2016 Ford Shelby GT350 Mustang
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Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger Outsell Chevrolet Camaro in July

The Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger finished 1-2 in the muscle car sales race in July, marking the third straight month where the Chevrolet Camaro has been forced to settle for third place – as sales of the next generation GM muscle car continue to slump.

For the 21st consecutive month, the Ford Mustang is the bestselling muscle car and the bestselling sporty car in America for July 2016, beating the Dodge Challenger and the Chevrolet Camaro by significant margins. However, the Mustang’s continued success is only a small part of the story of the current muscle car segment – in which the all-new Chevrolet Camaro continues to struggle.

The Camaro Slump Continues
From the time when the 5th generation Chevrolet Camaro was introduced in late 2009 until late 2014, General Motors dominated the muscle car segment in both monthly and annual sales. The Camaro won the muscle car sales title every year from 2010 through 2014, claiming the vast majority of monthly wins along the way. However, since the 2015 Ford Mustang was introduced late in 2014, the Camaro has failed to come close to the Mustang in monthly sales.

This allowed the Mustang to cruise to the 2015 annual muscle car sales title, but we expected that. After all, Ford was selling a hot, new car while GM was still selling the Camaro which was effectively 5+ years old. Most people around the industry – myself included – expected that when the 6th generation Camaro hit the market, it would even the score and maybe even reclaim its title.

When the 2016 Camaro was introduced last year, it seemed like a sure-fire hit. It has an aggressive exterior, an improved interior, better fuel economy and better all-around performance. The 6th gen Camaro seemed like the perfect vehicle to drive Chevy back to the top of the sales chart, but the sales boom hasn’t come and at this point – it doesn’t look like it is going to come.

In July 2016, General Motors sold 5,520 examples of the Camaro – down 26.1% from sales last July when only the 5th gen Camaro was on sale. This year over year decline has been a regular occurrence, showing that the aging 5th generation models were seemingly more popular than the brand new 6th gen models. As a result of the poor 6th gen Camaro sales, the Chevy muscle car has mustered only 42,354 units sold through the first 7 months of the year, down 15.4% compared to the same period last year.

In short, things are looking bad for the Camaro and right now, they don’t seem to be getting much better. We will surely see a spike in sales when the new ZL1 and 1LE models arrive, but I have a hard time believing that those high performance models will help Chevy close the gap with the Mustang.

The Challenger Continues to Shine
For the third month in a row, the Dodge Challenger beat the Chevrolet Camaro to grab the second place spot in the muscle car class with 5,619 units sold – also making the Challenger the second bestselling sporty 2-door car in the US. Even though this iteration of the Challenger arrived at the same time as the new Ford Mustang, Dodge continues to see growth from their brawny muscle car.

On the year, the Challenger is down slightly, but Dodge is still well on pace to sell more muscle cars this year than they did in any year previous to the 2015 refresh and the arrival of the 707 horsepower Hellcat model.

The Mustang Races Ahead
The Ford Mustang continued its total dominations of the muscle car segment in July 2016, moving 9,565 units. This is a decline from June, but it is 12.8% better than last July. The Mustang continues to improve on the sales charts even though the Motor Company really hasn’t changed much or added anything to the car, other than the low volume Shelby models.

On the year, Ford has sold 72,530 Mustangs, down 5.5% from last year, but still far enough ahead of the competition that we can go ahead and say right now that the Ford Mustang will almost certainly be the bestselling muscle car in America for 2016. It is a very early prediction, but with a lead of more than 30,000 units, it seems unlikely that Chevrolet could pose any sort of run at the title by the year’s end.


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Comments

Something seldom discussed in muscle car sales discussions is the insurance factor. Basically, it is a wash for all three US muscle cars. However, the bone stock SS is said by GM to have top speed 180 mph. This forum covered a Duluth Minn story earlier this year on a Camaro 2016 SS ticketed at 171 mph. While this was touted as bragging rights, the insurance industry scrutinizes these factors greater than us drivers. Getting your V8 2016 Camaro SS insured, for all the raging performance in the car, is a brick wall for a lot of prospective buyers. That leaves those buyers to the V6 and I4 Turbo models. In that segment the 6G Mustang is better packaged, better performing, and more attractive than the GM & Dodge counter parts. Additionally, it is bettered priced. I do not like forced induction. However, I took a test drive in an EcoBoost 6G Mustang. It blew me away. You really don't need the 5.0L coyote to love the car and have a great driving experience. Ford put much more into the down HP models than camaro or challenger, and it shows up every month.
yeah you're wrong the mustangs are all slow except the V8S the Camaro 4cylinder is faster than the ecoboost mustang and the v6 camaro is alot faster. The v8 camaro destroys the Mustang in performance. The camarosame biggest fault is its styling which looks to much like the last one and a bit dated already. Otherwise it's hands down better than the other 2 OBJECTIVELY.....
John, Is being faster all a Mustang or Camaro is about? What is wrong with the Camaro is fairly subjective. I know I chose not to buy one because #1 the rear seat is truly unusable, while the Mustang's seat is deceptively roomy especially for those 5'5" and smaller. If the rear seat wasn't a deal breaker the high cost might have been, there wasn't an SS on the lot for less than $46k and there wasn't a V6 Camaro on the lot with leather for less than $40k. In contrast premium Mustang GT's can be had for $40k, without the discount I am eligible for optioned as I wanted it mine is a hair over $43k, and has absolutely every option I want on it. As far as exterior on the Camaro, it definitely took a step down from the previous, though I believe the risks Ford took with the Mustang are the difference maker there.
Meaningless points Objectively the Camaro surpasses the Mustang in every measurable way which was my point. Why you bought a mustang and why you need to waste time explaining it is your concern not mine. It took a new V8 and a new model for the Mustang to keep up with the SS. The fact that the Camaro out handles out brakes and out Accelerates the Mustang are legitimate OBJECTIVE points. The Camry outsells alot of cars does it make it a better care of course not it makes it the best seller..... .Che you took the sage route in a very image and style conscious segment and it's costing them that's the bottom line from an execution standpoint the Camaro is the clear leader in this group and that has been OBJECTIVELY proven time and time again.
Mr Smokes, we all have an opinion and often interpret facts differently. I assume your “it took a new V8...” comment refers to the 5.0L coyote 2011 introduction and “...new model' refers to the 6G Mustang introduced in late Nov 2014. Ford is in the third iteration of it's ten year Mustang platform program: S95, S197, and S550. The program is historically successful in sales and not designed around what GM does with Camaro. Camaro was not built from 2002 to 2009. If a new model introduction period is 90 days the 6G Camaro sales were 24% of the 6G Mustang sales. 4:1. You call that keeping up? If it were boxing they would stop the fight. The 6G Mustang Nov 2014 intro was with +$3/gal gas and the worst winter in ages (the snow in Boston did melt till June 2015) The 6G Camaro Nov 2015 intro was with sub $2/gal gas and the mildest winter in ages. Why are your points meaningful and every one else's points meaningless? The second half of the S197 platform life (2009-2014) competed against 5G Camaro. Camaro led sales. However, Mustang staid strong and sold 92% of the leader in that period. The throwback solid axle Mustang competed with the IRS/LS 6.2 Corvette powered 5G Camaro with concept car design. The S197 new 2011 engines and sheet metal sculpting by your view were what, unfair competition? By that logic you should be critical of Ford for not sticking with the 1964 V8_289 Falcon! (BTW you can't touch one of those for less than $24k today). Let us compare sales competition of 5G camaro to 6G camaro. The 6G camaro was all over TV and featured in the 100th Indy 500, pre-race drivers parade, on track pace cars. The payoff: June 2016 sales 6G Cam=4993. June 2015 5G Cam=8611. Holy Mr. Smokes! Is this a 'major malfunction'? Your “every measurable way” comment cannot be referring to 'wanting to actually own one.' Your “time and time again” comment is challenged when having to name 'two' times. GM has always been second in timing of model builds. The 1967 Camaro targeted the 1964.5 mustang. The 5G targeted the S197. The 6G Camaro targeted the 6G Mustang. Seriously, would 6G Camaro have four cylinder power if 6G Mustang did not? Ford has blue printed platform life cycle programs and GM has always followed them after observing the success. I fail to see your point “Camaro is the clear leader...” GM stands for General Mimicking.
"GM stands for General Mimicking." -- I'll go with "Government Motors" since GM was bailed out with taxpayer funds - including Mustang owners. Ford/Mustang has succeeded without bailouts.
Isn't the Camaro more expensive the comparable Mustang?
A number of insurance companies are always ready and willing to team up with the police to enhance their bottom line. Two of the worst offenders have been AAA and GEICO. AAA joined a group (GUARD) to ban radar detectors and GEICO donated radar guns to the police.
Camaro continues to lose the sales war due to price. They car has great performance and the interior is upscale now but waaaay over priced. I also feel they lost the muscle car look after the 2013 model year. The 2016 is not that nice to look at.
Ford just released a warrantied update that costs $2400 & bumps the 5.0L to 475 HP (40 HP) and more significantly increases HP by 60 at 7500 RPM over the stock 5.0L. So now someone can pony up $32k for a Mustang GT or $36k for a Mustang GT with the performance pack add $2400 and still come home with a Camaro whipping fully warrantied 'Stang for less than 40k.... Ouch...., that just might be the nail in the coffin of the 2016 'maro. Keep in mind the LT1 power curve drops off sharply at 6500 RPM, yet another reason why the Mustang is "more than the sum of it's parts...." So much for the "2016 Camaro whips the GT350" it is going to have trouble keeping its self in the review of the regular GT. Ford - the standing ovation is deafening, yet again.... Still the biggest issue the Camaro has is GM "converted the back seat into a back-pack shelf" - that is a direct quote from a disgusted sales guy at a Chevy dealer. While you can add suspension parts and clearly all the HP you want to the 'Stang for not really all that much, getting the Camaro to seat 4 requires a significant if not complete redesign.
To GM Staff: to improve your sales numbers, please build a Camaro that will seat my kids (adult-sized) or friends in back seat.