DETROIT -- The mid-sized Oldsmobile Cutlass bumped the subcompact Ford Escort out of first place as the nation's top-selling car in 1983, figures showed Friday.
Subcompacts took only three of the top 10 selling positions last year, reflecting the nation's increasing trend toward bigger autos. In 1982, four of the top 10 cars were in the smallest size class.
There were no General Motors Corp. X-cars on the 1983 top 10 list, reflecting the year-long battle between the automaker and the federal government over alleged brake defects in earlier models.
The nation's No. 1 selling Japanese automaker, Toyota, did not place a car on the list although its Corolla made the list in 1982.
The Cutlass rose from second place in 1982 to claim the top position in 1983. Figures from Oldsmobile show 331,179 Cutlasses were sold, compared to 281,147 in 1982.
This includes both the basic Cutlass model and the Cutlass Supreme, both rear-wheel drive.
Some auto insiders grumble the two cars should be considered separate vehicles, particularly since the front-wheel drive Cutlass Ciera is ranked as a different model, but industry statisticians count the two rear-wheel autos as one.
In second place in 1983 was the Escort, with sales of 326,333. In 1982, the Escort took the top position with sales of 337,667.
In third place in 1983 was the compact Chevrolet Cavalier, which sold 259,397 models.
The next three autos were full-sized models.
In fourth place was the Chevrolet Caprice, with sales of 238,930. The Buick Regal took the fifth spot with 234,035 sold, while the sixth-place Oldsmobile 88 sold 228,770 models.
The first Japanese car to make its appearance on the 1983 top 10 list was the Honda Accord, in seventh place, with sales of 222,137. This figure includes 50,402 Accords which were built in Ohio.
In eighth place was the Nissan Sentra, which sold 209,889. The Oldsmobile Ciera was in ninth place with sales of 191,720. Rounding out the top 10 was the Chevrolet Chevette which sold 178,759.
It was quite a drop for the GM subcompact, which finished third in 1982 with sales of 231,972.
Last year's list found the Caprice in fourth place with sales of 204,193. The Accord was fifth with sales of 195,524 models, all Japanese made. The Datsun 210, now called the Sentra, finished sixth at 191,846. The Chevrolet Citation X-car was seventh at 186,782. Another Chevrolet product, the Camaro, was eighth at 182,848.
The Oldsmobile 88 was ninth last year at 180,839 and the Toyota Corolla was 10th at 178,572.