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Mustang Soars in February While Camaro Sales Slump

The Ford Mustang posted huge sales in February, badly beating the Chevrolet Camaro as sales of the 6th gen GM muscle car have remained inexplicably slow.


The Ford Mustang posted its best February in years and the best February I have seen of any muscle car in my 5 years of covering the segment sales race. As a result of another strong month, the Mustang led the segment in sales for the 16th straight month, very comfortably beating both the Chevrolet Camaro and the Dodge Challenger.

February 2016 Muscle Car Sales
In February 2016, Ford sold 9,993 examples of the Mustang. This is an increase of more than 2,400 units from January and, more importantly, this accounts for an improvement of 18% over the same month last year. For those unclear on the terminology, auto sales are often considered in “year over year” terms, meaning that the month in question is compared to the same month last year. In this case, sales numbers for February 2016 are compared to February 2015. Ford’s February 2016 was 18.2% better than February 2015.

The Dodge Challenger was third in overall sales, but in moving 5,585 units last month, the brawny Mopar muscle car improved by 6% over last February. In fact, last month marked the best sales month for the Challenger ever, following the best January ever.
Of course, the biggest surprise is that the Chevrolet Camaro still hasn’t experienced the huge new generation sales boom that I have been expecting since before the new models reached showrooms last November. In February 2016, GM sold just 6,151 examples of the Camaro. That is an improvement of 600 units compared to January, but that number leads to a year over year decline of 3.5%. In the same month where the Mustang and Challenger posted modern monthly records, Camaro sales were worse than they were one year earlier – even though both the “old” 2015 models and the brand new 2016 models are available around the country.

2016 Totals
On the year, the Ford Mustang leads the sales race with 17,573 units sold in just two months. The Camaro is second with 11,702 units sold and the Challenger is third with 10,670 units sold. On the year, the Mustang is up 2.5% compared to 2015, the Camaro is up 3% and the Challenger is up 8%.

Really, the numbers don’t seem all that unusual if this was a normal year, but it is not. We are in the fourth month of availability for the 6th generation Camaro and with this new generation, it was widely expected that GM would see a massive sales boom. Ford enjoyed a sales boom that started in the first month that the 2015 models were available and, really, the company is still riding that wave. I fully expected to see the Mustang’s domination come to an end when the new Camaro hit dealerships with full force, but four months into deliveries and the Camaro sales figures have remained inexplicably low.

To get an idea of how well the Mustang has been selling since it was introduced in November of 2014, here are some quick numbers from the last two years. In the month before the 2015 models went on sale (Oct 2014), Ford sold only 4,565 Mustangs. In the next month, that number jumped to 8,728 – almost double. Since that first month of availability, the worst sales month for the Mustang was November 2015, when only 7,286 units were sold. In that same period of time, Chevrolet has only sold more than 7,200 Camaros three times and in those three months (May, June, July 2015), the Mustang also posted its best sales numbers of the year.

This steady stream of incredible sales months for the Mustang comes thanks to the introduction of the new model for 2015, and I fully expected that the arrival of the 2016 Camaro would have the same effect on GM’s sales sheet, but so far, I have been wrong.

Still, I believe that come spring, we will see a boom in Camaro sales as Chevy faithful come out of their winter routine to buy a new muscle car.


Jesse (not verified)    March 1, 2016 - 3:49PM

While hitting the local car lots one Sunday afternoon, I took in the Chevy lot. Parked beside each other was a '15 and '16 Camaro, identical in color. All the hoopla just flew out of the '16 Camaro welcoming party. A different crease here.......a newly redesigned outside mirror there.....some different front and rear facia changes. It all adds up to one big yawn. It's the outside of a car that brings in the foot traffic to a dealership. The 2010 to 2016 Camaro years need a playbook to tell which year is which. I have been a Chevy fan since 1964. I know what a total redesigned Camaro looks a '69 to a '70 1/2 or a '64 Impala to a '65 Impala. Who wants to drive a new car off the lot that looks like it's 4 or 5 years old. With the Mustang, the generational changes are immediately obvious.

carguy2 (not verified)    March 21, 2016 - 6:12AM

In reply to by Jesse (not verified)

The gen 6 camaro is plagued by the same problems that the C7 Corvette has. Quality of build and engine problems are all over the internet. You can't get away with that anymore. It's 2016. Even a small rattle is known about by prospective buyers. GM should be embarrassed . Cylinder deactivation is bad enough on a muscle car. But adding more problems? Seriously??

Steve (not verified)    May 31, 2016 - 9:58AM

In reply to by carguy2 (not verified)

To be fair, it's not build quality that is plaguing the current generation of the small block Chevy. GM has taken that engine to it's pinnacle, it is state of the art and it is pushing the limits of what can reliably be mass produced. People talk about power density, well yes that is true however heat increases proportionately with power and these new LT engines make a ton of both. In addition to the pistons creating heat in the block the cam and push rod are also creating heat, though the greater impact is that heat the cam, push rods and metal housing them store they add significantly to the cooling requirements of the block. Putting the cams in the heads removes the heat sink from the block and the bigger heads make up for the slight weight penalty by providing more surface area to allow for cooling.
To illustrate my point the LT1 outweighs the Coyote block by 20 pounds - that's 20 pounds of metal that are used to house the cam and push rods, 20 pounds more metal to cool, in a more compact package.
For further illustration my point the C8 will have a DOHC V8.

David R. Letendre (not verified)    March 2, 2016 - 12:28PM

The inside and performance of the Camaro SS is awesome. Chevy blew it in terms of outside design..............what were they thinking ?? I'll stick with my 2013 2SS/ looks like a muscle car should.

Crystal (not verified)    March 2, 2016 - 3:04PM

The 2016 Camaro has a very similar front and rear like the refreshed 2014-2015. I have a 2015 Camaro. Today someone asked me if mine was the new 2016. I knew today that the 6th gen Camaro just wasn't new enough. (yes I know it is all new. But the average person, they can't tell.)

Crystal (not verified)    March 2, 2016 - 5:10PM

2016 Camaro looks so similar to the 2014-15 refresh Camaro. I have a 2015 and someone asked me if it was a 2016.Yes it's an all new Camaro. But the outside is sadly to close.

Confounded (not verified)    April 11, 2016 - 3:57PM

In reply to by Crystal (not verified)

Chevy engineers are getting everything wrong. Cartoon inspired designs, cramped and uninspired interiors and mechanical/drivetrain problems that only a real Chevy Devotee would put up with. No - new cars are not supposed to have early mileage problems in this day and age. Poor looks, poor engineering, poor reliability, but fast and sort of evil looking. Just what a ten year old boy wants.

matt R (not verified)    March 3, 2016 - 8:56PM

I've said the same thing about the Camaro that you are all saying. It looks pretty much exactly like the previous generation. Same thing with the challengers, they look the same as when they debuted as a redo of the old challenger. It's not really a huge difference.

If you stack this newest generation mustang next to the 2006-2014, there's a HUGE difference. The problem with Camaro is that they pretty much did what Ford did from 2006-2014. They just made subtle changes here and there while improving the performance of the car. The 2016 isn't THAT much different looking than the 2010.

I am not surprised by the numbers. Chevy will have to do some serious price cuts to get those sales in.

It also helps Mustang to have an awesome iconic name associated with it too in Shelby

Steve (not verified)    March 8, 2016 - 9:54AM

The Mustang is more a part of American culture than the Camaro, also I believe it's simply a stunningly beautiful car. I saw all the rentals down in Key West in December and I am fairly objective and the lines of the Mustang grew on me, and the convertible is simply gorgeous. I appreciate what GM did with the Camaro however, the Ford Mustang is a very attractive car, the new IRS is awesome, I really don't care if the Camaro is faster, quicker what have you, the Mustang can sit next to a Porsche or BMW and still draw attention, the Camaro lost something in this redesign and it just kinda plain.

Dewk (not verified)    July 13, 2016 - 5:21PM

In reply to by Steve (not verified)

More apart of American culture? Where did you get that from. Both cars benefit from each other and neither would as "famous" without the other. It was the yearly battles that ingrained muscle cars in our culture. They are equals, both each have their fans who swear their car is top dog.

April (not verified)    July 13, 2016 - 8:43PM

In reply to by Dewk (not verified)

Dewk that guy hates on Camaros and I think he has no clue they are equals and competition makes better cars. If Camaro sales were 100.000 he would still say they suck. Someone needs to grow up lol

stan (not verified)    March 15, 2016 - 3:35PM

The new Camaro is hideous: square and bulky looking, with no sexy curves (necessary to sell a sports car for about the last 100 years).

Chevrolet blew it.

stan (not verified)    March 15, 2016 - 3:35PM

The new Camaro is hideous: square and bulky looking, with no sexy curves (necessary to sell a sports car for about the last 100 years).

Chevrolet blew it.

Steve (not verified)    March 16, 2016 - 7:07AM

From my post above it's clear I am a Mustang fan, however this past weekend I did go to the Chevrolet lot to check out the Camaro. The dealer had 2015 and 2016 Camaro's on the lot, and this was the first time I had never sat in a Camaro since I was in high school. As a parent of two kids I physically get into the back seat and get a feel for what it is like to sit back there of any vehicle I consider. I want to say it is not physically possible for me to get into the back seat of a 2016 Camaro. That is and sit up straight, to do so my head must be cocked to at least 45 degree angle, I'd say about 5" of additional head space would required for me to not hit my head on the roof. By contrast I can sit head straight up in the back of a S550 & S197 Mustang.
The 2015 Camaro on the other hand has a lot of room in the back seat, head room and leg room were more than sufficient. I'd lay money this discrepancy lies at the heart of the sales problems with the Camaro. The 2016 Camaro is a two seater, no parent or parent to be is going to look at a Camaro and say "this'll work" as transportation for the family in a pinch, because it very clearly won't. I honestly liked the 2015 Camaro, I thought the interior was kinda simple however, I am not an interior snob and could see getting one. Had I been in the Market for a Mustang when the S197 vs. Zeta platform cars were out, it would have been a difficult decision, I am a Mustang fan, however had I gotten the S197 with the solid axle I would have been knowingly ignoring a better livable platform in the Camaro, that is no even a thought. I believe we are in fact seeing the surge in sales for the Camaro, and once it subsides Camaro sales will lag behind the Challenger; this generation of Camaro will never take the sales crown from Mustang.

Crystal (not verified)    March 18, 2016 - 9:53AM

My first thought before seeing the 2016 Camaro was OMG in 2 years I am going to trade m 2015 Camaro in for a new one. I imagined a split bumper 2nd gen 6th gen Camaro. But I will keep mine. Sure the 2016 is faster and lighter. But as some have stated including me, It looks so much like my 2015 (and to that matter) all 5th gen. As one stated earlier, In ways the new 6th gen is kind of a step back in looks.
It could have 800hp and still get yawns from the average person.

Steve (not verified)    March 18, 2016 - 4:07PM

In reply to by Crystal (not verified)

I agree, it's more modest, and hey Mustang fans and Camaro fans - are not looking for modest! I have to wonder if the same crew that said "trust us" when people complained about the ill-fated reborn early 2000's GTO, had input on this one. I like the out going Camaro, true it's a cave in there, but it's got and in your face look to it that the new one lost. The new Mustang is boldly styled - some hate it some love it, but it's definitely not understated.

Jesse (not verified)    March 21, 2016 - 7:56PM

I remember in 1974 when GM took the Chevy Nova and made a Buick Apollo, Pontiac Ventura, and Oldsmobile Omega off the Nova platform. With the Pontiac, the GTO was an option. The GTO of the 60's relegated as an option box. No wonder I am so not excited by this Camaro. Remember when Cadillac took a Chevrolet Cavalier and made a Cimaron out of it? All you youngsters can Google Chevrolet Vega and see what a dud that was. Can't make this stuff up. I know I am rambling here, but I so want to like the Camaro.....I just can't. When I was in college my car was a used 1966 Chevrolet Caprice 396 4 barrel carb, dual exhaust...4 door those were the days!

Ed (not verified)    April 2, 2016 - 1:07AM

I think everyone is missing the real reason the Camaro sales are slow. PRICE !!! I have seen some 2016's for $52,000, and a V6 for over $40K. They got an almost $5K increase across the board. $33k will buy you a 2016 Mustang GT but that amount won't even buy a 2016 Camaro LT-2 with a V-6 and will barely buy an LT-1 .

M.Palmer (not verified)    May 29, 2016 - 8:38PM

Saw what I thought was a 6gen camaro rolling up in my rear view mirror recently.
Turned out to be a Toyota Camry.
I used to be a die hard GM fan, but they need to differentiate themselves a little better. The CTS-V and the Vette hold their own. But the Camaro, not so much. Too much like a Toyota for my taste.