As we noted Wednesday, muscle cars sold very well in 2014 and 2015, which we took as a sign the car business was healthy. But the first 7 months of 2016 saw Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger sales drop by 5.5% year over year while the redesigned Chevrolet Camaro’s sales dropped by 15.4%. What’s the problem?
Nobody buys a Mustang because he or she needs a Mustang.
People buy Mustangs because they want a modern version of an automotive icon. Mustangs make drivers feel good, there’s not much else to it. They certainly don’t offer much in the way of transportation for large families.
Industry analysts happen to know that the automotive market is doing quite well when people buy Mustangs, along with other cars they don’t need. When sales of performance cars and other discretionary models start to dip, a slow-down in the rest of the market probably isn’t far away. It’s like the Farmer’s Almanac of the auto world.
I’m going out on a limb here and risking the complete revocation of my man card. I’m also risking the wrath of millions of Mustang and Camaro fanatics everywhere.
I’m sick of muscle cars.
The Mustang came out 50 years ago and captured the hearts of Americans. As a teenager in the 1990s, a ’65 Mustang was my dream car. I wanted a red convertible with the 289-cubic-inch V8 engine so badly that I worked two part-time jobs to save for one. I had dreams about that car and would have done anything to get one. Instead I met a girl and spent all the saved money on her, then settled for a black 1994 V6 Mustang.
Not the same, I know.
I can remember tumbling around on the floor of the Cougar.
I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old, but I remember looking up at my dad from the floorboard below the passenger seat of his 1968 Mercury Cougar. All I knew back then was that the car went fast, was loud and made my dad happy.
I don’t know if I fell off the passenger seat or if my dad had me ride down there on purpose, but I remember laughing and loving every minute of it.
Unfortunately, I never got to fully appreciate the car, because my mom “suggested” that my dad sell it so they could have a more comfortable and practical family vehicle.
That’s a shame, because that ’68 had a 428-cubic-inch 390-hp 4-barrel V8, which certainly explains my inability to stay still on the floor or planted in the seat.
It’s also why the 1968 Cougar is the American classic I’d buy right now if I could.