Some automakers, including Ford, Chevy, and Toyota, offer today’s best-selling SUVs and trucks. But at the end of the 20th century, cars were the vehicle of choice for Americans. Read on to find out which car was most popular the year you started driving.
The best-selling car the year you started driving
According to AAA, here are the most popular cars by year:
- 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983: Oldsmobile cutlass
- 1982, 1987, 1988: Ford Escort
- 1984, 1985: chevrolet cavalier
- 1986: Chevrolet Celebrity
- 1989, 1990, 1991, 2001: Honda Accord
- 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996: Ford Taurus
- 1997–2020: Toyota Camry
Oldsmobile’s most popular car
Oldsmobile hit the road in 1978 with its fifth-generation Cutlass Supreme, a rear-drive two-door coupe, AAA reports. The brand produced over 16 million units, many of them from 1978 to 1981 and again in 1983.
As popular as the car was, the coupe body style slowly became a thing of the past. Additionally, General Motors made a few mistakes regarding its production, causing the Cutlass Supreme to disappear. You may still find a few of these in private used car markets these days. However, others are favorites of collectors.
The most popular cars from Chevrolet and Ford
Ford had two extremely popular vehicles in the 80s and 90s. The compact Escort appeared in 1981 and quickly gained popularity, becoming a bestseller in 1982. It overtook the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme that year because the Escort had its first front-wheel-drive model and featured a fuel-efficient engine.
Sales slowed thereafter, but picked up again in 1987 and 1988 when Ford changed the styling of the model and gave it a more powerful engine. The Ford Escort continued in production for about 21 years until the automaker finally retired the model.
Ford also produced the Taurus, but its best-selling years were from 1992 to 1996. During those five years, the Blue Oval’s midsize sedan offered comfort, safety and value, appealing to American consumers. From 1985 to 2006, the brand sold over 7 million Taurus units.
Ford’s rival Chevrolet also had two bestsellers. In 1984 and 1985, the Cavalier outsold all other vehicles, winning sales of the Cutlass Supreme. But in 1986, another Chevy rose to the top: the Celebrity. This mid-size sedan offered ample cabin space and various trims.
Honda and Toyota bestsellers
The automotive industry has seen a number of American-made cars become bestsellers. Yet two Japanese brands have overtaken their American competitors with two of the most popular vehicles of the late 80s, 90s and even the 2000s.
We are pretty sure you have heard of the Honda Accord, which is selling very well today, but it had some of its best selling years from 1989 to 1991. This model attracted a large following thanks to certain features interesting. You could get air conditioning, power doors and locks, a sunroof and alloy wheels.
While these features are common in today’s cars, they were unheard of decades ago. After 1991, the Honda Accord continued to see decent sales, but models from other automakers, such as Ford, took the top-selling spot. The Accord made a comeback in 2001 as the most popular car, but its reign was brief.
Toyota is the other Japanese company to enjoy popularity in the United States. The Camry has been the auto giant’s best-selling model for longer than any other car on the market since the 1970s. From 1997 to 2020, this midsize sedan generated higher sales than its performance rivals , reliability and safety.
Although the Camry has been a top seller since 1997, the explosion in popularity of SUVs has put a damper on car sales. Still, when it comes to midsize sedans, the Camry is number one, selling more than 10 million vehicles since 1983.
No matter what year you started driving, there’s one car that’s sold the best, even if you haven’t driven that model. But maybe someone you know has had the chance to drive one of these iconic cars.
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