The Ford Mustang and a Muscle-Car Halftime Report
The 2011 Ford Mustang did the old "snatch victory from the jaws of defeat" thing in June, outselling the Chevrolet Camaro (and Dodge Challenger, of course) on a volume basis even as it was actually losing customers as compared to June 2010. The final tally had the Mustang slipping 1.5 percent and ringing up 8,835 sales, the Camaro moving ahead by 12.5 percent on 8,466 sales, and the Challenger not really living up to its name by garnering just 3,384 deliveries, albeit achieving a 10 percent growth rate.
Overall, it was another so-so sales month in the modern-day muscle-car segment, capping off a six-month span in which all three have essentially been treading water. The Mustang is behind its 2010 pace by 2.5 percent, Camaro has seen a 5.1 sales improvement in the first half (at least partially fueled by increasing availability of the convertible model), with the Challenger riding its recent refresh to a 14 percent sales advance through June and becoming the only one of the three to outperform the industry's overall first-half growth rate of about 12.8 percent.
I read these results—and especially those June performances—as seriously disappointing, and perhaps even a sign that the industry is reaching some kind of natural ceiling for muscle-car sales. Which makes it a curious coincidence that Kia is now rumored to be working up a V-8-powered rear-wheel-drive coupe for the upcoming Frankfurt (Germany) Motor Show.