There were quite a few great cars introduced in the 1990s. One of them is my all-time favorite car: the Dodge Viper.
The first time I ever drove a Viper I scared myself. My only goal was to move it from one end of the parking lot to another.
I put the Viper in gear and barely pressed down on the gas and almost gave myself whiplash. At that point I was in love.
American car manufacturers got back to making great cars and finally started competing with Japanese automakers again.
Learn more about 1990s cars below. In the coming weeks we will upload our huge collection of pictures, featuring over 100 cars!
Cars in 1991
Car sales were way down in 1991. But it wasn’t due to lack of exciting new designs.
GM completely revamped two product lines: the full size line had the Pontiac Bonneville, Oldsmobile 88 and Buiclk LeSabre and the compact line had the Buick Skylark, Oldsmobile Achieva and the Pontiac Grand Am. GM also introduced the restyled Cadillac Seville and Eldorado, the Suburban, the Chevy Blazer and the GMC Yukon.
Other notable restyles include the Ford Taurus, the F150, the Crown Victoria and the Mercury Grand Marquis. Lexus also restyled the SC400 and SC300 sport-luxury coupes. The Nissan NX2000, Mercedes S-class sedans, the Audi 100, Honda’s Civic and Prelude, Subaru SVX, the Acura Vigor, Mazda 929, and the Jaguar XJS (one of my favorites) all got makeovers.
Chrysler redesigned its basic V-8 and V-6 engines but looked forward to a huge launch coming in 1992 of several different vehicles.
France’s Peugot and UK’s Sterling withdrew from the US market due to poor sales. 1991 was, at the time, the worst financial year in history for Detroit automakers.
Cars in 1999
In 1999, for the third year in a row, the Toyota Camry led all car sales, with 476,752 units sold. The Ford F-series led the sales of trucks, with 867,441 units sold in 1999. By the end of September 1999, car sales numbered about 6.7 million.
Jaguar introduced a new sedan, the S-type. This new style was based on the classic Jaguar from the 1960s. The S-type came with a standard 6-cylinder engine, voice-activated audio, phone, and climate control.
Also in 1999, Ford motors announced its decision to buy the Swedish car company Volvo, for $6.4 billion. Volvo’s sales did not compare to Ford’s, but Ford believed that the purchase would improve their profits.
Ford announced it would build two new types of cars, a small one called the Focus and a light luxury truck, the Lincoln Blackwood.
General Motors (GM) began recovering from strikes in 1999. By September, they had sold 3.8 million units, 11.8% higher than the same time the year before.
Some of their popular vehicles included the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck, the Buick Century, and the Pontiac Grand Prix. GM’s sales helped bring their profits up to $4.8 billion, compared to $1.2 billion at the same the previous year. GM introduced a new and improved Pontiac Bonneville and the Saturn L-series, a mid-sized sedan and station wagon.
Chrysler also fared well in 1999, reporting sales of over 2 million units by September. The sales of the Dodge Durango and the Jeep Grand Cherokee greatly improved. Sales of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which had recently been purchased by Chrysler, also increased by 9.5%. Chrysler also announced that it would cease production of the Plymouth, and produce less of the Neon, Voyager minivan, Breeze, and Prowler roadster.
Honda reported sales totaling 818,932 units, about 7.6% more than the same time the previous year. They also decided to build a $400 million plant in Alabama. In July, Honda produced a new hybrid, the Insight, which combined gas and electric engines for what they hoped would give an estimated 70 miles per gallon.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced new test requirements for new vehicles, improving the automobile’s safety. For example, the intensity of airbags was lessened to prevent injury.
The new regulations would begin to be enforced in 2003 model cars, and would be required in all 2006 models, and later. Companies designed new technologies that would detect the size of the person in the passenger’s seat and deploy the airbag as necessary.