January 1981

Much like sports fans hoping for a winning score by their favorite team, many of us auto enthusiasts anticipate sales figures with hopes of good news for our favorite brands and models. While things currently seem to be on the up and up for America’s big three, it certainly wasn’t always that way.

Even people that are not car enthusiasts know that domestic automakers have lost a lot of ground to import brands so, with all the current auto sales news available out there, I thought it would be interesting to take a quick look at some numbers from a four-year period that ominously signaled the beginning of a trend.

Smaller piece of the pie
From 1977 to 1978, total US sales were actually up by just over a percent. Then, from 1978 to 1979, total sales declined by almost six-percent. The following year, things got worse when total sales dropped by a whopping sixteen percent.

While total sales started to drop off in 1979, and then plummet in 1980, the domestic brands’ portion was actually shrinking at an even faster rate. See for yourself, below.

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