The Fifties
1950s Classic Cars
1950 Cars

A  total of 8,015,750 cars, trucks, and buses were built by the U.S.automobile industry in 1950, for the highest production record in history. The total was 28 per cent more than those made in 1949.

O1950 Buick Rivierather new records also were established, on industry employment and payrolls, number of motor vehicles in use in the nation, vehicle travel mileage, and special taxes paid by owners of motor vehicle.

Production. During the year, 6,672,700 passenger cars and 1,343,050 trucks and buses were assembled in U.S. plants. Their wholesale value was nearly$10,500,000,000, or 28 per cent above 1949.

Replacement parts output, valued at $2,000,000,000, was slightly above 1 949 but well below the 1948 peak.

Export of motor vehicles continued the steady dec1950 Buickline that began several years ago as a result of dollar shortages in most parts of the world.Only 280,000 vehicles, or less than 3½ per cent of production,were shipped abroad. Belgium-Luxembourg, Venezuela, and Cuba were the chief importers of U.S. cars, while Brazil, Colombia, Mexico,and Belgium led in U.S. truck imports.

Employment in automotive plants averaged 840,000 persons during 1950,or 60,000 more than in 1949. Payrolls for the industry’s 715,000 production workers totaled about $2,700,000,000. Both employment and payrolls were new record.

Registrations. A total of 48,480,000 vehicles were in use on the nation’s roads and streets by the end of 1950. This was 3,810,000 more vehicles than in 1949. The total included 39,710,000 passenger cars, 8,550,000 trucks,and 220,000 motor buses.

Travel mileage also rose to a new high during 1950. It reached 456,000,000,000 vehicle-miles.

Postwar surveys by city and state traffic engineers indicated that 52 per cent of passenger-car trips were for the purpose of earning a living; 13 per cent were shopping trips, 19 per cent were for other”necessity” purposes, and 16 per cent were for social or recreational purpose.

Special Taxes paid by motor vehicle owners in 1950 amounted to $4,320,000,000.State registration fees totaled $905,000,000, state gasoline taxes$1,725,000,000. Federal special excise taxes (on vehicles, gasoline,tires, and repair parts) $1,440,000,000, and local taxes were $250,000,000,not including general property taxes on vehicle.

Defense Work. A survey in mid-December of 1950 showed that national defense orders allocated to automobile firms mounted to only about 3 per cent of the industry’s production capacity. This situation was expected to change as the nation stepped up defense preparations and specific orders were ready for military output.

Near year’s end, automotive firms were adjusting their processing methods and uses of critical metals in an effort to sustain civilian employment and production at the highest possible level in the face of material shortages due to defense stockpiling of aluminum and other metals.

This effort to maintain normal production was expected to continue until such time as Federal officials could determine the nature and amount of military production the industry could expect.

Another reason for the effort to continue vehicle output at the highest possible level was the fact that over 40 per cent of all passenger cars and 33 per cent of all trucks in 1950 were 10 or more years old.”

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1950s Fashion Years

1950s Classic Cars

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