10 Best Selling American Cars of All Time

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Entering production in 1986, the Ford Taurus was the first front wheel drive vehicle produced by Ford. An instant favorite among car buyers, the Taurus became the number one selling car in America between 1992 and 1996, eventually losing the title to the Toyota Camry. The popularity of the Taurus prompted Ford to offer a more powerful “SHO” model to appeal to the muscle car crowd.

2010 Ford Taurus SHO (4 of 14)

The Taurus’ aerodynamic shape allowed for better gas mileage, which appeased the stringent corporate average fuel economy (CARE) standard applied by the United States government, and gave the vehicle more appeal with consumers at the time. The Taurus was removed from production in 2006 by Ford, only to be brought back a year later due to consumer demand. Currently in its sixth generation, the Taurus continues to be a strong seller with over 7.8 million units sold since its initial release.


The Oldsmobile 88

Introduced in 1949 and removed from production in 1999, the Oldsmobile 88 is the 9th highest selling car in U.S. history with 8.8 million units sold. Appealing to the younger generation when released, the Oldsmobile 88 became an instant success. The Oldsmobile Rocket 88 is regarded as the first muscle car and the 88 dominated the NASCAR racing circuit in the early years of its life, inspiring the song Rocket 88 sung by Ike Turner. Years later the Oldsmobile 88 became associated with larger luxury models aimed at older buyers, the company even renamed it “Eighty-Eight,” in an effort to appear more adult. Sadly Oldsmobile’s sales dwindled and the company stopped production of the vehicle in 1999, five years before the company itself closed its doors for good.


1960's Mustang

Introduced at the New York World’s Fair on April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang was instantly successful, selling 685,989 units by the end of 1965. The Mustang is one of the most iconic American muscle cars, with dozens of Mustang car clubs and a very prominent role in American cinema and TV. The most memorable display of the Mustang in film is its use in the film Bullit with Steve McQueen, hailed as the greatest car chase in film. McQueen drives a Mustang GT on a high speed chase through the streets of San Francisco. The Mustang’s popularity and power attract companies like Saleen, Rousch, and Shelby, which take a limited number of models and tune them up to be customized race machines available as limited edition models for the Ford Motor Company to sell. In total the Mustang has sold over 9.4 million units and remains popular to this day.


Focus RS500

The Ford Focus was released as a replacement for the Ford Escort. With high gas mileage and low cost, it’s no surprise the Focus sells as well as it does. With integrated Bluetooth capability in the form of Ford’s voice controlled Sync audio system and stylized interior, the Focus remains popular with consumers. In 2011, Ford unveiled the all-electric Ford Focus Electric to compete with the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt, and in the summer of 2012, Ford launched the Focus ST with a 247 hp turbo charged engine. Used in rally car racing and in the SCCA Speed World Challenge Touring Car Series, the Focus has proved it’s more than just a plain commuter car. Selling over 10 million units to date, it’s very likely the Focus will one day top the list of best selling cars in U.S. history.


1971 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme

The Oldsmobile company labeled a large number of their cars with the Cutlass badge, many of them very different from each other. There was the Cutlass Calais for the compact crowd, the Cutlass Ciera was the midsize submission, the high performance Oldsmobile 442 was given the Cutlass name, and there was even a Cutlass wagon. The model most remember and praise was the Cutlass Supreme, this midsize car that was the best selling passenger car of 1976. The Supreme was given a number of sport-treatments in its time, with Oldsmobile’s 5.0L (307 CID) V8 engine as the power plant, and Hurst three stick Lightning Rods shifters. 1988 saw the end of the rear wheel drive Cutlass Supremes, switching over to more popular front wheel drive. By the end of its life in 1999, the Cutlass Supreme had sold 11.9 million units.


1960 Chevy Impala HDR

Debuting in 1958, the Chevy Impala was Chevy’s most expensive passenger model and was one of the best selling cars in the United States. The chief engineer for Chevy at the time of the Impalas release defined it as a “prestige car within the reach of the average American citizen.” The Impala remained one of Chevy’s most popular cars throughout the 60s, 70s and mid 80s. In 1961 Chevy introduced the Impala SS (Super Sport). The SS badge became Chevy’s signature of performance on many models. Between 1994 and 96, Chevy revived the Impala as a muscle car with a 5.7 liter V8 motor. Used for taxis and police interceptors, the Impala remains a popular car to this day, selling over 15 million units.


Ford Model T sedan

Selling 16.5 million units in its 19 year lifespan, the Ford Model T ranks as one of the highest selling American cars ever. Known as the Tin Lizzie, T-Model Ford, or just the T, the Model T was introduced in 1908. Although automobiles had existed for decades, they were still scarce,expensive, and considered an extreme luxury for the common man up until the arrival of the Model T. The Model T was the first mass produced automobile on moving assembly lines with interchangeable parts. Built with a 2.9L four cylinder engine producing 20 horsepower, the Model T had an estimated 13-21 mpg and was capable of running off gasoline, kerosene, or ethanol (although prohibition made ethanol impractical).


2011 Ford Fiesta

The Ford Fiesta is Ford’s supermini car and has been in production since 1976. Currently in its 7th generation, the Ford Fiesta has sold over 16.5 million units making it one of Ford’s best selling models, behind only the Escort and F-Series pickups. Originally developed under the name “Bobcat,” the Fiesta’s development costs were targeted to be $100 less than the current Escort. In 1999, the Fiesta was given a minor face-lift aimed at giving it a New Edge look, with a Focus inspired face, new bumpers, wheel designs, and a 1.6i 16v Zetec engine. 2006 saw the second face-lift for the Fiesta car line, with many cosmetic changes and new technology like power folding mirrors, automatic windshield wipers, voice controlled Bluetooth, and MP3 player connectivity.


Escort (33)

Originally designed and sold in Europe, the Ford Escort debuted in 1968, but wasn’t released in the United States until 1980, as a replacement for the Ford Pinto. The Escort saw immense popularity in Europe during its entire lifetime, both as a daily driver and as a popular rally car. The continued popularity prompted Ford to release a model in the United States which became the second best-selling car throughout most of the 80s. In 1991, the Escort was switched to a Mazda derived platform and became a twin of the Ford Laser, a compact car sold in Asian markets. Eventually succeeded by the Ford Focus in 1999, the Escort continued production until 2002. By the end of its production life the Escort had sold over 20 million units.


1970 Ford pickup truck

Ford’s flagship truck is still topping the sales charts 65 years after its release. The F-Series truck is the best-selling truck in the world and wins awards routinely. There isn’t anything fancy about the F-Series, it’s just a rugged tough workhorse that out sells and out performs anything else in its class that other manufacturers offer. Numerous models and trim lines have been introduced over the years, from the high workload Super-Duty to the muscle car inspired SVT Lightning. Currently in its 12th generation, the Ford F-Series has sold over 36 million units and has been the best-selling vehicle in America for the past 32 years, solidifying its position as number 1 in the list of best-selling American made cars of all time.




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