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Ford Mustang Leads January Muscle Car Sales, Camaro Hits a New Low

Sales of the American muscle cars were particularly slow in January 2018, with the Ford Mustang leading the segment, the Dodge Challenger coming in second and the Camaro finishing third while posting the worst monthly sales figures since the Chevy muscle car returned in 2009.

If you look at sales charts for the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro over the past five years, January is typically one of the worst months of the year for the American muscle cars. With winter weather putting an end to the muscle car fun in most American states, January sales generally skew towards trucks and SUVs, but January 2018 as a particularly bad month for America’s favorite performance cars – with 11,004 units sold being the worst month for the segment since I started charting muscle car sales at the beginning of 2012. The next-worst month since 2012 came in January 2014, when only 11,072 muscle cars were sold in the USA.

However, while the month was bad for all three muscle cars, it was the worst for the Camaro.

The Mustang Starts with a Win
After taking the annual muscle car sales title in 2017, the Ford Mustang started 2018 with a monthly sales win. With 4,732 units sold, the Mustang beat the second-place Dodge Challenger by some 1,300 units, but it still wasn’t a great month for Ford’s popular pony. January 2018 was the worst first-month of the year for the Mustang since 2014 while also being the first time that Ford has sold less than 5,000 Mustangs in a month since October of 2014.

In other words, January 2018 was the worst month since the S550 Mustang went on sale late in 2014, but Ford still sold enough cars to lead the sluggish segment.

The Challenger Shows Growth
In a month where the Mustang, the Camaro and the segment as a whole all saw horrifically low numbers in January 2018, the Dodge Challenger actually posted year over year growth. In other words, Dodge sold more Challengers in January 2018 than they did in January last year, so while the rest of the segment was down – the Mopar muscle car was up.

At the same time, Challenger sales were still fairly slow last month with just 3,405 units sold. That puts the Dodge well behind the Mustang, but it managed to beat the Chevrolet Camaro by a comfortable margin.

The Camaro is Really Struggling
And that brings us to the ugliest muscle car sales news we have covered in years – January 2018 Camaro sales.

Last month, Chevrolet only sold 2,867 examples of the Camaro. That is the worst sales month for the Camaro since it returned in late 2009 as a 2010 model year vehicle and based on what I have found, it is the first time that the Camaro sold less than 3,000 units in a month during the 5th or 6th generation.

In short, January 2018 was the worst sales month for the modern era of the Camaro, but it was also one of the worst sales totals for any of the muscle cars in the past few years. To be exact, in the years that I have been covering the muscle car segment sales race, the Mustang has never sold fewer than 3,000 units. The last time that the Challenger dipped below 3,000 units was back in January 2014, so in the past four years, the Camaro’s January sales total is the worst in the segment.

It will be interesting to see what Chevrolet does to boost Camaro sales, but the company is going to need to do something, as sales of the 6th gen model have been bad and they are getting worse.


Bobby (not verified)    February 2, 2018 - 2:49PM

That's what happens when you price a car about 6k to high. Can get a base gt with auto 32k all day long. If Chevy would realize this they would sell more Camaros.

Jeff (not verified)    February 27, 2018 - 9:41AM

In reply to by Bobby (not verified)

I disagree, the 2018 starts at mustang starts at 35k. Pretty sure you can get an ss for 35-36 in a manual as well. The main reasons the Camaro isn't selling? 1. The interior is trash compared to the other 3. It looks like a first year student designed the layout. 2. The blind spots are ridiculous in that car, some people like being able to see at a glace. 3. It's a Camaro, the brand that bailed on its faithful followers...change the name.

r cuthbert (not verified)    June 22, 2018 - 4:53PM

In reply to by Bobby (not verified)

2017 GT owner NEW ZEALAND . Thank you Amercia ! for NOW making the Mustang in right hand drive and with a independent rear end . Kiwis and the Aussies love yanky V8 muscle cars. Maybe chev should do the same and send them to us

Stephen (not verified)    February 2, 2018 - 6:02PM

I just think the 5th generation is a better-looking car, but the gen 6 is more technologically advanced. Likewise, the previous generation Mustang is better looking than the current generation, but the current ones are selling for some really good prices, so maybe Chevy needs to drop the price on the Camaro.

Jeff (not verified)    February 27, 2018 - 9:45AM

In reply to by John (not verified)

Ford has 25k up to 65k markups at their dealers on gt350's and the 350r. Can't be that. It's the fact the interiors are still and have always been less than par. This year they finally got better materials, but still looks designed by a 15 year old.

Robert (not verified)    February 2, 2018 - 7:11PM

The Camaro is priced too high. Granted u get some good tech, tech doesn't always sell. That's why v6 models lead the market, people go for design more than power/features in these types of cars. And I don't exactly think the 6th gen looks grab the attention of the consumer in a positive way like the 5th gens did

Jeremy sayers (not verified)    February 3, 2018 - 8:51AM

I agree. I paid 16k for my 5th gen Camaro SS. With just a few upgrades I can hang with the 6 gen Camaro. Why would I pay 46k for something a little faster.

Bubba Blue (not verified)    February 6, 2018 - 12:04PM

Mustang or Camaro, they're too heavy.. They're too powerful.
The original Mustang was 2500 lbs. Now it's 3500. I concede 200 lbs for federal safety requirements. Still it's too heavy. Chevy should take a smaller, lighter platform and stick a smaller V-8 into it. 460 horsepower isn't necessary. About 360 is fine. It's more fun to push a car to it's limits than have to sit on them. Lighter body, smaller, more practical engine. Less expensive, more fun. More sales.

Evolix (not verified)    February 9, 2018 - 11:19PM

Just wondering if weather could also play a factor in sales. Because really who is going to buy a high horse power, rear wheel drive with summer tires during the winter months and then wait till late spring to drive their brand new muscle car. Especially those living in the northern states.

Steve (not verified)    February 27, 2018 - 3:51PM

GM simply does not understand the car market; they got a reprise with the bailout, and somehow thought they actually knew what they were doing; newsflash they didn't and they don't. In the 1LE vs. PP comparison there are numerous reference to the Camaro's sticky tires accounting for it's handling and acceleration over the Mustang. Magazines don't actually buy their cars; if you have owned a few cars you know; sticky tires have to be replaced often. That the Mustang that close with street tires that'll last 30k vs. track tires that may last 15k isn't lost on experienced car owners... or people that track their cars I have to imagine. Every one I know that tracks their car owns a Porsche 911, and they have set of track tires that get put on at the track...

Scott (not verified)    March 1, 2018 - 6:42PM

Who can afford these cars. I priced a new one a few years ago and it was $42k. Drop the price and the sales will go up.

Greg (not verified)    March 1, 2018 - 8:07PM

Sadly, the camaro never has been a big seller compared to the Mustang. I worked for Toyota for many years, saw a lot reports on car sales. The Mustang is bought by more females, the Camaro was listed as hard to get out of for a girl in a dress, it was too performance driven over ergonomics and it was list as the better handling of all cars but.... that's not for buyer are always looking for. That's been several years since I read the reports. Who knows what buyers want today. I know at any autocross event I go to, you'll see more mustangs is the street classes than Camaros

Steve (not verified)    March 2, 2018 - 6:52AM

To say the Camaro has never beeb a big seller compared to the Mustang, that isn't completely true. The Zeta platform Camaro outsold the Mustang from it's release until it's last few months of production. As far as what buyers want, it's fair to say for example if you buy a coat you want it to keep you warm, if you buy a dinner table you want it to have a surface area big enough to put dinner on and eat it, if you buy a vacuum cleaner you want it to vacuum the floor and have all the attachments, and if you buy a sporty 2+2 you want it to be usable as a 2+2, the Camaro is only sporty. Apparently there are far more buyers that are looking in this segment saying "I need a car that can seat four people when necessary and is fun to drive" rather than as GM apparently imagines, "I want a car that was designed around me, I don't care about anyone else, oh and even though I don't know where the closes track is I think most important is that it runs the fastest track times in the segment". Take a lesson from the Japanese where racing old Dodge Vans is actually popular, absolutely anything can be tracked, whether you are having fun or does not hinge upon being "fastest". Personally I'd like to see IMSA create a class for mini-vans I bet it'd draw more people that GTLM, GTD and GS combined.

Curt st germain (not verified)    March 3, 2018 - 7:59AM

I can assure you that over pricing is the reason for low numbers. I've been looking myself and have found $6000.00 difference between a Mustang Premium and the 2 SS with a better quality and better designed interior on the Mustang. The heads of GM are just not smart enough to figure that out. If they ran a decent incentive for 4 weeks you would see a big increase in sales.

Steve (not verified)    March 3, 2018 - 11:07AM

In reply to by Curt st germain (not verified)

How can you assure me of that? GM ran a "decent incentive" last fall that resulted in a narrow monthly sales win, fewer than 200 in a month that happened to coincide with Ford shutting down the Mustang lines to prepare for the 2018. Clearly they didn't incentives new buyers as their sales fell dramatically the following month, so in effect they were only shifting revenue to the left. Your analysis of the interior is your opinion only; I'd definitely give the Mustang's premium interior the edge over the Camaro's, as so most reviews. Do get me wrong I don't think the Camaro 2SS's interior is bad, it's perhaps on par or just a bit short of the Mustangs. Living with a Premium Mustang just how well thought out it's interior is really presents its self. The first and most significant strike against the Camaro's interior is that it's tiny. I went to buy a Camaro, and came home with a Mustang Premium GT, sure price was one issue however not the only one. The Mustang's interior beside being as well appointed as I desire. more attractive and modern than the Camaro's is roomy enough that I knew being 47 I'll be happy with after a couple years of ownership. That I cannot sit in the back of the Camaro was the deal breaker, the Chevy dealer let me know they were willing to deal. I thought the situation would be the same in the Mustang, yet somehow they worked magic with the back seat of the Mustang, it's actually quite roomy once you're back there. What GM thought they learned from the success of the Zeta Camaro was performance sells cars, when in fact that they should have learned was a sporty and roomy 2+2 with performance sells cars. That is why the Challenger is #2 thus far this year and will likely be the Mustang's rival. IMO Ford made a mistake by dropping the NA V6 because some just aren't ready for a turbo and likely this is another reason why the Challenger got a boost in sales. However the current generation Camaro will never lead sales , it's been out, I'd say that non-dedicated Camaro lessees are opting for the Challenger at least as often as they are opting for the Mustang. To Ford and GM; remember the Mustang and Camaro first and foremost serve as transportation.....