Wheeling in the years series - American Giant, Ford, enters the market during the 1960's

If Holden reigned as the undisputed king of the 1950s Australian car market, the 1960s saw the start of real competition when that other American giant, Ford, entered the market with the Falcon.

It was the start of a protracted battle for the hearts and minds of Australian motorists that was to last for decades, sparking many bar room debates.

Ford Falcon First Released November 1960

Ford released the Falcon in November 1960 but its first offering, the XK, was blighted with reliability problems which saw Holden maintain its market dominance with 50 per cent of the market in 1961 and Ford holding down second place with 17 per cent.

In many ways the XK Falcon was a more attractive option than the FB Holden. It had superior engines and offered the choice of an automatic, which the Holden lacked, but weak gearboxes and suspensions let it down badly. Ford sold 68,413 XK Falcons by the time production ended in August 1962.

By 1963 the Australian car market was booming, with 29,644 registrations in July. Holden still dominated the market with its new EJ model but sunk slightly to 46.9 per cent of the market, with Ford still way behind with 14.9 per cent. BMC’s Mini was making an impact, with the British company claiming 12.2 per cent. VW had 7.1 per cent and Chrysler 6.2 per cent.

Holden’s EJ and EH models were both winners for General Motors, with 13,524 EH’s rolling off the production line a month – the highest production rate in Holden’s history.

However the Falcon slowly gained ground throughout the decade with monthly production rising from 3,920 for the XM model in 1964 to 6223 for 1969’s XW model.

One brand rapidly disappearing into motoring history in the 60s was Rootes, which made the Hillman Vogue, the Humber Hawk and the Hillman Imp, which was completely overshadowed by BMC’s groundbreaking Mini. By 1965 Rootes had merged with Chrysler, then disappeared altogether in 1972 with the oddly named Hillman Hustler.

Japanese car invasion starts

Australia was the first overseas market for Japanese manufacturers, with the first Datsun landing in 1958. But it wasn’t until the 60s that Japanese cars really started rolling in Australia. By 1968 12 Japanese manufacturers were calling Australia home.

Early sales of Japanese cars may have been modest but Australians rapidly warmed to their features, quality and price. In 1965 Toyota sold 17,300 vehicles – up a whopping 52 per cent on it previous year. At the time Australia was easily its strongest export market. In fact Australia in the 60s was very much the testing ground that launched the Japanese invasion of the global car market.

Toyota and Datsun started manufacturing locally in the 60s, with Australia the first country outside Japan to manufacture Corollas.

In the 60s the motoring times really were a-changin’.

Australia July 1963 – Brands by sales rank:

 
Brand
Jul-63
1
Holden
46.9%
2
Ford
14.9%
3
BMC
12.2%
4
VW
7.1%
5
Chrysler
6.2%
6
Rootes
2.7%

Sales 1962-1966

 
1962
1963
1964
1965
1966
Cars
206,061
234,327
250,303
333,285
245,053
Station Wagons
60,647
73,009
81,958
73,019
60,983
Market share
Holden
36,684
(60.5%)
48,207
(66.0%)
50,767
(61.9%)
43,165
(59.1%)
34,880
(57.2%)
Falcon
16,423
(27.1%)
14,631
(20.0%)
11,725
(14.3%)
11,359
(15.6%)
10,157
(16.7%)
Valiant
Not Yet In Market
Not Yet In Market
8,878
(10.8%)
9.842
(13.5%)
8,562
(14.0%)
Volkswagen
Not Yet In Market
Not Yet In Market
2,815
(3.4%)
2,014
(2.8%)
936
(1.5%)
Japanese makes
Not Yet In Market
Not Yet In Market
Not Yet In Market
4,731
(6.5%)
3,764
(6.2%)
 
Cars
1962
206,061
1963
234,327
1964
250,303
1965
333,285
1966
245,053
 
Station Wagons
1962
60,647
1963
73,009
1964
81,958
1965
81,958
1966
3,988
Market share
Holden
1962
36,684 (60.5%)
1963
48,207 (66.0%)
1964
50,767 (61.9%)
1965
43,165 (59.1%)
1966
34,880 (57.2%)
Market share
Falcon
1962
16,423 (27.1%)
1963
14,631 (20.0%)
1964
11,725 (14.3%)
1965
11,359 (15.6%)
1966
10,157 (16.7%)
Market share
Valiant
1962
Not Yet In Market
1963
Not Yet In Market
1964
8,878 (10.8%)
1965
9.842 (13.5%)
1966
8,562 (14.0%)
Market share
Volkswagen
1962
Not Yet In Market
1963
Not Yet In Market
1964
2,815 (3.4%)
1965
2,014 (2.8%)
1966
936 (1.5%)
Market share
Japanese makes
1962
Not Yet In Market
1963
Not Yet In Market
1964
Not Yet In Market
1965
4,731 (6.5%)
1966
3,764 (6.2%)

Ford Falcon Series Production Figures and Monthly Production Numbers (MPN):

Period
Series
Production
Month
MPN
Sep 1960-Aug 1962
XK
68,465
24
2,853
Aug 1962-Feb 1964
XL
75,765
19
3,988
Feb 1964-Feb 1965
XM
47,039
12
3,920
Sep 1966-Mar 1968
XR
90,810
19
4,779
Mar 1968-Jun 1969
XT
79,290
16
4,956
Jun 1969-Oct 1970
XW
105,785
17
6,223
Period
Sep 1960-Aug 1962
Series
XK
Production
68,465
Months
24
MPN
2,853
Period
Aug 1962-Feb 1964
Series
XL
Production
75,765
Months
19
MPN
3,988
Period
Feb 1964-Feb 1965
Series
XM
Production
47,039
Months
12
MPN
3,920
Period
Sep 1966-Mar 1968
Series
XR
Production
90,810
Months
19
MPN
4,779
Period
Mar 1968-Jun 1969
Series
XT
Production
79,290
Months
16
MPN
4,956
Period
Jun 1969-Oct 1970
Series
XW
Production
105,785
Months
17
MPN
6,223

Holden Series Production Figures and Monthly Production Numbers (MPN):

Period
Series
Production
Month
MPN
May 1961-Jul 1962
EK
150,214
15
10,014
Jul 1962-Aug 1963
EJ
154,811
14
11,058
Aug 1963-Feb 1965
EH
256,959
19
13,524
Feb 1965-Apr 1966
HD
178,927
15
11,928
Apr 1966-Jan 1968
HR
253,352
22
11,516
Jan 1968-Apr 1969
HK
199,039
16
12,440
May 1969-Jul 1970
HT
183,402
15
12,227
Period
May 1961-Jul 1962
Series
EK
Production
150,214
Months
15
MPN
10,014
Period
Jul 1962-Aug 1963
Series
EJ
Production
154,811
Months
14
MPN
11,058
Period
Aug 1963-Feb 1965
Series
EH
Production
256,959
Months
19
MPN
13,524
Period
Feb 1965-Apr 1966
Series
HD
Production
178,927
Months
15
MPN
11,928
Period
Apr 1966-Jan 1968
Series
HR
Production
253,352
Months
22
MPN
11,516
Period
Jan 1968-Apr 1969
Series
HK
Production
199,039
Months
16
MPN
12,440
Period
May 1969-Jul 1970
Series
HT
Production
183,402
Months
15
MPN
12,227

Source: Wikipedia, Wheels Magazine 1960-1968

Blog image: 1961 Ford XK Falcon Deluxe Sedan, Author: Sicnag, Date: 6 October 2013.

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Categories: Ford, Holden, Australia
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