Mustang Losing Out to Camaro in Sales and Style

June 23rd, 2011

Chevrolet Camaro Convertible

In fact, the Camaro outsold the Mustang by 33 percent through May, which is 4 percent higher than last year. Mustang sales are down 3 percent this year, with 73,716 sold last year.

There are several problems for the nearly 50-year-old Mustang marque. The biggest, I think, are its dated (read, homely) design, live rear axle, pushrod engine and generally old tech. The Shelby GT500 version starts at $48,810, and who in their right mind is going to pay that kind of bread for a horse that should be put out to pasture?

The Camaro wins no beauty contests either, but it’s a flashy new design that appeals to younger buyers. GM has linked the car to the Transformers movies, marketing basically to young people, and updating its V6 (next month) to get 30 mpg highway.

Next year the SL1 Camaro will be knocking on the GT500’s door with a 550-hp version. Also available will be a new, lighter V6 with 323 hp and better fuel economy.

But there are a couple of other reasons Ford is getting clobbered.

First, the company can’t produce enough of the high-economy (31 mpg) V6 that buyers are demanding. It’s the same engine that goes into the F-150 truck, which sold over a half-million units last year. Guess which vehicle is getting the engines it needs?

Ford Mustang at Flat RockThen the big Flat Rock, Mich., plant that builds the Mustang and the Mazda6 just lost the latter, as Mazda left its joint venture with Ford. Sales are in the toilet, and Mazda can build all the cars it needs in Japan.

The factory is too big to support Mustang production alone. So Ford can increase Mustang sales (a new 2014 version is coming, but that’s three years off!), bring in another production partner or move Mustang production elsewhere. None are happy options.

Ford is making great strides with its new cars like the Focus and Fiesta. But it’s letting its old-timers like the Mustang languish and has been doing this for years. The real money is not in the pony car business anymore (if it ever was), but the Mustang should have been treated like the company’s halo car that it once was.

In fact, if you check our DealFinder right now, you’ll find some really extraordinary deals on used Mustangs of all vintages.

Will the new 2014 Mustang arrive in time to reverse the model’s decline? Or will the Camaro become the new king?

—jgoods

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  1. Randy
    June 23rd, 2011 at 17:02 | #1

    I think jgoods is on the right track with his analysis of pony car sales trends. He doesn’t even mention the third option on the market, probably because the Dodge Challenger is a market dud and a distant third place.
    From my perspective, the current Mustang is another edition in a long line of cars that have become parodies of themselves. While Ford seems to be reinventing itself, it apparently doesn’t want to touch the Mustang in hopes of upsetting the customers who apparently want more of the same old thing. This really isn’t a very performance oriented crowd, who seem to be buying the current Mustang despite the price and the worlds worst electric power steering system.

  2. June 23rd, 2011 at 16:54 | #2

    Back in the days The Mustang was a restyled Falcon and it was a resounding success though the Fakcon was an awful junk heap, FordNA convinced Ford Australia to take the Falcon factory even though Ford Au wanted the English Zephyr they took it and eventually turned the Falcon into a good car, now its an even better car why isnt the Mustang built around a Falcon again. Ford AU build very good cars and the performance versions are so much better than the s**t from NA it should be a no brainer. Get Ford Au to make a Mustang and it would have the best V8 not some junky US motor and it could be built by people who know how to do RWD not the complete morons in dearborn How do you think GM got its RWD Caddy and Camaro it got them from the division that makes RWD Chevys for the world, Holden Making a US Mustang out of Pickup parts is stupid when you have a branch that actually knows how to build proper cars.

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