The figures for new car registrations in 1971, from January to September, show British Leyland substantially in the lead, with a total of 398,631 private cars, an improvement over the identical period in 1970. Ford, with labour set-backs, sold 163,350 cars, Vauxhall 107,046, Chrysler UK 103,319. All these were a very considerable improvement over the preceding year, except for Ford, who had dropped, by comparison, over 71,000 sales. A grim reminder of how the Trade Unions could kill our Motor Industry. Imports were up, by 75,074, to a total of 188,544, against the British total of 777,954 cars.
In this nine-months’ period the BL 1100/1300 range was the most popular, with 107,463 registered, compared to 70,783 Vauxhall Vivas or 65,170 Ford Cortinas. Adding Viva and Victor (98,252) or Escort and Cortina (126,793), however, gives Ford the advantage, but if Marina sales are added, ignoring even better 1600/Maxi business, British Leyland left Dagenham standing.
Of the Importers, VW led, followed by Renault, Fiat, Chrysler France, Volvo and Audi-NSU. All had increased their sales, as had Opel, DAF, Saab, Citroën, Peugeot, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota, with appreciable up-trend, and Skoda less successfully; Alfa Romeo were slightly down.
Sports cars were up, except for a big fall in E-type Jaguar sales (pending release of the V12?), and BL did better with their big Austin/Morris cars and even sold 6,615 Minors. The Triumph Herald/Vitesse/Toledo range outsold the 1300/1500 and 2000/2500 ranges and sales of Ford Zephyr/Zodiac remained steady. Fractional sales drops were experienced by Jensen and Reliant but Lotus improved by 39 cars. Surprisingly, Opel’s Kadett was that make’s best-seller; the 12 was Renault’s, the 504 Peugeot’s best bet.
The November 1971 figures show BL well away, Ford recovering strongly, and Chrysler UK to have overtaken Vauxhall, whilst against the 1971 figures Lotus were losing, likewise Reliant, but Jensen did better. The November Import order saw Renault leading VW, chased by Fiat, Chrysler UK and Volvo. Much smaller sales followed, in the order—Opel, DAF, Saab, Peugeot, Citroën, BMW, Audi/NSU, Toyota, Skoda, Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo, of those for whom statistics are issued.