It has been said that the only thing that can unite rivals is a common enemy. The COVID-19 pandemic is that enemy. The rivals were the various automakers across the globe. I’m not saying they all hugged each other and sang Kumbaya, My Lord, together. I am saying that during the pandemic lockdowns, the rival automakers united behind the cause to save humanity. To that end, many of them shifted manufacturing to make various pieces of health equipment from face masks and shields to ventilators. However, that doesn’t mean rivalries haven’t continued. For example, the muscle car wars are still very real. It’s a war that the Dodge Challenger seems to be winning at the moment.
2020 third-quarter sales data is in
The third-quarter sales data for 2020 is in. Those figures break down how each model did against each other and how they did compared to the same quarter in 2019. According to Good Car Bad Car, The Dodge Challenger had 16,332 units sold during the quarter. The Ford Mustang was the closest of the three competitors, coming in at 13,851 sales. The Camaro was like a good plastic surgeon, bringing up the rear. It had 8,367 units sold during the quarter.
Dodge Challenger sales are off compared to last year
There is no doubt that the incorporation of big V8 engines into the Challenger platform has helped raise some consumer awareness about the Dodge muscle car. After all, who hasn’t heard of a Hellcat engine? But, as good as the engines are, a platform that has changed little over many years could possibly be holding back an even more brisk sales pace. The numbers may also be validating that as they show that the Dodge Challenger sold 9.4 percent slower than last year. Keep in mind, however, last year there wasn’t a pandemic to worry about and, consequently, people were driving more.
The thoughts of the aged platform and the pandemic holding back sales of the Dodge Challenger have to be taken with a grain of salt, however, because sales of the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have also be stunted this year at 17.7 percent and 31.8 percent, respectively. This is odd because many brands have returned to near pre-pandemic sales volumes. So, are the numbers pointing to a more dire situation? Is the muscle car category as a whole played out?
I don’t think muscle cars are played out. People will always be in love with more power. It is more likely, however, that the current designs are played out. Retro design cues may be declining in popularity. But, horsepower will not. So, even if the platforms or the nameplates change, people will always flock to a horsepower rich personal sportscar if the price is right.
2020 Dodge Challenger
The entry point for the 2020 Dodge Challenger is the SXT trim. According to the Dodge website, the price point for the rear-wheel drive SXT starts at 28,095, before incentives. It includes 18-inch wheels, a U-Connect 7-inch infotainment display, and a V6. But packages and trims can adjust that price quickly. The top-end of the Challenger offering is the SRT Hellcat Redeye Widebody trim package. Of course, that adds the Hellcat V8, a special handling package, and brings the starting price point to $78,695.
As far as rivals go, the other manufacturers in the American muscle car wars don’t have the Dodge Challenger’s take rate. So, the Challenger is currently the king of the hill. But, if there’s anything we’ve learned of the previous and current muscle car wars, is that any current king is a rival’s redesign away from being overthrown. So, keep an eye out for changes to this muscle car segment.