Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Why Mustang need not fear Camaro or Challenger, from a sales perspective

In response to a comment from GeorgeJetson on an earlier post I made on the new Challenger and Camaro concepts, not being a new Pony Car War, I'm going to explain here in more detail why I don't think either of these concepts will be able to unseat Mustang. Some of this is common sense if you think of it.

The new Mustang GT has a 3 valve 4.6L V8 making 300 hp and 320 lb. ft. of torque, is capable of 0-60 in 5.3 seconds and the quarter mile in 13.5 seconds. This is prety impressive stuff, but the Challenger will have at least 340 hp with it's 5.7L V8 and as much as 425-450 with the SRT8's 6.1L V8, and if a Camaro ever comes to market it will have a more than likely 400 hp from it's 6.0 L V8, a clear 100 hp advantage over Mustang. So how can I say that Mustang will be the winner? Simple, I'm not talking about the racetrack, I'm talking about sales numbers.

In 2005 Ford expected to sell 140,000 new Mustangs, but the final number will be closer to 200,000 units and it's expected to be the same in 2006. Not all Mustangs sold will be the 300 hp GT either, more than half will be the V6 model. Now the new Challenger if it comes out will more than likely come out at least as an R/T version and using the Charger's pricing that means it will be just over $30,000 without all the options. The Mustang GT can be had for as little as $26,265.00. The Charger, Magnum and 300 are not available with a manual transmission, so will the Challenger have one? If they do, will they charge extra for it, like GM does for the manual in the GTO? By the way, you pay almost an extra $700 to shift for yourself in the GTO, that on top of it's $34,295 MSRP. Now it's true that for that extra money, you get an IRS in both the Chrysler and the GTO and standard leather interior, but the fact remains, even with the leather, Mustang is still much less expensive.

Will Chrysler come out with a base Challenger? A V6 version? Probably not, they won't want to pull capacity away from the other models. If you want a V6 version, buy the Charger is what Chrysler will be thinking. The Challenger will be a niche car, sold in small numbers.

Even when you talk horsepower, Mustang isn't lost there either, because even though Shelby GT500 prices aren't released yet, they should be competative with the GTO and SRT8 Chrysler products. Also don't forget Ford's history of special models. There are rumors on the internet of upcoming Mach 1, Bullit, Boss and California Special models. Not to mention that Mustang is the only one that can be had as a convertible. Even if you max out a Mustang GT convertible, your price will be GTO territory.

Let's not forget one other thing, the aftermarket. I'm not talking about all the Tuners, Saleen, Steeda, Roush etc..... I'm talking about people buying a Mustang GT and installing one of the many supercharger or turbocharger kits. The Mustang has always been a blessing for the aftermarket. And if you will recall, some of the first people to get a hold of the new "retro" Mustang, were aftermarktet companies. Ford worked with many of them, giving them access to engineering data and preproduction vehicles and parts. The Mustang is the cornerstone model for today's aftermarket. I could buy a Mustang GT and personalize it and get another 100 hp and still not spend much above the stock Charger or GTO.

I don't see the Camaro as really having much of a chance right now, what with all the problems GM has. But even if it does come out, it will be a low production model like the GTO and failed SSR. GM will never make a V6 version, the last generation Camaro was enough of a sales nightmare.

Mustang is and always will be the Pony Car. Hell, why do you think they call them "Pony" cars?
The Mustang is simply the most fun you can have for the money, the biggest bang for your buck. And while it may take some time, don't expect Ford to sit back and let the Mustang stagnate, there will be horsepower increases across the line, and more than likely in the future an SVT or Shelby version with the IRS. Challenger and Camaro may come and go, but Mustang will be here on top in the end. 41 years of non stop production and sales tell me that.

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