Those invaluable sales statistics issued by the SMM & T show that for the first three months of 1972 Ford sold 47,877 Cortinas, whereas British Leyland sold only 29,963 of their former best-selling 1100/1300 range. (Last year the position has reversed, by a big margin in favour of BL). If Marina sales are added to the 1100/1300s, however, BL topped the Cortina figure by 11,847 cars, in respect of sales of new vehicles in Britain, Ireland and the I-o-M. Moreover, Marina sales almost equalled the 1100/1300s, without the help of the Maxi, so it seems that Lord Stokes judged correctly, namely, that the ordinary buyer no longer favours advanced techniques in car design.
The following are the private-car quarterly totals, with the bestselling model where known, in brackets: British Leyland 151,169 (1100/1300); Ford 93,629 (Cortina); Vauxhall 33,047 (Viva); Chrysler-UK 32,256 (Hillman Avenger); Renault 15,156 (Twelve); Volkswagen 12,423 (Beetle); Fiat 11,584 (124); Chrysler-France 10,059 (Simca 1100); Volvo 5,106 (140); Peugeot 3,448 (504); Opel 3,426 (Kadett); Audi-NSU 3,407 (100); Citroën 3,203; DAF 3,191; Saab 2,470 (V4 96); BMW 2,367; Toyota 2,263; Mercedes-Benz 1,224 (220); Skoda 1,081 (S); Lotus 441; Reliant 361; Alfa Romeo 345; Jensen 145. This does not include 8,888 imported and 879 British cars for which no break-down is available.
In general, sales are up on the corresponding period in 1971, only Chrysler-UK and Vauxhall suffering a reversal. Very significant increases from sales below 1,000 cars in the 1971 quarter were enjoyed by Peugeot (plus-2,485), BMW (plus-2,368), Toyota (plus-1,705), Skoda (plus-672) and Mercedes-Benz (plus-360). Of sportscars, Spridgets were down by 38, MG-B & C up by 48, and Jaguar E-type sales increased by 201, no doubt because people like V12s. Readers will be able to draw their own conclusions. — W. B.