By on May 17, 2017

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS - Image: white

General Motors reported 8,737 Chevrolet Camaro sales in the United States in April 2017, a 17-percent year-over-year increase for GM’s third-best-selling car last month.

For the sixth-generation Camaro, a car that had a decidedly unimpressive launch phase last year after routinely outselling the Ford Mustang for half a decade, April 2017’s improvement led to the best month yet. Not since the oft-discounted fifth-generation Camaro was nearing the end of its line in May 2015 has Camaro volume been so strong.

As for the headline-creating bits, yes, the Chevrolet Camaro beat the Ford Mustang in April 2017 U.S. sales. Camaro wins. Camaro is the victor. To the Camaro go the spoils.

GM must take time to enjoy its Camaro’s victories. Once routine, they’re hardly common now.

The Camaro was America’s preeminent sporty car — the top-selling muscle car/pony car/sports coupe/pick-your-title — for five consecutive years once the nameplate returned from hiatus in fifth-gen form. From its first full year in 2010 through 2014, the Camaro averaged 84,000 annual sales, essentially 1.1 Camaros for every Mustang.

And for the GM faithful who enjoyed not just their own victories but also Blue Oval losses, Ford’s annual average of 77,400 Mustang sales during that half-decade of Camaro leadership compared with nearly 137,000 annual Mustang sales during the Camaro’s absence (and prior to the Dodge Challenger’s launch.)

2017 Ford Mustang - Image: Ford

But the sixth-generation Ford Mustang got off to a torrid start as the Camaro reached the end of its fifth-generation’s run. Over the 24-month span of 2015 and 2016, Ford sold 228,281 Mustangs in America, adding many more in global markets where the Camaro doesn’t compete.

For the Camaro, the final year of the fifth-gen model and the first year for the sixth-gen model were the worst full years since the Camaro nameplate returned. Indeed, the new Camaro sold less often when it was brand new, last year, than when the old Camaro was oldest, the year before.

Not since a September/October burst last fall caused the Camaro to outperform the Mustang has the Ford fallen into the No.2 spot. (Those were the first monthly Camaro victories since October 2014.) But along with the Camaro’s 17-percent year-over-year uptick last month, Ford Mustang sales plunged 37 percent, a loss of 4,663 sales for a car that’s lost more than 12,000 sales already this year.

At Ford, the launch momentum was difficult to sustain, particularly for impractical cars, particularly when the overall market is in decline. Moreover, with a refreshed Mustang on the way for the 2018 model year, there’s a segment of the Mustang-buying population that will wait.

As for the Camaro’s April performance, it wasn’t because of a newfound emphasis on incentives. According to J.D. Power PIN data obtained by TTAC, the average Camaro left a Chevrolet dealer with $2,650 in discounts in April 2017. That was down 20 percent from March levels.

Through the first four months of 2017, the Camaro’s average transaction price has risen $2,347 compared with the same period one year ago. While the Mustang relies on fleet volume for roughly 35 percent of its U.S. sales, April’s Camaro mix was skewed 80 percent towards retail.

Timothy Cain is the founder of and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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23 Comments on “Camaro Comeback? Chevrolet Camaro Outsold Ford Mustang In April 2017, Sixth-Gen’s Best Month Yet...”

  • avatar

    Hertz and Avis Summer Fun Fleet?

    • 0 avatar

      This is impressive since i can confirm from a consumer perspective that the incentives in April were rolled back. You could score an additional $1500 in “tagging” bonuses in March which were eliminated in April. I was shopping around that time and was disappointed to see this was the case. I wound up getting a different car anyhow so it didnt really matter. Impressive that sales were still up in light of these facts.

      And it’s doubtful that the added sales were to rentals since GM has clearly made an effort to avoid those sales. I rent often and ALWAYS get stuck with crappy Nissans!!

      • 0 avatar

        I would guess a fair percentage might be convertibles to a rental fleet, but nothing to the effect of “dumping” on fleet. Alpha Camaro convertibles are a common sight in Las Vegas, might be one out of every twenty five cars on LVB during the day.

    • 0 avatar

      Those would be the V6 Mustangs. They are loaded with them. It will be interesting to see how a Mustang sans the V6 and a higher price will do for 2018 as the 2.3 EB has earned a reputation for not being as fast as everyone thought it would be, needing more expensive premium gas to put it’s rated numbers down and NVH levels that are on the high side. It also gets the same real world MPG as the V6.

  • avatar

    A lot of us speculated that the “Drastic failures” of the current generation Camaro was due to non-competitive pricing. It was so much more expensive than its competition, how would it sell?

    Now the Camaro is seeing massive discounting, and seeing more competitive pricing, and the volume is moving.

    For a very price- conscious buyer group, I think the discounting is driving market success because it was frankly overpriced when the new model came to market.

    Now I know several people are going to mention that the discounting is down from May, but still up from when the car was introduced.

    • 0 avatar

      Well at least in the SS trim and above the Camaro is a helluva value when you look at the performance you get as well as the standard list of equipment the cars came with (especially the 2SS). Option out a SS 1LE and you have a car that’s nipping on the GT350’s heels for about 10-15 grand less.

      • 0 avatar

        Yes, but the high end where it is a good value is where few cars are actually sold. Most of the pony cars are sold in the lower trims.

        The 1SS Starts at $37,900. I do think this is TECHNICALLY a good value for what you get, but the Mustang GT starts at only $33,195. Thats a difference of more than $4,500!

        It is true you get more standard equipment, but last year you could throw discounts on TOP of the 4500 from Ford, but nothing from Chevy. That becomes significant. That approaches 20%!

        The base v6 mustang starts at 25,185, while the base V6 Camaro starts at 27,400. Thats “only” $2,200 but thats almost 10% there too, moreso when you consider the lack of discounting last year.

        Once you start optioning them up, then they certainly become a good value, but most people who buy a $35,000 car don’t go to the dealership planning on buying a $35,000 car… they plan on buying a $25,000 car.

  • avatar

    ZL1 sales?

  • avatar

    I sat in one the other day,and I must be a crummy driver, but its visibility is so damn awful I just cannot see myself driving this thing. BTW I have driven both Mustang and Challenger and I was ok with them.

    • 0 avatar

      Visibility is Terrible.

      The ford and the MOPAR are decent.
      The Camaro is UNSAFE.
      and I m -obviously- pretty pro GM.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t understand these sentiments.

        I’ve owned TWO recent gen Camaros. I hear they have “big blind spots” but how do people drive where they don’t know whats next to them?

        I really don’t get it. I never hit anyone. I never felt like I was going to hit anyone. No cars ever “surprised” me. I didn’t think visibility was worse than my C5 z06, pretty similar really.

        The front windshield is fine. The door mirror shape is actually FANTASTIC compared to other sports cars. In fact I’ve never been in a sports car with better mirrors… It also has backup sensors, which as a pickup truck driver as well I have learned you really need to rely on.

        So if it has better mirrors and good forward visibility, I would say visibility is GREAT. Sure your rear passengers might not have the best view, but is that really what people are griping about? I don’t know, I don’t get it.

        I’m also 6’9″, so maybe its a short person thing, although my wife is 5’3″ and she has no problem either, so maybe its fine for short and tall people but rough for people in the middle? I don’t know.

        I’ve been trying to figure it out ever since I heard people first griping about it in 2009 when the 2010 was coming out, and I still don’t understand it 8 years later.

  • avatar

    This is one of my favorite cars that I will never own.

  • avatar

    I don’t what happened, but I’m suddenly seeing a bunch of new Camaros on the streets around Grand Rapids, Michigan. All of last year, I barely saw any, in fact 5th gens were way more common.

    I was on the way to work the other day and a new Camaro was in front of me. They got away from a traffic light and really got into the throttle; the sound was glorious. By the time I caught up to them at the next light, I realized it was a V6 car, not a V8 as I initially thought.

    As much as I admire Camaros, I think I’m more of a Challenger fan. It just seems to have more presence than either of the comptetitors. Here’s hoping there’s another generation of Chally and that it will be competitive with the Mustangs and Camaros.

    • 0 avatar

      I personally don’t understand the challengers.

      They cost way more, and grossly underperform the Camaro’s and Mustangs.

      I understand design and style having an “influence”, but higher price with drastically worse performance seems to trump design big time.

      • 0 avatar

        I look at the Challengers as more of a modern day Chevelle or Road Runner mid size coupe with available muscle power under the hood ranging from very fast to obscene.

  • avatar

    I do see many new Camaros around here. Obviously, someone is buying them, I just wish I could, because presently, I can’t see out of one safely, plus I have heard as a daily driver, they’re not for older guys like me.

    Still, a nice, yellow Camaro convertible sure looks pretty!

    • 0 avatar

      I’d love more explanation of the “can’t see out of one safely” statement.

      I hear this a lot and as an owner of TWO of them, I don’t understand it. I’m authentically trying to understand. Thanks!

      • 0 avatar

        I’ll just give you my first impression of driving the Camaro. Driving down the Interstate, about 4-5 lanes wide. The DC area isn’t like other parts of the country. There’s no fast lane. Everyone just does whatever they want, at whatever speed they want. For a while, you find the quickest lane. Suddenly, the car in front of you that was doing 75 is now doing 65. Your speed, relative to that of the lanes to your left and right has now changed. While you were focusing on not driving into the car in front of you, what’s moved in to your blind spot?

        A quick glance over my shoulder shows nothing but C-pillar in the Camaro. The Mustang? Glass. I know for sure there’s nothing there. In addition, the Mustang has blind spot mirrors for added assurance. The Camaro SS I drove had a blind spot monitoring system, but that was only available as an option on a trim that stickered for $9,000 more than the Mustang GT Premium that I bought. And Chevy dealers weren’t discounting since the car was new at the time. The actual price spread was closer to $15K at the time.

        • 0 avatar

          This is valid!

          Thanks for sharing.

          I do know what you are referring to on the C-Pillar (same issue with the Z06), but I never look over my shoulder I guess is the thing, so I never really think of it. With Blind Spot Monitoring, if you DO trust the tech, it could be moot depending on the person, but your thoughts are certainly valid. Thank you!

      • 0 avatar

        For me, I’m legally blind in my left eye, and even with the addition of blind-spot mirrors I have to have, I may be a hazard to others, but in truth, although I have sat in them, I haven’t driven one, so I truly can’t say yea or nay.

        I’d like my answer to be “yea”.

        A yellow convertible, please!

  • avatar

    A Camaro convertible makes a good buy and eases the whole visibility thing quite nicely. My mom’s long time friend has a 1969 blue convertible that she bought new in that year. I showed her a new blue V6 convertible with a black top and she really liked it. One test drive is all it took. She loved the car and was blown away (literally) but how nicely it drove and the power of the 335 HP V6. The price tag did give her pause

  • avatar

    Mustang vs Camaro sales in Canada for April almost made up for the 700 car deficit for Mustangs in the US. Now add in the 140 other countries where the Mustangs are sold and they are by far the Best Selling Sports Car in the World.

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