More than four decades ago, the Ford Mustang became America’s first “pony car” and has established itself as the segment leader ever since. However, in the last two years, Mustang’s closest rival, the Chevrolet Camaro, has incontestably dethroned the Mustang as the new sales leader.
When the Chevy Camaro beat the Ford Mustang by 81,299-to-73,716 units in 2010, analysts believed it was down to buyer excitement over a newly-released Camaro. Surprisingly, sales figures of 2011 revealed that not only did the Mustang not regain its spot at the top, but the sales gap actually widened. Last year, Americans bought 88,249 Camaros and only 70,438 Mustangs.
Little explains why the Camaro has pulled ahead in sales while the Mustang lagged behind. Even when comparing performance figures between the two machines, the difference is negligible as the Camaro only has fractionally more horsepower while it carries a couple of more pounds than the Mustang. Price wise, the MSRP of the Mustang V6 and GT are both less expensive than its Camaro counterpart.
Competition between the two rivals promises to intensify for 2012. On the Chevrolet corner, Camaro is preparing a high performance ZL1 producing an outrageous 580-hp, capable of reaching 60 mph in 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 184 mph.On the Ford corner, the new Mustang Shelby GT500 answers the ZL1 with a staggering 650-hp, promising to reach speeds beyond the 200 mph holy grail.
No doubt, the GT500 is a statement car in its purest sense. If Camaro manages a threepeat for 2012, could the Mustang’s failure come down to its long-criticized live rear axle?