Visualizing the Longest Vehicle Production Runs
Over the automotive industry’s 100+ year history, companies such as Ford, Chevrolet, and Mercedes-Benz have produced some truly iconic cars.
Whether they’re designed for excitement, luxury, or just simple transportation, these vehicles offer a set of features that make them highly desirable to consumers. The most successful models will undergo numerous revisions over time, sometimes sticking around for many decades.
To learn more, this graphic from Alan’s Factory Outlet lists the 35 vehicles with the longest production runs of all time. Here are the top 10 below.
|Brand||Model Name||Class||Production Run (years)|
|🇺🇸 Ford||F-Series||Pickup truck||74|
|🇯🇵 Toyota||Land Cruiser||SUV||70|
|🇺🇸 Chevrolet||Corvette||Sports car||68|
|🇩🇪 Porsche||911||Sports car||58|
As we can see, successful models come in many shapes and sizes, and from a variety of manufacturers. Below, we’ll take a deeper dive to learn more about what makes these cars special.
Ford began selling its first pickup truck in 1925, which was essentially a Model T with a flatbed in the rear. This layout was very useful because it enabled people to transport cargo, raw materials, and other items with relative ease.
Then, in 1948, Ford introduced the F-series pickup. The truck became one of Ford’s most well-known and profitable models, and is currently in its 14th generation.
While the fundamental shape of the F-series hasn’t changed, Ford’s best-selling model owes much of its success to its constant innovation and technological improvements.
In 2015, the F-150 became the first fullsize pickup to feature an all-aluminum body. This reduced the truck’s weight by as much as 500 pounds, resulting in better fuel economy and driving dynamics.
Ford is also credited with bringing turbocharged engines into the mainstream (within the pickup segment). This first-mover advantage gave the F-Series a competitive edge in terms of fuel efficiency and torque.
First introduced in 1953, the Chevrolet Corvette is regarded as America’s most iconic sports car. It has a reputation for offering similar performance as its more expensive foreign rivals, and combines unique styling elements with a successful motorsport background.
For most of its history, the Corvette was a rear-wheel drive coupe with a V-8 engine placed in the front. It also featured pop-up headlights for several generations, but the design was eventually phased out due to stricter regulations.
Chevrolet drastically changed the formula of the Corvette for its eighth generation, which launched in 2020. The engine is no longer in the front of the car, but instead, placed directly behind the occupants.
This mid-engine layout results in a Corvette with significantly different proportions than its predecessors. Because a bulk of the car’s weight is now located more centrally, the C8 should (in theory) offer better traction and balance.
Few cars have undergone such large changes to their fundamental design philosophy, but the move appears to have worked—production is far from meeting demand.
The S-Class from Mercedes is widely recognized as the global benchmark for full-size luxury sedans. Since its introduction in the 1950s, the S-Class has continuously introduced new innovations that improve comfort and safety.
- The 1959 S-Class (dubbed W111) was the first production car with crumple zones front and rear. Crumple zones are structural elements that absorb the impact of a collision.
- The 1978 S-Class (W116) introduced electronic anti-lock brakes (ABS). This system prevents tires from locking up under sudden braking and is included on every modern car.
- The 1991 S-Class (W140) was the first car to feature double-glazed windows, which improves insulation while reducing road noise.
- The 2021 S-Class (W223) introduced the world’s first rear-seat airbag.
One of the most important aspects of a luxury car is its interior, and the S-class has come a long way since its first iteration.
The interior of the latest S-Class features active ambient lighting that can visually reinforce any warnings generated by the car’s driving assistance systems. The cabin also features MBUX Interior Assist, which can read motion commands (such as hand movements) by the driver.
The car’s center console is dominated by a single large screen—a trend that was first introduced by the Tesla Model S.
Big Changes in Store
Global governments have announced a ban on the sale of new gasoline cars by as early as 2030. This foreshadows a great shift towards battery power and gives automakers the opportunity to reimagine their most iconic models.
For example, the Ford Mustang Mach-E is an all-electric SUV that borrows both the name and styling of the brand’s famous pony car. The company also recently launched an electric version of the F-150, called the F-150 Lightning.
German brands are taking a different approach by creating a completely new range for their EV models. This includes the Audi e-tron, BMW i, and Mercedes EQ lineups. This implies that their existing gasoline-powered models could be coming to an end.
The Most Fuel Efficient Cars From 1975 to Today
This infographic lists the most fuel efficient cars over the past 46 years, including the current leader for 2023.
The Most Fuel Efficient Cars From 1975 to Today
When shopping for a new car, what is the most important factor you look for? According to Statista, it’s not design, quality, or even safety—it’s fuel efficiency.
Because of this, automakers are always looking for clever ways to improve gas mileage in their cars. Beating the competition by even the slimmest of margins can give valuable bragging rights within a segment.
In this infographic, we’ve used data from the EPA’s 2022 Automotive Trends Report to list off the most fuel efficient cars from 1975 to today.
Editor’s note: This is from a U.S. government agency, so the data shown skews towards cars sold in North America.
All of the information in the above infographic is listed in the table below. Data was only available in 5-year increments up until 2005, after which it switches to annual.
|Model Year||Make||Model||Real World Fuel Economy (mpg)||Engine Type|
From this dataset, we can identify three distinct approaches to maximizing fuel efficiency.
Prior to 2000, the best way for automakers to achieve good fuel efficiency was by downsizing. Making cars smaller (lighter) meant they could also be fitted with very small engines.
For example, the 1985 Chevrolet Sprint was rated at 49.6 MPG, but had a sluggish 0-60 time of 15 seconds.
The 2000s saw the introduction of mass-market hybrid vehicles like the Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. By including a small battery to support the combustion engine, automakers could achieve good MPGs without sacrificing so heavily on size.
While the Insight achieved better fuel economy than the Prius, it was the latter that became synonymous with the term “hybrid”. This was largely due to the Prius’ more practical 4-door design.
The following table compares annual U.S. sales figures for both models. Insight sales have fluctuated drastically because Honda has produced the model in several short spans (1999-2006, 2009-2014, 2018-2022).
|Year||Insight Sales||Prius Sales|
The Prius may have dominated the hybrid market for a long time, but it too has run into troubles. Sales have been declining since 2014, even setting historic lows in recent years.
There are several reasons behind this trend, with one being a wider availability of hybrid models from other brands. We also can’t ignore the release of the Tesla Model 3, which began shipping to customers in 2017.
We’re currently in the middle of a historic transition to electric vehicles. However, because EVs do not use fuel, the EPA had to develop a new system called MPGe (miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent).
This new metric gives us the ability to compare the efficiency of EVs with traditional gas-powered cars. An underlying assumption of MPGe is that 33.7 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity is comparable to the energy content of a gallon of fuel.
The most fuel efficient car you can buy today is the 2023 Lucid Air, which achieves 140 MPGe. Close behind it is the 2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD, which is rated at 132 MPGe.
Check out this page to see the EPA’s top 10 most efficient vehicles for 2023.
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