese passenger car ever since. It is the case in 1986 when the Accord ranks 7th with 325,004 sales. Note that in 1986 the Honda Accord is the only Japanese car in the Top 15! How times have changed… Interestingly, the Toyota Pick-up ranks 8th with 320,748 sales, a performance that the current Tundra and Tacoma have both failed to reiterate in the last decade.

The Ford Ranger is #9 with 269,490 units sold.

The Ford Tempo closes the Top 10 with 265,382 sales.

Matt Gasnier
Matt Gasnier

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Sep 19, 2011

    Interesting to note that while there are posts here of poor reliability, there are plenty that posted positive reliability experience. So, extrapolating (if you will) the design must have been good, but the overall quality of the parts must have varied significantly such that a given car was a bit of a crapshoot...

  • Billy215 Billy215 on Sep 19, 2011

    Really enjoyed this blast from the past, and looking forward to more 70s/80s stats. But what's an Oldsmobile SK? A Cutlass Supreme?

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.