Not counting the Model T what is the only American car model to reach the 1,000,000 mark in sales for a single model year? (I’m fairly certain that only one such car exists, but I am human and I could be wrong.) Any thoughts?
Behold the 1965 Chevrolet Impala:
From carswithmuscles.com a picture of a 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS. Actually, the SS accounted for a minority of Impalas produced that year, which reached 1,046,514. Of those, 243,114 were Super Sports. (I think the total production I showed here does not include Impala wagons. Remember station wagons?)
As recounted here, I have an affinity for 1961 Impalas because of the ’61 that enabled me to get back and forth between college and home during my first semester while my 1967 Pontiac GTO was being repaired after a major accident. However, this affection for Impalas goes beyond the 1961 model year.
Like the Mustang I think the Impala was successful because it was stylish and versatile. Six different Impala types were available in 1965 ranging from a four-door wagon to a two-door coupe. The Impala was available with an inline 6-cylinder engine or multiple V-8s. The 1965 model was the first year of a major redesign or generation.
An aside: I don’t consider pickup trucks to be cars, but in case you’re curious (or even if you’re not) I don’t think the Ford F-series pickup truck has ever reached 1,000,000 in sales in a single model year. As far as I can tell, the high-water mark for F-series sales was about 940,000 in 2004. I also don’t consider the F-150 and F-350 to be the same model. In any event, and as I have written many times before, if Americans would lose weight maybe they would buy more cars and fewer trucks/SUVs.
For the US auto industry as a whole 1965 was a good year as production reached a record 8.8 million units. That means the Impala accounted for about one-eighth of all US sales. About 4.5 million Impalas were sold in the fourth generation (1965-1970). That’s more than twice as many cars as Packard sold in its entire history (1899-1958), which is not intended as a slight to Packard.
What is the best selling US car today? I have to admit that I don’t know, but I guess I can try to find out…I think that for 2017 the best-selling car in the US made by an American car company was the Ford Fusion with sales of about 210,000. (Total US vehicle sales were a little over 17 million in 2017.) However, Ford is probably going to discontinue production of the Fusion sedan in its effort to de-emphasize cars in favor of SUVs and pickup trucks although a Bloomberg story from earlier this year reported that the Fusion name might be used on an upcoming crossover vehicle. Just what America needs, another crossover….Boo!
Maybe I’m just an old fogey, but I am unhappy at the demise of the American car. I know that an older and heavier America finds SUVs and pickup trucks to be more comfortable, but I don’t have to like it. For me an SUV is like a necessary evil because we can’t take our cars grocery shopping nor can we drive them in winter weather. Wake up, Car Enthusiasts! One day that phrase will be an anachronism.