Chart Of The Day: Pony Car Wars Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer

Over the long haul of the Pony Car Wars, Ford’s Mustang has set the standard to which all others aspire. Having handily outsold the old F-Body Camaros (to say nothing of the nearest import-equivalent, the Nissan Z), Ford reigned alone over the declining muscle-coupe segment for much of the last decade. But the Pony Car cannot thrive alone, and the Mustang couldn’t keep its sales from sliding ever further… it needed some competition. Now, rather than fighting for pieces of a shrinking segment, the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang have been able to grow their sales together, revitalized by the renewed Pony Car Wars. Though our simple volume projection shows the Camaro on track to take the Pony Car crown from the Mustang, the short-term trends indicate a close battle to the finish this year. Hit the jump for summer sales comparisons…

Comparing the last three months of sales, it’s clear that the Mustang is fighting back. Still, if you break down those three months chronologically, another micro-trend emerges: Mustang won big in June, practically tied in July and slipped behind in August. How the Mustang-Camaro battle will play out through the end of this year is literally anyone’s guess.

Meanwhile, the big picture is equally uncertain. The fact that the closest import competitors to the Pony Cars, the 370Z and RX-8, have received no bump from the segment’s revival is troubling. The indication then, is that the rebirth of the muscle coupe enthusiasm is based on a short-term, retro-nostalgia trend rather than a real shift towards coupes and performance cars. For now though, the Camaro and Mustang are locked in the kind of mano-a-mano horserace that this industry goes crazy for, and in the process they’ve revitalized a dead-on-its-feet segment. Even if it doesn’t last forever, this will be one Pony Car War to remember.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Steven02 Steven02 on Sep 14, 2010

    Should be no real surprise. Nothing has the name of a Mustang or a Camaro and it is a bunch of old guys buying the cars. Will it continue at the current clip for long... probably not. But, I don't see the Z car or the on life support RX8 catching up. The Genesis models not being broken out separately probably sells less than the Challenger, or maybe right at that mark. It will be several more years before those cars have a real chance in this two fighter segment.

  • JMII JMII on Sep 14, 2010

    Consumer Reports just gave the thumbs up to the V6 Mustang and I would too based on outward visibility alone. The Camaro is just a HUGE tank with tiny windows. It looks cartoonish which is kind of cool, but I doubt I could drive one every day due to constant fear of blind spots. Same goes for the Challenger, its most the "retro" of the group if that's your thing, to me its just a land yacht with a HEMI to smoke the tires. The Genesis and Z on my short list of cars I might own down the road, I kind of like that you don't see them that much. The Z is kind of odd looking (looks like a river bed pebble), only has 2 seats but gains the superior hatchback layout. The G35 looks the best but has tiny trunk, also in the used market (where I can afford to pay) manuals are hard to find since its a luxury car 1st then sports coupe 2nd. If the Genesis had a hatchback it would be the clear winner to me. Its looks aren't bad if you swap in an aftermarket grill and the ability to get a turbo 4 is a bonus (I love BOOST). Since its a Hyundai I'm hoping for low resale value making it a steal on the used market. Shame the RX-8's engine is such a mess: no torque, eats oils, gets terrible mileage. Sure it out handles the others (from what I've read), but as a daily driver... forget-about-it. Will the new RWD Subie/Toyota add another player in this market? I doubt they'll have the balls to do it right, it will either be too heavy or short on power despite the rumors.

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