In our series “what has changed in 30 years?”, we continue our comparison of historical car sales vs. present times. We’ve explored France and Germany before, and now we’ll move across the Atlantic to the US. The overall US car market has gained 13,4% of volume, from 15,4 million sales in 1985 to 17,5 million in 2015, but of course that doesn’t tell the whole story, as there have been big shifts of volume and market share for individual brands. Also, 11 brands have been killed or removed from the US market and 16 have arrived. That doesn’t even account for the brands that have come and gone in the meantime, like Saturn, Hummer, Geo and Daewoo.
Looking at the shares by country of origin, we notice that the local Detroit 3 manufacturers held more than 3/4 of their home market, with another fifth for the Japanese brands and a meager 4,4% for the Europeans, led by Volkswagen. The South-Koreans wouldn’t arrive on the shores of North America until the next year, as Hyundai started US exports of the Excel in February 1986 and Kia would take another 8 years to cross the Pacific. [Read more…]