The Ford Mustang Is The Best-Selling Sports Car For The Sixth Year In A Row
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to the 2020 Ford Mustang. Take away what you want from the numbers that Ford just released.
The good news: The Ford Mustang is, for the sixth year in a row, the best selling car in the three-car segment known as Sports Car (muscle cars). It beat out the Dodge Challenger by a small margin and the Chevy Camaro by a large margin.
The bad news: The 61,090 units sold is the lowest in the history of the iconic muscle car. Ever. That means worse than the Mustang II, worse than the Pony Cars years. Worst.
I alluded to this in a recent article I wrote where I explain that the much-maligned Mustang Mach-E needs to succeed in order to keep our cherished Mustang pony car alive. Ford has promised a next generation of the Mustang, which is more than Chevy will do for the Camaro which is on life support (more on those numbers below).
Also, as I reported, Ford has committed to V8 engines still in the Mustang too which should make the enthusiasts happy. It’s not all Mach-E and electrification when it comes to the Mustang. The two aren’t mutually exclusive, but for sure those who bang the drum that the Mach-E is #NotAMustang may not be paying attention to the sagging and downright lousy sales of the “real Mustang.”
A closer look at the Mustang sales for 2020 is pretty eye opening.
2020 Sales for the Ford Mustang
Ford released the numbers for both the fourth quarter and for the 2020 year and it revealed that Mustang sales totaled 61,090 for the year, marking its sixth straight year as America’s best-selling sports car. Mustang also finished the final quarter on total sales of 13,453 cars. At retail, Mustang sales were up 14.8 percent for the quarter. Combined Q4 retail sales of Shelby GT350 and GT500 increased 36 percent, with retail sales up 14 percent for the year.
I wrote a eulogy and tribute to the GT350 as one of the best Mustangs Ford has produced in a long time. It is being discontinued. The Mustang Mach 1 will replace it in the stable. And Ford will continue to produce the Mustang GT500 as well.
Car sales in general are down significantly across the board due to the pandemic. That’s only natural. So Mustang having the lowest units sold ever is not as dire as it sounds. And truth be told Mustang sales are only down 15 percent compared to last year where Ford sold 72,489 units.
But you can’t also dismiss the significant drop in sales for the Mustang and the entire muscle car/sports car segment. It’s sort of a dying breed.
How Did The Mustang Sell Versus The Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger?
My colleague Patrick Rall wrote that the Challenger was giving the Mustang a run for its money through part of this year. In the end, the Challenger fell short of taking the title from the Mustang, but managed to sell 52,955 units (to Mustangs 61,090).
The Chevy Camaro on the other hand is dying a slow painful death. It may be hastened after the Camaro suffered the biggest year-over-year decline in Chevy’s entire lineup. The 29,775 units sold represent a 38.3 percent from 2019.
In the machismo banter of which muscle car is best, when it comes to sales, it’s quite obvious. Camaro fans may be seeing the end of the Camaro (again).
Sales of the 2021 Mustang Mach-E
Ford has played coy when I’ve asked (on numerous occasions) about reservation numbers for the Mustang Mach-E. Some speculation had the number very average and some had it high. The truth lies somewhere in the middle probably.
We know the zest for the Mach-E hasn’t been as great as that of the reborn Bronco, but also the Mach-E will be a harder sell to the consumer. And of course there’s that point of putting the Mustang name and badge on an electrified crossover.
Some will never get over that. However, others are embracing it, as I did a story that received a lot of feedback about a 70-year old giving up a V8 GT Mustang to order a Mustang Mach-E GT. Early adapters like that will be important for sales to be robust for the Mach-E which will be necessary.
In the above numbers filed there are a few (maybe hundred) Mach-E sales in that figure, but for 2021 we will see Mach-E separate from the Mustang sales numbers (since one is a crossover and one is a sports coupe).
With 2021 among us now, more and more units of the Mach-E will be arriving and those who did order are regularly posting in forums and social media groups about their orders being fulfilled. It’s an exciting time for them.
I was called a Mustang Mach-E fan boy or a convert by someone I respect in a Mach-E forum. While I appreciate the sentiment of being able to cover both sides of the Mach-E, my heart belongs with the original pony car. My beloved friend Gale Halderman passed away and I love seeing his designs live on in muscle cars. And yes, I do see some of his design influences in the Mach-E as well.
But what I see from these Mustang sales numbers is that while the Mustang holds onto its best-selling title (an empty title almost), the numbers look bad for it and the entire segment as in not sustainable for the long-term.
So, all of you enthusiasts who grouse that the Mach-E is #NotAMustang, to save the pony car, and save the muscle car, you better get to buying them. Because it’s always about money and don’t think that what’s happened to the Camaro couldn’t also happen to the Mustang.
Leave me your comment. How long do you think the Mustang as we know it, can survive?
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.