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Chevrolet Camaro wins 3rd straight muscle car sales title, Ford sells more V8s

The Ford Mustang trailed by less than 1,100 units going into December as the pony car attempted to prevent the Chevrolet Camaro from winning its third straight segment sales title but the bowtie-clad muscle car managed to claim its 6th monthly win of the year in December and in doing so – General Motors has the bragging right of offering America’s bestselling muscle car once again.


We brought you the news a few days ago that the Chevrolet Camaro had bested the Ford Mustang for the third straight year but today, we take a closer look at just how the Camaro fended off the Mustang as the battle for the 2012 muscle car sales title came down to the last month of the year.

The Ford Mustang had a very good year in 2012 and with several months bringing over 10,000 Mustangs sold, Ford had a real shot going into the final month of the year. The Chevrolet Camaro had been in a sales slide since August and with the Mustang only 1,096 units back, GM had a real fight on their hands. However, the Camaro posted its best month since August which put an immediate stop to Ford’s attack on the top spot in muscle car sales. December 2012 was the GM’s 6th monthly muscle car sales win of 2012 but more importantly, with a margin of 84,391 to 82,995 – the Chevrolet Camaro is once again the bestselling performance car in America.

In December 2012, General Motors sold 5,837 copies of the Chevrolet Camaro which accounts for a negative growth of 13.6% compared to the same month last year. GM certainly didn’t want to end the 2012 calendar year on a down swing in sales but Chevrolet sold enough Camaro coupes and convertibles to prevent the Ford Mustang from catching them in the annual muscle car sales race. Ford had to win December by around 1,100 units to win the 2012 sales title but with the Camaro outselling the Mustang last month – a third straight sales title was in the bag for GM and the Camaro. On the year, the Camaro was down 4.4% from 2011 but that drop was not enough for the Mustang to close the annual sales gap.

The Ford Mustang sold 5,537 coupes and convertibles in December 2012 which accounted for an improvement of 9.5% from December 2011 but even with this increase, the Mustang fell short of the Camaro in December and for the 2012 calendar year. Ford posted an impressive growth of 17.8% for the Mustang through 2012 in moving 82,995 units but in the end, the original pony car fell 1,396 units shy of the cross-town rival in the annual sales race.

The Dodge Challenger was (and always is) the third bestselling muscle car in America in December 2012 but with 3,942 units sold, the brawny Mopar muscle car had one of its better months of 2012 last month. That sales volume presented a 20% increase over the same stanza in 2011 as the Chrysler Group moved a total of 43,119 new Dodge Challenger coupes in 2012 – an increase of 9% for the year.

Ford sells more V8 powered muscle cars

Of the 84,391 Camaros sold in 2012, 62% of them were equipped with the V6 engine. This means that of those GM muscle cars sold last year, roughly 52,322 of them were LS or LT models leaving the other 32,069 units to be fitted with the LS3, L99, or LSA V8 engine options of the Camaro SS and ZL1. On the other hand, the Ford Mustang has a roughly 50/50 take rate for the V6 and V8 models which means that Ford sold around 41,498 Mustangs in the GT, Boss 302 and GT500 form with the 5.0L or 5.8L V8 while selling a similar number of base model Mustangs with the powerful 3.7L V6. The Dodge Challenger had a V6 take rate of 54%, meaning that 23,284 Challengers were fitted with the 3.6L Pentastar V6 while the other 19,835 Mopar muscle cars were fitted with either the 5.7L or 6.4L Hemi V8.

This is particularly interesting considering that the 5.0L Ford V8 in the 420 horsepower Mustang GT (the bestselling Mustang V8 model) is the less powerful than the 426 horsepower 6.2L LS3 V8 used in the Chevrolet Camaro SS equipped with the 6-speed manual transmission. With over 9,000 more V8 Mustangs sold than V8 Camaro models it seems that Ford buyers were looking for performance first while many Camaro buyers went for the more fuel friendly version of the Camaro while still getting the same great styling of the V8-powered Camaro.

Overall 2012 Muscle car sales:
Ford Mustang – 82,995
Chevrolet Camaro – 84,391
Dodge Challenger – 43,119

V6 muscle car sales:
Chevrolet Camaro – 52,322
Ford Mustang – 41,498
Dodge Challenger – 23,284

V8 Muscle car sales:
Ford Mustang – 41,497
Chevrolet Camaro – 32,069
Dodge Challenger – 19,835

However, at the end of the day the only thing that really matters is that for the 3rd consecutive year, the Chevrolet Camaro has claimed the title of being the bestselling performance car in America. Congratulations to General Motors and Chevrolet for their Camaro claiming another segment sales title – a fact which will likely only inspire the folks at Ford to work even harder on improving the already impressive Mustang. At the same time, we know that General Motors is planning the 6th generation Camaro and when that new model arrives, we can surely expect another spike in Camaro sales.

Even in an era where rising fuel prices are pushing many consumers to look for vehicles that are far more efficient than they are powerful – the American public continues to buy up the powerful performance cars that have been legends around the world since the 1960s.
The gallery above on the right side offers a look at the 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1- the most powerful Camaro ever. Click any of the thumbnails for a closer look!