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Ford Mustang Outsells Challenger and Camaro Combined in March

The Ford Mustang continued its dominance of the muscle car sales charts in March, selling more units than the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger combined, and extending an early lead over the competitors in their year’s sales race.

This is not an April Fool’s Day joke – the Ford Mustang sold more units in March 2016 than the Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger combined.

After the Chevrolet Camaro dominated the muscle car sales chart for 5 straight years starting back in 2010 – leading the segment in annual sales every year up to an including 2014 – the folks at Ford were surely ready to see the Mustang back atop the charts. The Motor Company achieved that goal in 2015, when the debut of the then-new 2015 Mustang led to massive sales numbers month after month and by year’s end – the Mustang had claimed the title with a landslide win.

However, that new Mustang was competing with a Chevrolet Camaro which was at the very end of its life cycle, so pretty much everyone expected that the arrival of the next generation Camaro would even the score a bit on the sales chart. However, as we dig through sales numbers for the 5th full month of 2016 Camaro sales, the Chevy has remained relatively flat while the Mustang continues to post gigantic numbers.

Mustang Booms in March
In 2015, the new Ford Mustang had been ramping up the sales numbers from its introduction in late 2014 and by March or 2015, the new model sales boom hit hard – with a whopping 12,663 units sold. This March, sales numbers were down a bit for the Mustang, but with 12,563 new models sold last month, the Mustang continues to sell at a better rate than the Camaro has ever sold since being introduced back in 2009.

For another way of looking at the Mustang’s continued success in the second year of sales for the new model, consider this – Ford sold 9,993 Mustangs in February and 12,563 in March for a two-month total of 22,556. Over the course of the past five years in which I’ve been covering muscle car sales, the Camaro has only sold more than 10,000 units in a month one time – May 2014 – and with 9,043 Camaros sold in April 2014, that was the best two-month sales period for the Chevy in my time covering the segment. In short, in the best two months for the Camaro over the past 5 years, it fell short of the Mustang’s February-March 2016 total by more than 3,100 units. Also, Feb-March 2016 isn’t even the Mustang’s best two-month period in the last five years, having sold 26,760 units in April-May 2015.

In other words, the Ford Mustang has been selling very, very well since the newest generation first went on sale late in 2014 and March 2016 was just the latest beating of the competition, with the Mustang’s total of 12,563 adding up to beat the Camaro and Challenger combined (12,248 total).

Camaro Sales Continue to Surprise
The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro officially introduced the next generation GM muscle car to dealerships and buyers back in October 2015. At that point, pretty much everyone who pays any attention to muscle car sales expected that, like the Mustang, the Camaro would enjoy a big sales spike when the new models hit full force. The next gen Mustang went on sale as a 2015 model in November of 2014 and Ford saw a huge jump in sales. I expected to see that same spike for Chevy, maybe not in the first or second month, but by the time that the new Camaro had reached dealerships across the country. However, with March being the 5th full month of deliveries and a solid inventory of new Camaros at dealerships all over the country, sales have remained inexplicably low.

In March 2016, GM sold 6,879 examples of the Chevrolet Camaro, which includes some “old” 2015 models and a majority of new 2016 models. This marks an improvement of roughly 700 units over February 2016 and, more importantly, it is an improvement of 15.5% over the same month last year. The Camaro is moving in the right direction, but it isnt doing so anywhere near the rate at which the new Mustang sold in its first year.

Frankly, having driven the new Camaro 1LT RS, I truly do not understand why people aren’t buying more of them. The Camaro is better in every way than the version which led the segment in sales for 5 straight years. It blows my mind that more people aren't snatching up the 6th gen models.

The Challenger
The Dodge Challenger was, as it usually is, the third bestselling muscle car in America with 5,369 units sold in March 2016. This marks an improvement of 6% over the March 2016, so as has been the case since the refreshed Challenger was introduced back in 2014 – the Mopar muscle car continues to gradually improve sales numbers.

I still believe that we will see Camaro numbers increase, but it is clear that the popularity of the Ford Mustang isn’t fading in its second full year – so GM is going to have a tough battle to win the muscle car sales race for 2016.

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I have not driven a 2016 Camaro, but examined several closely on the dealer lot. I agree the gen 6 is better than the gen 5 in almost every category, however, I am not surprised by the slow sales start for gen 6 Camaro. It is slower than the numbers because the gen 6 mustang was introduced in a short month Nov 2014. STLm MO Ford dealers did not have them until one week before Turkey Day. Stang 6 sold 18,200 units by Dec 31, 2014! Gas was about $1.20/gal higher, and the winter was just awful. Cam 6 comes out with lower fuel cost and better weather and lays an egg (relative to Stang 6). There is something about the new Camaro design that is off. I don't know what it is, the car just seems like a sum of parts rather than a whole. A Cadillac platform, Corvette engine, sculpted Gen 5 body. I agree it should be a winner, but it is not. Perhaps Gen 6 Camaro has an identity crisis and that dampens the buyers buzz. By contrast Mustang has the strongest identity of any car built. 51 years, a new design body-yet unmistakably a Mustang. Chassis sophistication with IRS and leading edge front suspension with EPS. The Mustang EPS was perfected in the S197 platform, it is a me-too on the competition. All 3 engines are Mustang specific, and engineered for Mustang only. The Mustang is more identity 'whole'. That is my explanation. While Camaro is technically faster and lighter and design edgier a purchase decision has a lot to due with buyer perception intangibles- feel and identity. The Camaro lacks something there. One guy wrote "I don't care if the Camaro weighs ten pounds and is fast as the speed of light, I like the Mustang better." There you have it.
There really is no mystery GM turned the Camaro into a two seater and it's going to sell like one. If I were a Camaro fan I'd be pissed. Being fast, handling, etc is great and cars like the Camaro and Mustang are firmly in the domain of single adults, however at the end of the day being able to bring friends along is also a part of the culture of the pony car the Camaro can no longer fulfill that role. My respects to Camaro fans, GM lost sight of the ball on this redesign, let's hope they come to their senses and frankly I hope Ford recognizes that and respects the 2+2 in their next redesign.
Fully agree - what's the point of driving a cool car if you can't take anyone along for the ride. Plus the visibility - I have heard this from the folk at work who have test driven these cars. The Mustang makes you feel more comfortable looking out.
Mustangs are great for small people with little taste in cars that are practical. The Dodge Charger RT Roan & Track is far superior to all those mentioned having the hot rod thing down well and seating, storage space, driveability, poise, and great fuel mileage (32mpg) in an attractive and useable package for less money than those touted so very well.
Jealous much? Challlenger was odd man out in the 60's and still is in the 16's. No matter what Dodge does, its always gonna fall short. Even if ya factory maximize it ala Hellcat to give it a slight advantage over the big boys off the assembly line, minimal investment from the massive aftermarket of the "real" pony cars make even the Hellcat once again irrelevant.
What if someone does not prefer the "compact" footprint of the "pony" car, but wants a bigger, more spacious, heavier, more comfortable (especially during long distance voyages) type of car with a distinct non-fastback-type exterior styling ?
Camaro blurs the line between muscle car and sports car. Smaller, lighter, two seater, four banger cars are not muscle cars. Challenger is a muscle car, moving in the right direction, more powerful engine for a large, hefty coupe that can seat five. Mustang somewhere in-between. Relative to these three cars, does anyone have a breakdown of buyers by gender?
Ford has suggested that, in 2015, 34% of new Mustang buyers were women. More significantly, most of them chose the 2.3 L ecoboost. Probably, they were being "practical" about having a daily car, too, and not just one for weekends at the track! It would be interesting to find equivalent ballpark figures for Camaro and Challenger.
Thanks, Lee
I am all for the rivalry among Mustang, Camaro, and Challenger/Charger because it keeps all three on their toes as the uniquely American "blue-collar" alternatives to foreign sport/muscle/high performance cars. The Mustang hit a home run with the gen6 model: its looks and even its useful internal space in the trunk (50% larger than Camaro's) and enough back seat to squeeze in two adults, as I have done taking three adults in mine. What astonishes me is that all this is done with essentially the same external dimensions as the Camaro. Finally, the forward visibility in the Mustang is better than the Camaro's, and the Mustang thus becomes a great touring car, augmented by a better ride, thanks to the independent rear suspension. So, yes, I agree with others who say the Mustang as a "design unity" compared to the piecemeal dissonance of the Camaro. And I like the Challenger/Charger fidelity to their muscular pose.
The '16 Camaro SS is more expensive than ever. The 1SS coupe base price has increased by more than 20% since the introduction of the new car for 2010, by far the biggest increase in the segment. By comparison the Mustang GT has increased by about 14%. The new Camaro is an impressive performer, but it's appeal is hindered by it's poor visibility, tiny trunk, similar to last gen styling and aforementioned cost.
spot on. Haven't owned a Mustang since '88' and was looking for a replacement for our E90 BMW when we decided to look at the Ford lot. The Fusion was ho-hum but the Mustang looked really good. It drove just as well and for the $ it provided a terrific value. Looked at the Camaro at a local car show--improved styling but the interior didn't seem as well thought out and visibility was significantly reduced. Pricing--I was very surprised how expensive the V6 camaro was--by the time some decent options the V6 ends upin the low 30's. For than amount of $ you can get a Mustang GT wit the V8.
The Camaro SS looks nice, but then some moron at Chevy had to go and put some rice boy wing on the back. Whoever did that should be fired.
No one buys a Camaro, Challenger or Mustang for logical reasons. All this hand-wringing about the Camaro being "technically" superior is hot air. People buy these coupes (and converts) for emotional reasons and that is where the Mustang NAILED IT. The styling is expressive and modern while honoring historical Mustang styling cues. The Camaro simply looks too much like it's predecessor. The Mustang FEELS special in a way that the Camaro missed. For example: the HVAC controls on the Camaro are fun, novel gimmicks and stand out as the only fun thing. The Mustang is full of those "Easter eggs" that surprise and delight in daily use. Things like toggle switches, sequential tail lamps, "Ground Speed" on the speedometer... These things are all stupid, but it's what seals the deal for Joe-sixpack that is going to actually spend his moolah and drive the car every day. The performance differences may add up on the track, but in day-to-day commuting, the differences are negligible.
I think all the comments above are cogent, except mine, my fingers omitted words my brain was thinking. "It is slower than the numbers because" refers to introductory sales numbers. An apples to apples comparison of new model intros [Stang6-Nov&Dec 2014] v [Cam6-Nov-Dec 2015] is remarkably weighted toward Stang6. Cam 5 [Oshua Canada production] ran to November 20, 2015. I visited Weber Chev [MO's largest Chevy dealer] in Jan 2016 to see the Cam 6. There were more Cam5s on the lot than Cam6. In Nov&Dec '15 + Jan '16, Camaro numbers ran about 5800 units per month. How many were Cam 6? If we force a number and say half [if any one has data please help] Cam6 sells 8700 units in 90 days. By contrast, Stang 6 sold 18,200 units in 45 days. Extrapolating to a 45 day basis, the introductory sales numbers for Cam 6 are 24% of Stang 6. The S197 platform built the last unit June 22, 2014. My quantitative analysis is a little unfair to Camaro because Cam 5 or Cam 6 it is still a Camaro sale. However, if you sift out just the Cam 6 numbers they are remarkably small. The author, Patrick, develops this thought, Here is where the writers above come in, very cogent thoughts about why. Great posts speaking to the point of the article.
I guess when one distills all the Camaro comments, the lack of emotion (at least for me) pretty much sums it up. Nothing too negative, but nothing overwhelmingly positive either....on an emotional level. If you ever look at a Barrett-Jackson auction on TV and see that first generation Camaro cross the stage...now that elicits emotion. My all-time favorite is a 1969 Camaro Z-28, hugger orange in color! Slow down my beating heart.
How many Mustangs were dropped in to Rental fleets? 37% of Fords total sales in March were Fleet/Rental, so I would guess, a lot. Don't see momentum continuing the rest of the year, the Camaro is too good. It's won virtually every comparison; the SS even beat the BMW M4 is a recent comparison at Car & Driver.
I was in Key West over the Christmas holiday and while the Mustang rentals far outnumbered the Camaro rentals there were definitely 2016 Camaro rentals there. While I expect the Camaro sales to improve, I don't see that it'll ever eclipse the Mustang with this generation; it has two serious disadvantages - comparably equipped it's about $4k more expensive than a Mustang, second which will not go away it's just too small; it has an unusable backseat and a barely usable trunk. I could not buy one for the reason at 5'11" no one can sit behind me, I am not exaggerating
Another good point in explanation. Camaro 6 is three inches longer in WB than Mustang 6. I would have figured the three inches to show up in the back seat leg room. I read where Camaro 6 is 1 inch lower in greenhouse height than Camaro 5. That is really paying a price for style. Oddly the Mustang looks just as stylish in exterior, I did get a dealer drive in a Stang 6, and there is more driver-passenger room than my Crown Vic. Was too enthralled to even look in the back seat, but I will take your word for it that it is usable. 2+2 Mustangs back seats always have been knocked for back seat room. Has any six foot guy ever tried to fit in the back seat of any Porsche? I think not. It is just an upholstered shelf to place a camera bag and hat. Mustang is an above average owner experience, all things considered.
A 6' guy is going to have to duck his head in a Mustang and the leg room is tight, by comparison there is no leg room in the Camaro if the driver is my height, so head room really doesn't matter, though when I sat back there with the driver seat tilted forward I could not sit straight up. If you ask me the unusable backseat is an issue that is going to keep the 4 and 6 cylinder cars on the lot. There are a lot of people with mini-vans, large sun's that would love to have a fun car to drive around town, however being able to put someone in the back now and then is a must, it's really disappointing if you ask me, GM has the corvette as a two seater, why make the Camaro into one as well? Is beating the Mustang that important?
Don't know where anyone comes off saying Mustang sales are off the chart. When the Mustang was introduced, it sold 70,000 cars a month....A MONTH. Today's Mustang's price is way out of line with the car...and it clearly shows in the SMALL number of cars sold. 10k a month is 1/7 of the introductory car. If FORD engineers were doing their job, Honda, Toyota and Nissan would sell zero cars in the small car market.
The sales numbers are all relative.... there are no 2-door cars selling in the numbers they did in the 60's and 70's. The market moved on and today's carbuyers have a strong preference for SUV/CUV type vehicles. The original Mustang was a sensation due to it's novelty and absolutely perfect timing to market.
With respect to the previous comment on the relative undesirability of two-door cars, BMW has just come out with the two-door M2, very attractive and reportedly better in its handling than the four-door Bimmers. That being said, I do prefer a two-door Mustang over the two-door Camaro because I can pack my "toys" easily into the Mustang's much more commodious trunk and even put things through a "cargo space" with the back seats down: for example, two inflatable kayaks, golf clubs, and suitcases for road trips. And still have "fun" zipping around in a car that makes SUVs feel like tanks. Maybe BMW's M2 is the "right" car for our time, too. In the meantime, go Mustang, Camaro, and even roomier Challenger.
My point exactly, I don't have an issue with two door cars, however the Camaro is not a functional 2+2. Yes the Mustang's back seat is not a great place to be, however an average sized adult can get back there if necessary and younger kids can happily sit back there. I am saying this because I tried it out, the sales guy rolled his eye the second I starting checking the back seat and simply stated "they've converted the back seat into a storage area, it's not usable as a seat" - the Chevy Sales guy said that, and he didn't look happy about it either.
My problem with cars in general and particularly the Mustang and Camaro, is the roofline is lowered in most every redesign. Then the seats are lowered to allow for headroom. That gives one the impression of sitting on the floor. And the center console of all cars intrude on driver and passenger space....giving me a feeling of being cramped. It's not quite as bad as getting into an Indy car.....yet. Just look at each Camaro redesign and how it compares with the first generation model. Lower, cramped, poorer visibility, and less mechanic friendly (self-repairs). And yes.....my next car will be a truck. Sit up high, easier entry to the cab, good visibility, and some trucks don't have those intrusive center consoles.
I agree with you about the center console, what is it with large center consoles anyway? I'd love to see a version of these cars a shifter on the floor, perhaps a storage area between the seats near your hip but that's it.
just a life time FORD FAN.
The reason for the slow sales is the price. These things are way too expensive. Well optioned 2ss cars are selling for $50k. I saw a used 2015 GT premium today that was fully loaded with 9,000 miles for 32K. Thats a hard pill to swallow. I know its faster but not $18k faster. I have a 2014 camaro 1LE and there is no way I'm trading mine. I pay 460 a month now. Who wants an $800 payment to drive a new camaro. Not this guy.
Having traded my gen 5 Camaro for a 6th gen Camaro. I can tell you the new ones are 10 steps above the older ones. The resale value on a 2015 Eco boost Mustang is horrible. I can only imagine what the trade in value is for a v6 base Mustang. Yes 2015 and before v6 Camaros are the same. BUT the new Mustang is NEW. Be honest. When you see a 15 or 16 Mustang, it gets no attention. As do the last few generations.
The S550 body car gets more attention than the old one, that explains why they are outselling the S197 body, the Camaro and Challenger. I get you have your bias, to ignore that sales of the new Mustang have achieved in every month since it's debut sales numbers the last Camaro achieved only once is to ignore plain facts. I wonder do you have anyone riding in the back of your generation 6 Camaro?