At least for now.
It may sound hard to believe but today's Dodge Challenger premiered for the 2008 model year. Yes, it's over a decade old. Meanwhile, both the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have undergone complete redesigns, both of which moved to lighter and smaller rear-wheel-drive platforms. The Challenger, to compare, is built on the LX platform, which dates back to – wait for it – 2004. And despite this, the Dodge Challenger has managed to pull off something very impressive: it beat its two rivals in the never-ending muscle car sales war.
Auburn Hills, Michigan-based Fiat Chrysler has just released its third-quarter results and, lo and behold, the Challenger is doing just fine. All told, 18,031 Challengers were sold in Q3, a 21 percent increase from last year at this time. Over in nearby Dearborn, the numbers were less than satisfactory as Mustang sales dropped by 12.3 percent to 16,823 examples.
Meanwhile, in Detroit Chevrolet reported that Camaro sales also dropped by a troubling 15 percent for a total of 12,275 vehicles sold. However, FCA shouldn't celebrate big time just yet. The year is not over. The Mustang still remains the best-selling of the three with a total of 55,365 sold since the beginning of the year. The Challenger has sold 46,669 examples. The Camaro? Only 36,791. In all likelihood, the Challenger won't be able to surpass the Mustang but it'll keep its second-place status ahead of the Camaro as 2019 comes to an end.
But there's also something else noteworthy and, perhaps, troubling. All three muscle cars experienced a year-to-date sales drop from this time last year. The Challenger is down by 10.1 percent while the Mustang and Camaro are each down 7.6 percent. Is this due to less demand for muscle cars or is it a sign of slowing automotive sales in general? Too early to tell.
As to why the Challenger, despite its age, continues to be a strong seller, especially when compared to the much newer Camaro, a few possibilities exist. One, the Challenger's retro design still wins hearts, plain and simple. Compared to the Mustang and Camaro, it boasts a more spacious interior, a standard naturally aspirated V6, and optional all-wheel drive (for the V6-only). There are also come cool exterior colors to pick from as well. This type of stuff matters and this past business quarter sales figures are proof.