A recent USA Today article reported that in the month of May, US car buyers purchased more muscle cars than hybrids. The comparison made in the article goes something like this: the combined purchases of Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Dodge Challenger (19,476 ) were greater than the purchases of available hybrids (17,852). Availability could be the key word, since the recent disaster in Japan shut down the production of hybrids and greatly reduced the number available to purchase in American dealerships. However, it isn’t likely that buyers looking for a hybrid opted to purchase a modern muscle car instead just because there was a short supply of hybrids in their area.
It’s unclear exactly what this information is supposed to convey about US buyers. The article (here’s the link: http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/06/ford-mustang-chevrolet-camaro-dodge-challenger-muscle-outsell-toyota-prius-honda-civic-hybrids/1 ) talks about the cost of gasoline reaching near $4, a concern that should turn anyone off buying a muscle car apparently. However, the six cylinder Camaro is rated at 29 miles per gallon with 312 horsepower. The SS model with automatic transmission and Active Fuel Management has 426 hp and gets 25 mpg in highway driving conditions. The Mustang V6 claims 31mpg with 305hp and the 412 hp 5.0 V8 engine gets 26 mpg. The Challenger V6 also has 305hp and gets 27 mpg on the highway while the 5.7 hemi has 379 hp and 24 mpg. Some might be tempted to scoff at these mpg ratings, but remember that the early buyers of hybrids complained that they weren’t getting the amazing 50-60mpg they expected. We can all agree that many factors can improve or decrease your actual miles per gallon. And a good guess is that no one bought a muscle car saying, “Wow, look at that gas mileage rating!”
As an aside, the Chevrolet Camaro sold more units than the Ford Mustang for the fifth month in a row. Though the Mustang has suffered a dip in sales over the past few months, it’s not likely it will continue. (The Challenger would probably do better with a convertible option and the newly re-designed Charger could use a lower price point.)
From the beginning of the year through May, GM sold over 40,000 Camaros! Whether you are a Chevy fan or love the blue oval, this is good news. The bottom line in all of these “statistics” is that people are buying American muscle cars again. We can buy one, with a great extended warranty, drive speedily eating up gas if we choose, all the while sitting in comfortable seats with modern day handling letting our navigation system tell us the best route to avoid a traffic jam.
[The 2010 Camaro RS/SS in the photo above belongs to Motortopians K1M_and_J1M]