As the roman empire eventually succumbed to boredom and moral upheaval, the Ford Motor company is discovering that the Mustang is not immune to the tides of history. After an impressive 24-year run as America’s number one pony car, it is now being traded-in at dealerships across the U.S. for the opportunity to own a Chevrolet Camaro. According to recent statistics, the Camaro has been outselling the Mustang by 33 percent.
The auto experts claim this is not too surprising, considering the Camaro has a more modern feel, which to its credit, has captured the hearts of the next generation of driving enthusiasts. The fact that Ford has not been able to keep up with the demand for the 3.7-liter, 305 horsepower, V6 variation of the Mustang, is another reason for the lagging sales. While last year the much weaker 4.0-liter (210 horsepower) V6 mustang accounted for only 40 percent of sales, this year the 3.7-liter is toppling 50 percent.
Where are all the motors? The Mustang has to share its six banger with the popular F-150 pickup, which is Ford’s top selling truck. In the meantime, GM has brought out a drop top version of its popular pony car, and is bringing out an even more powerful V6 later next month, which will be rocking 323 horsepower (30 mpg) for its 45th anniversary.
While the Camaro will continue to whittle sales away from the Mustang, the muscle car crowd is a fickle bunch. They jump at the hottest thing, only to dump it just as soon as something newer comes around. For this reason, the Camaro is expected to lose its rein come 2014, when Ford introduces its newly redesigned, next generation Mustang. However, GM has already promised an update by 2015, so the battle is only beginning.
This speculation is still two to three years away, and Chevrolet is poised to do a lot of damage during that time. Besides the 45th Anniversary V6, the next installment of the Transformers trilogy is on its way (free publicity), and GM is preparing to introduce their ZL1 version of the V8 Camaro next year, which will be packing 550 horsepower. This will deliver the equivalent performance of Ford’s, upper echelon GT500, closing the current performance gap.
Truth be told, I have driven both cars in their V6 and V8 flavors, and while the Camaro certainly has delectable styling, I prefer the performance of the 5.0-liter Mustang (especially with its handling pack). However, the people have spoken, and the Mustang must face facts. It is a victim of its own success. While it may be as American as apple pie, what’s even more American is upping your neighbor with the next best thing. And for the Summer of 2011, The Camaro has become our pet rock!