R.I.P. Ford Mustang, the Dodge Challenger Has Taken Over, but for How Long?

Times are changing and Ford has taken notice. For the first time in recent history, the Dodge Challenger beat the Ford Mustang in sales. But with the electric vehicle taking over, is this the first and the last time Dodge is going to pull one over on Ford?

The Dodge Challenger challenged the Ford Mustang and won

The Dodge Challenger beat the Ford Mustang in sales
The Dodge Challenger beat the Ford Mustang in sales | Stellantis

In the midst of all the year-end news, this was one of the more surprising statistics that emerged. Toyota surpassed GM as the top-selling automaker in the country. But beyond that, the Ford Mustang managed to get knocked out of the top spot by the Dodge Challenger, Motor1 says.

Dodge reported that the Challenger sales topped out at 54,314 for 2021. That is up 3% from 2020, which saw 52,995 units sold. The Ford Mustang came in at a close second with 52,414 units sold. In 2020, that number was 61,090. The Chevrolet Camaro, which has forever been hanging around the top three, continued to freefall into oblivion, seeing a 26.5% drop in sales.

Make and Model2021 Sales2020 Sales% Difference
Dodge Challenger54,31452,995+3%
Ford Mustang52,41461,090-14.2%
Chevrolet Camaro21,89329,775-26.5%

With these numbers, 2021 was the worst year of sales in the Mustang’s history on the market. 2020 was the worst year before that, followed by 2009. But this was an odd year and nothing about new car sales was normal. Will Dodge be able to keep this hold of the top spot?

How did the The Dodge Challenger beat the Ford Mustang?

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Things aren’t as cut and dry as they once were. With the semiconductor chip shortage, COVID-19 problems, and car prices going berserk, it wasn’t an easy year for any automaker. Unfortunately, Ford was heavily impacted by these factors that led to a drop in production. If Ford was able to build more Mustangs, it probably could have sold more Mustangs.

Instead, the automaker shifted to focus on different vehicles that had more to offer. For instance, there was a huge push for sales of the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Ford F-150 truck, and getting ready to offer the Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford saw a 6% decrease in 2021 over 2021 due to these factors.

Sales for the Mustang Mach-E, which sold 2,349 in 2021 versus three in 2020, are not included in the Ford Mustang sales. Ford was making a big push toward electric vehicles this year, and that will likely show up in the numbers for 2022. Dodge has also announced plans to work on an electric muscle car, but the automaker isn’t there yet. While the Dodge Challenger had a stellar 2021, the automaker has planned to kill off the car by 2024.

The F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E are the future

Ford has already said that it has over 200,000 reservations to fill for the Ford F-150 Lightning. The automaker announced earlier this week that it was going to double production numbers in order to keep up with demand. With sales for the Mustang Mach-E strong, Ford is going to focus on producing that over the regular Mustang. That means that more time and money are going to be spent on electric vehicles over gasoline vehicles.

It seems that 2021 might have been a flex year for sales of cars like the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger. Ford is definitely full-speed driving away from gasoline cars like the Mustang, while Dodge is making a slower pivot. Keep an eye out for Q1 2022 sales from both automakers once the year progresses a bit more.

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