It almost doesn't matter if Ford, Chevy, or Dodge won the muscle car sales war last month because all three were losers.
Most of us remember an exciting period early on in the new millennium when Chevrolet released the Camaro Concept during the same week that Dodge reveled the Challenger Concept at the 2006 Detroit Auto Show. It was a huge moment for fans of the American muscle car, who suddenly knew that the war between Chevy, Ford, and Dodge was back on with all parties standing to benefit from the collateral damage. For the most part, sales of all three muscle cars have been strong, but 2016 didn’t look too hot for the Challenger, Camaro, or the Mustang.
Each of these cars saw sales fall in 2016, which is odd considering that 2016 was one of the best years on record for the auto industry. Now that sales reports for the first month of 2017 are in, it’s time to check in and see how things are going. Unfortunately, the situation appears even worse than before. While January is usually one of the worst sales months in the industry, each car sold more poorly than it had the previous two Januarys with the Camaro seeing its worst first month of the year since 2010. The official numbers stand at Mustang: 5,046, Camaro: 3,588, and Challenger: 3,393, proving once again that Ford’s muscle car is the clear winner with absolutely no shred of doubt.
On the other hand, the Camaro doesn’t look to have too much of a lead over the Challenger, with only 195 units separating the two muscle cars. So how do each of Detroit’s big three go about remedying slacking sales? Well, as it turns out, plans are already in motion. Ford has decided its lead is a worthwhile keep, so it has updated the Mustang by giving it new looks, more horsepower, and a ten-speed gearbox. The Challenger, which is in serious need of a refresh, has the Demon to look forward to and should help bolster sales for a short period of time while its all-wheel drive version sells to those in winter climates who would usually shy away from muscle cars.
Word on the street is that the Alfa Romeo Giulia’s remarkable Giorgio platform will migrate to the refreshed Challenger, which at least means that Dodge is thinking about the Challenger’s next chapter. Things have been a bit quiet over in Chevy’s corner after its 6th generation went on sale last year. Hopefully special editions will help extend the Camaro’s 2nd place spot or even overtake Ford’s, which will soon be made up of a hybrid Mustang.