Chevrolet Camaro Sales Keep Falling, Ford Mustang And Dodge Challenger Sales Do, Too
In response to disappointing sales of the new-for-2016 Chevrolet Camaro, General Motors revealed last week that it will cut prices of the 2017 model.
Although there are plenty of 2017 Camaros already available — all of which will benefit from the newly lowered price — the issue facing GM’s U.S. dealers now pertains to the number of 2016 Camaros on dealer lots. Of the roughly 27,000 Chevrolet Camaros in stock at dealers across America, according to Cars.com, 40 percent are MY2016s, the appeal for which decreases rapidly as more MY2017s become available.
This ballooning Camaro inventory, a 139-day supply heading into September 2016, was caused by a sharp decrease in Camaro demand with the launch of the all-new sixth-generation model, a subject we’ve explored frequently in the past. Through the first eight months of 2016, U.S. sales of the Chevrolet Camaro are down 15 percent.
But sales of the Camaro’s chief rival, the wildly more popular Ford Mustang, are falling, as well. Dodge Challenger sales are sliding, too.
From Ford to Chevrolet, however, there were big differences in expectations for calendar year 2016. While the Camaro is the new muscle car on the block, the Mustang is a year-old car which benefited from pent-up demand one year ago. The year-over-year comparison that reveals a 7-percent, 5,940-unit Mustang loss comes after Mustang sales spiked in 2015.
“Mustang buyers know it’s coming and they wait for the new car,” Ford sales analyst Erich Merkle said of the launch of the sixth-generation Ford pony car. As a result, Mustang sales rose to an eight-year high in calendar year 2015, surging 48 percent compared with 2014.
We’ve seen the same kind of surge in the past, when the dramatically re-engineered fifth-generation Mustang produced a 24-percent jump in 2005 and continued to climb in 2006, free from rivals. Then, while remaining popular by the standards of sports cars, Mustang sales tailed off sharply in following years.
Mustang volume is tailing off, but not sharply, and not unsurprisingly. After all, there’s a new version of a long-time rival available in competing showrooms.
Globally, meanwhile, Mustang sales are stronger than they’ve ever been, with an emphasis on foreign markets and even right-hand-drive markets that before did not exist.
TTAC asked Ford’s Merkle if that global emphasis is by any chance responsible for the U.S. downturn. No, there are enough Mustangs to go around in the United States.
“We’re always going to look to match production to demand,” Merkle says. And U.S. demand in 2016 is simply not as strong as it was at this stage of 2015.
In August, specifically, Mustang volume plunged 17 percent to 8,299 units as Ford passenger car sales tumbled by more than a quarter. Chevrolet Camaro sales were down by a tenth to 5,604 units. Despite an 5-percent August uptick, Dodge Challenger sales, at 5,262 units, were slightly less numerous than Camaro sales. August was the first month since April that the Chevrolet Camaro managed to outsell the Dodge Challenger.
Year-to-date, the Ford Mustang is America’s 16th-best-selling car. The Camaro ranks 26th; the Challenger 30th. Combined, the trio sells slightly more often than the Nissan Sentra, not as often as the Ford Fusion.
Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.
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