By on December 8, 2009

camaro girl

This first segment is my creation, and I admit it’s a bit wacky. Industry norms have these cars all over the various categories. Anyway, the not-so-tall-or-boxy HHR takes the pole. The Soul is handily outselling the Cube, which is outselling the xB. The PT Cruiser says adios. The Element doesn’t really fit in very well with this bunch, but it’s always been an outsider. And the Camaro is whippin’ the ‘Stang’s butt. The Challenger isn’t challenging very much. Details:

Ranking by YTD Sales Nov. 09 sales % change YTD sales % change
Boxy/tall wagons
Chevy HHR 4720 38% 67402 -24%
Kia Soul 2505 28805
Scion xB 1392 -36% 23705 -45%
Nissan Cube 1565 18414
PT Cruiser 310 -91% 17205 -65%
Honda Element 1017 -23% 13458 -46%
Kia Rondo 425 -70% 12970 -53%
Pony Cars
Mustang 3627 -1% 60096 -31%
Camaro 6867 54100
Challenger 2040 -40% 23316 57%
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55 Comments on “November Sales Snapshot: Tall/Boxy Wagons and Pony Cars...”

  • avatar

    I think once the 11’ Mustangs with the new engines (3.7 v6 with 305-hp and 5.0 v8 with 400-hp) come out, the Mustang sales will go right back up to the top. On a side note, don’t the 370Z and Genesis Coupe officially count as pony cars?

    • 0 avatar
      Oregon Sage

      and the Toyota Celica …I mean Scion TC, too.
      Actually since the Z has no back seat so I dont think it qualifies, Pony Cars are 2+2 as they used to advertise … and the Infiniti version is a bit too upmarket.

    • 0 avatar

      No, they aren’t pony cars.  At all. Pony cars are American, which the Z and Genesis are not. And they appeal to a vastly different demographic than the Asian cars do.

      I also don’t think Mustang sales will pop right back to where they were.  Despite all the heaps of praise and glowing reviews the Mustang at it’s core is still a very old car despite the fresher wrapper.  It drives like an old car too.  The other two are much newer and feel much more modern in 99% of driving people do. 

      Though it’s subjective the Camaro absolutely shames the Mustang in styling inside and out too, the Mustang still looks pretty much like the same car that debuted in 2005.  And drives like it too.  Except instead of costing $25k for a GT they are $35k and beyond now too.  For that coin you get more power, more performance, rockstar styling and a thoroughly more modern engineered car with a taught monocoque structure and IRS in the Camaro.  It’s a real no brainer that people are going to for that.

    • 0 avatar


      The Mustang is a larger car than the Camaro and has a larger, more spacious 2nd row and trunk.  Mustang has a better rear and side view too.
      The Mustang is a better car for the money because the Camaro is too impractical. 

      The Challenger isn’t bad either to use as a regular car.

    • 0 avatar


      Actually the Camaro is the larger of the two vehicles (but not by much)
      Overall Length 190.4 in
      Overall Width 75.5 in
      Overall Length 188.1 in
      Overall Width 73.9 in


      If I were choosing between the two I’d go with the Mustang just because the interior is much nicer than the Camaro.


    • 0 avatar

      Flashpoint – The Camaro has a larger exterior length, width, and wheelbase. The Mustang is slightly taller.
      The Camaro and Mustang have virtually the same rear seat legroom, although the Mustang has more rear seat shoulder room. The Camaro has more rear seat head room.

    • 0 avatar

      Pony car and practical do not belong in the same sentence.  People who buy these cars typically aren’t too interested in the trunk and rear seat room.  Besides, an advantage in these few practical areas does not make one car better than the other.  If you want to talk about weight, handling, HP/TQ, 0-60, you know, the things people buy pony cars for, then we could talk.  But rear seat room and trunk space are probably at the bottom of the list.

    • 0 avatar

      TriShield – Pony cars aren’t defined necessarily as being American only. Pony cars have always been defined as having duel roles; one to provide the “secretary” a stylish and economical car and two, to provide what amounts to a “poor mans sportscar”.  IOW, a lot of power, rear wheel drive, and stoplight to stoplight performance in a compact sports coupe again for not much money. The Genesis Coupe fits this definition with a four cylinder option for little money and offering the 306Hp V6 option gives it the pony car title. The 370Z is not supposed to be a pony. Unfortunately I’m old enough to remember the 280ZX turbo, which Nissan considered (at the time) competition with the Corvette.

  • avatar

    As always, my pick would be the losers: I’d get a Cube and a Challenger, in their respective categories. What can I say? I like the underdog.

  • avatar
    Oregon Sage

    That Tall Car list looks like it is begging for the Mazda 5 to be included.

  • avatar

    2011 mustang with new engines and new trans *should* kick butt
    dunno if people can get over the carry over live axle and the samey looks

    • 0 avatar
      Oregon Sage

      I agree. Ford really should be ashamed of themselves for hanging on to the live axle.  And then claiming it was to keep the drag racers happy, was really reaching.
      A modern 6 will be a welcome improvement though. (Personally I prefer mine inline)

    • 0 avatar

      Why the hatred against the donkey-cart suspension? Especially when the car-mags have all tested and are all amazed of how good the Mustang’s track package is in comparison to the live-axle competition. They all say the same thing, not “wish we could get a better suspension feel” but “this would truly be a great car if it had more power”. Here’s a thought. Actually test drive a GT with track package and then give your opinion.

  • avatar

    The Challenger numbers look strong YTD.  They never intended to come close to Mustang volume, and I suspect lack of inventory has a great deal to do with November numbers.  The Camaro is just getting up to speed and there is a great deal of pent up demand.  I expect it to be king of the hill through 1st quarter of  ’10.

  • avatar

    I got to admit I am still looking at the picrure, What was this article about? LOL

  • avatar

    Ford really should be ashamed of themselves for hanging on to the live axle. 

    While I wholeheartedly agree in absolute terms, at the risk of sounding like an advert, ya gotta drive one.

    It really does handle very nicely, even without the IRS.  I swear. Really. 


    Not sure what pent-up demand you’re talking about. There’s DOZENS of Challengers and Camaros sitting on lots all over the midwest. They’ve been sitting there getting dirty for months now. I do see lots of  Challengers driving, very few Camaros on the road. They’re not getting over sticker, or even sticker. They’re dealing on them. The only thing getting sticker is the really odd/rare combos.  

    • 0 avatar
      Oregon Sage

      I have driven one, or two or three.  The GT especially is comfortable, fun and desirable in many ways. However, the live axle Mustang evokes the dynamics of my F150( and my ’67 Mustang and my ’65 Comet and) ….on a smooth road they behave well enough, but on a twisty uneven surface or stutter bumps there is no doubt that the live axle is very much alive back there.  Ford has been pushing the complex and expensive overhead cam modular engine for several years, sometimes in DOHC configuration, offering no particular advantage in a pickup, and then they cheap out on suspension in what should be their best handling car.  This is a move that screams ‘our Pony Car is for poseurs, not drivers’.

    • 0 avatar

      I guess time will tell on my Camaro observation, but down here it is hard to find a dealer with more than a few (3-5)  Challengers in stock.

    • 0 avatar

      Oregon Sage, all “Pony Cars” are for posers because their straight line acceleration is far superior to their handling. Real drivers get 2 seaters and not 2 + 2’s.

  • avatar

    The HHR sales suggest a surfeit of nostalgia,and I’ll bet the average age of buyers is in the high 50s. If you make a category out of the Asian boxes they are doing better than the American high roof nostalgia mobiles. For whatever that’s worth.
    If I were going to get any of these, it would be the element. I’ve driven it, and as much as I don’t like the style (the face is awful, the box is fine), I like very much the way it drives–definite Honda quality.
    It’s interesting how well the cube is doing despite what I find to be an unpleasantly assymetrical and slightly sinister look, and despite mediocre reviews on driving dynamics.
    As far as the illustration, the dame looks totally plastic. But I do like the car.

  • avatar


    Camaro sales have dropped, month-to-month, and they’re starting to stack up on lots.  I think most of the pent-up demand has been satisfied and the car must now compete on the merits.  If Flashpoint’s right about the practicality, the Mustang may have a brighter future.

  • avatar

    outside of a certain yellow and black stripes option the Camaro doesn’t have much appeal to non enthuiasists which is why 2/3’s of them are sold as V8 and demand is dropping. Subsequently the Mustang doesn’t have the enthuisists because the’re waiting on next year’s engines.

  • avatar

    Are we sure the Camaro is whipping the Mustang when, YTD, the Mustang is outselling the Camaro by 6000 units (according to the numbers)?

    Oh, BTW, I am loving the recent selection of pictures.

  • avatar

    In the metro Detroit area Camaros are still in tight supply and so are Mustangs but I think the Mustangs are in tight supply because the dealers don’t carry many at this time of the year. Personally I think the Camaro is much more updated styling. I think Ford made the same mistake with the current Mustang that Jaguar did with the previous XJ 8, an entirely new vehicle that hardly looks any different from the previous model. The Mustang does however have much better C pillar and rearward visibility than the Camaro. Even though I like the Camaro much better than the Mustang I was able to lease a new Mustang GT for 61% of the lease payment of the V6 Camaro making the choice pretty much a no brainer.
    On a side note, one of the reviews I read on the new Camaro in regards to the poor C pillar and rearward visibility advised taking a proactive approach when backing out of a parking lot, floor it and squeal the tires to warn pedestrians.

    • 0 avatar

      The Mustang’s visibility isn’t anything to write home about, either — the black trim on those tiny rear side windows may make them look bigger, but doesn’t make it any easier for Tiger Woods to climb out of them.

    • 0 avatar

      When I testdrove the Mustang I was quite surprised at how good the rearward and C pillar visibility actually is. I think it is better in both cases than my Fusion. No, the C pillar windows aren’t large but they aren’t small either and do give excellent visibility where there otherwise would be none. The Camaro is a nightmare for both C pillar and rearward visibility, it is strictly use the side mirrors only. In fact the Camaro’s front windshield takes some getting used to as it is very short. Initially it’s like a slit more than a windshield. That said, I still like the Camaro much better than the Mustang and if the deal I could have gotten was anything even remotely similar to the Mustang I would have picked the Camaro.
      The Mustang does offer a rear camera option on premium models as well.

  • avatar

    Quite frankly I am surprised at how close the Challenger sales are to the Mustang’s.  I would have thought that the Mustang easily would have outsold the Challenger by 3-4 times.  I suspect with the Challenger, it’s a supply issue.  I’ve been kinda looking for one but all I can find is 6-Speed RTs or SRT8s, no RT Automatics.  However I have noticed a number of Camaros stacking up on dealer lots.

  • avatar

    The Camaro exudes “Bad Ass”, and on paper, is more technologically sophisticated than the Mustang – that said, it’s a bit too heavy to cash the check in the handling dept, except on bumpy roads (i.e., any road in PA). Also, a backup camera should be standard equipment! Each will appeal to its fanbase, and people on the fence may go on price/performance/features…
    BTW, which video game is pictured above?   ;-)

  • avatar

    Oregon Sage is onto something…the Mazda5 and the Rondo are pretty direct competitors and belong in the same category.  Whether they both belong here or in the MPV category (that would be my vote) isn’t really conclusive, but those two should be compared to one another.
    BTW…bad caption.  She’s sitting on a Camaro, but she’s no “Camaro girl.” A Camaro girl is best illustrated by Jaime Pressly’s character in “My Name is Earl,” even though the character owned a Brat and Earl an El Camino…both are stereotypical Camaro characters.

  • avatar

    The Mustang “brand” is way more powerful than the Camaro or Challenger, hince there exit from the market and return. Also allows Ford to not worry about IRS vs. live axle when it’s compared to the competition.  My problem with the Challenger and Camaro is that they are both very striking in print but look out of balance on the road, too much sheet metal in the rear quarter on both and they don’t sit right on the wheels, like a big woman with little shoes.  The basic Mustang GT is a great car for the money, no fluff, no gimmicks,  just a pony car as intended

    • 0 avatar

      I might add an unbeatable value at $232/mo + use tax w/ zero down on a 36mo lease. The Mustang GT wasn’t even on my radar until I saw this payment in the Sunday paper a couple of weeks ago. A V6 Camaro in my market is $376/mo + use tax w/ zero down.

  • avatar

    Camaro appears to be fading. I think Lutz himself said 100k units/pa was required for break-even.
    Does anyone know if their were incentives on Camaro during Nov?
    Mustang fans; can you imagine it with IRS plus LSD, 6 speed manual and the 4L I6 turbo from the Australian Falcon FPV F6?

  • avatar

    No ferraris in the pony car category?  Doesn’t it have a prancing “pony” logo ? :-)

    On a more serious note:

    I was all excited reading about the new 300hp v6 mustang figuring 0-60 & 1/4 are going to be about similar to my STi, but the numbers look atrocious….0-60 in the 6’s and 1/4 mile in the 14’s on a 300hp car? It’s got to be a pig.

    The GT @ 400+ horse is only a little bit faster than my (5 year old) STi in the 1/4 & 0-60 for around the same $$. I’m very disappointed….

    I’ll wait until I read some more thorough reviews before passing final judgment, but the numbers don’t look too good.

    • 0 avatar

      Your Subie cost ( in 2004) significantly more than the V6 Mustang will, and the V6 ‘stang will probably net around 25mpg average — a very economical, yet sporty car, certainly much more “‘Stang-for-the-buck”, so to speak – intended for a different audience than the “balls-to-the-wall” STI.

  • avatar

    “I might add an unbeatable value at $232/mo + use tax w/ zero down on a 36mo lease. ”
    I would suggest you take a close look at the fine print

    • 0 avatar

      Having spent 30 years selling and leasing vehicles I can most assuredly tell you there aren’t any details in the fine print that equate to additional expenses. It is a U.S. Bank closed end lease, includes GAP insurance and has a $395 disposition fee. We also have a Jaguar through U.S. Bank so I am well familiar with their leases. When I saw this payment advertised in the Sunday paper I thought it was a mistake until I saw two other dealers advertising the same and called my Ford dealer on Monday. The only better lease payments I have ever seen in the last 34 years was around 2000 when Ford, GM and Dodge offered reg. cab 4cyl midsize pickups for under $100/mo with zero down.

  • avatar

    Ah, a rendered speculation.
    And I don’t mean the car.

  • avatar

    I’m utterly astonished at all the comments about article (which, are, when you get to it, of course very good !)
    Nothing in the article or replies about the women in the pictures?
    (Paul — maybe rename the site — “Hot babes (and the truth about cars)”

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Good grief the HHR is at 67K units and the next closest competiter is at 29K. Love or hate the styling they offer a lot utility, are cheap to buy, economical to run and maintain. I looked at one and really wanted the SS but in the end it was just too small for my needs.   

  • avatar

    I actually wondered if she was computer generated. I’m still not totally sure.
    Whatever she is, I’d bet a C-note she’s not real. There is something downright creepy about her face.

  • avatar

    “I was all excited reading about the new 300hp v6 mustang figuring 0-60 & 1/4 are going to be about similar to my STi, but the numbers look atrocious….0-60 in the 6’s and 1/4 mile in the 14’s on a 300hp car? It’s got to be a pig.”
    Man, have we become jaded.  Go back just a few years and see what cars this would have smoked–and remember that this is the V6 economy version of the car.  People, we need to remember that the cars of today are amazing in terms of performance and reliability.  A “secretary’s car” that does 0-60 in the sixes is not a pig; it is an amazing achievement.  Sure, there are faster cars out there, but let’s not forget what it was like in the 70s, 80s, or 90s.

  • avatar

    Admit it, Paul…you made up the first segment to showcase what a train wreck the xB redesign was.  :)

    Note that I’m not blaming you for this.  Would someone please notify Toyota?

    I’d be curious to see a December 2009 to December 2006 comparison…

  • avatar

    Personally I can’t believe Ford discontinued the Focus Wagon. It seems to be the only Focus that sells on our lot…

  • avatar

    Maybe Ford should go with a IRS setup for market reasons but there really are some of us (myself) who like solid rears. Maybe I’m a 1% guys but I’m glad the option as I really really really don’t care if a car handles well. I LOVE straight lines and everything else is boring to me. I am also glad their are cars built for amazing handling. It’d be nice if there were cars for every single market but why do we feel we need to make them all fit our own?
    Also I love the 2010 update. The 2011 engine improvements will be really nice.

  • avatar

    Man, have we become jaded.

    No kidding.  An off the shelf pony car will chew up 60’s/70’s/80’s race cars.

    Back in ’76 when the 930 turbo was new – ‘brutally quick and fast as hell’- it ran to 60 in around 7.5 and was only good for about 150. You could now spank it’s ass with a Honda Accord.

    The other amusement is that we built Hoover Dam and Empire State with dump trucks and semis that have less output than a run-of-the-mill F150.   

  • avatar

    I should have seen that, JuniorMint. Yes, well, it IS a trainwreck. Anyway, thanks for a good laugh at Paul. Of course, he’s absolutely right. (would someone please link to his original xB article? I can’t find it.)

  • avatar

    Gee, not to beat a dead horse, again and again and again, but the 2010 PT Cruiser (Classic) has either just gone or will just go into production. They only sold 310 units because that’s just about all that was left of 2009 inventory, most of which sold out during Cash for Clunkers. 2010 will be final edition, with production of Fiat 500 taking over.

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