Is the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger Killing the Camaro?

On the track, the Chevy Camaro can more than keep up with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. But that might not be the case for much longer. The Mustang lineup is expanding, and not just through the Mach-E crossover. There’s a new Ford Mustang Mach 1 in the works, and the current GT500 is already closing in on the mid-engine Corvette. And despite the Challenger’s age, it’s still proving very popular and is one of the most reliable American cars available. Making things worse for the Camaro is that, despite incentives, its sales are slipping.

Camaro sales vs. the Ford Mustang’s and Dodge Challenger’s

2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS | Chevrolet

In 2019, both the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger out-sold the Chevrolet Camaro. This was also the case, Motor1 reports, in 2018. And based on a recent report by GM Authority, Q1 2020 is setting up to be a similar repeat.

2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost HPP
2020 Ford Mustang Ecoboost HPP | Ford

In the US, Ford sold 18,069 Mustangs in Q1 2020. In the same time frame, Dodge sold 12,138 Challengers and Chevrolet sold 7,185 Camaros. Note, that the Ford Mustang’s sales figures are purely for the sports car, not the crossover. In addition, the Mustang was the only one of the three that sold more in Q1 2020 than Q1 2019.

2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat
2019 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat | Dodge

And it’s not just in the US that Camaro sales are down. Chevy’s pony car sold worse in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and South Korea in Q1 2020 than Q1 2019. It’s only in Russia that Camaro sales improved, going from 1 in Q1 2019 to 11 in Q1 2020.

Why have Camaro sales dropped?

In terms of capability, the Chevy Camaro doesn’t give up much compared to the Ford Mustang. In fact, Car and Driver ranked the Camaro ZL1 1LE ahead of the Mustang GT500 in a recent comparison test, due the Camaro’s “best real-world performance.” In that same comparison, the Dodge Challenger Hellcat Redeye Widebody came in 3rd.

And again, in Car and Driver’s muscle car comparison between the Camaro’s and Mustang’s performance package trims, the Camaro came out on top. So why is the Camaro behind both the Mustang and Challenger in sales?

Partially, GM Authority muses, that might be due to COVID-19. However, the viral outbreak has affected every single automaker, not just GM. And, if the virus was the only determining factor, Ford Mustang sales would’ve also decreased—instead, they’ve increased.

Instead, it’s likely due to a combination of styling and novelty. The Chevy Camaro’s 2019 refresh wasn’t very well received, especially in terms of design language. The Camaro has also been noted for poor visibility and a small interior. When Motor Trend compared the Camaro and Mustang convertibles, it gave the win to Ford precisely because of the latter’s better style and space.

And in terms of novelty, Chevrolet hasn’t introduced anything ‘flashy’ for the Camaro. Meanwhile, Ford’s brought out the Mustang GT500, which can keep pace with some supercars. And the Dodge Challenger’s anachronistic style and massive engines are precisely what keep buyers interested. The Camaro may be a great sports car, but there’s nothing new or different to draw customers in.

Will Chevy drop it?

There’s been some debate over whether Chevrolet even plans on updating the Camaro past the current-gen car’s product-cycle. Chevy, along with Ford, has cut much of its passenger car lineup. And, except for the Corvette, the Camaro is the only performance vehicle Chevy makes that isn’t a truck or SUV.

2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1
2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1 | Chevrolet

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To be sure, Chevrolet is still updating the Camaro. Although COVID-19 has delayed things, the Camaro will be receiving a facelift, GM Authority reports. And Motor1 reports the top-shelf ZL1 1LE will receive a 10-speed automatic as an option for the 2021 model year. It’ll be the first and only 1LE model to receive this option. However, Motor1 also reports Chevrolet still hasn’t confirmed anything regarding what will happen after 2023, when the current Camaro is expected to bow out.

Let’s hope Chevrolet can find some way of keeping the Camaro relevant. Otherwise, the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger will be the only muscle cars left.

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