The all-new Ford Mustang is back in full gallop, and has corralled its long-time rival, the Chevrolet Camaro.
Ford says it sold more than 8,000 of the pony cars last month – a more than 60% year-over-year jump, marking the best November Mustang has had since 2006. Equally significant, as it closes out its 50th anniversary, Mustang has regained its position as the best-seller in the U.S. muscle car market.
“We’re feeling good about the response the public has been showing us about the car,” said Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development director, in a conversation with TheDetroitBureau.com.
Over the decades, Ford’s pony car has traditionally led its rivals by a significant margin, to the point that General Motors scrapped the Camaro in 2002. But Mustang’s lead evaporated when, seven years later, Chevrolet got back into the muscle car market with an all-new, and highly touted version of the Camaro.
Since 2009, the GM model, offered as both a coupe and convertible, dominated the segment – a trend Ford was determined to reverse when it to work on a completely redesigned Mustang meant to mark the nameplate’s 50th anniversary.
(Click Here for our review of the 2015 Ford Mustang.)
The Mustang that debuted earlier this year has been winning rave reviews of its own, critics particularly enamored by the car’s first-ever independent rear suspension. Ford also added a new version of the Mustang for 2015, introducing a new turbocharged EcoBoost engine meant to balance performance and fuel economy.
The public response has been solid since the first of the 2015 models began rolling into showrooms last month, and for November – the first full month for the new version — Mustang sales surged to 8,728, a full 62% ahead of year-earlier numbers. That was also nearly double the 4,385 Camaros Chevrolet sold last month, a 13.5% year-over-year decline.
But Ford can’t claim victory just yet. For the full year, it has sold just 73,124 Mustangs compared to 79,669 Camaros. Even if it continues to gain ground in December, Ford insiders – asking not to be quoted by name – admit they likely won’t be able to push past Chevrolet for all of 2014. They’ll have to hope the new Mustang will keep building momentum next year.
And 2015 will only see the battle intensify. Both brands are prepping even more powerful models, such as the Camaro Z/28 and the Shelby GT350 Mustang unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show last month. Ford product chief Nair hinted that another spin-off just might be in the works for next month’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
(Fisker Rocket transforms new Mustang into a 725-hp monster. Click Here for a closer look.)
As strong as the 2015 Ford Mustang may be, it’s a weak shadow of the original, 1964-1/2 pony car, which generated an unprecedented 22,000 sales during its first day alone. The original Mustang went on to sale more than 1 million copies in its first two years on the market, an all-time record for any muscle car.
(Shelby GT350 just a start, says Carroll Shelby’s grandson. Click Here for more.)
The new Mustang could gain a little traction outside its traditional home market. While there’s long been a small “gray market” for the pony car, Ford will officially export the 2015 model for the first time. It is just shipping the first of the cars overseas this month and will soon launch production of right-hand-drive models for markets like Great Britain and Japan. The high-mileage EcoBoost engine is expected to be the big seller in foreign markets, though the traditional V-8-powered GT will remain the brand’s “halo car.”