The American ‘pony car’ segment has long been a fiercely competitive battleground for Detroit’s Big-3 automakers, with the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang, and Chevrolet Camaro vying for the top spot. As first quarter (Q1) results have shown, all three muscle cars have shown increases in sales despite huge changes coming for each model.
Ford’s Mustang took the sales lead in Q1 2023, selling 14,711 units, followed by the Challenger with 11,371 units sold. The Camaro trailed behind with 7,780 units sold, but showed the highest increase in sales at 15.9%.
However, the upcoming changes in the pony car segment are set to shake things up. Dodge has announced that it will end production of the current generation Challenger in December, while Ford is set to launch the seventh-generation Mustang for the 2024 model year. The new Mustang will feature up to 500 horsepower in the new Dark Horse trim, showing Ford is sticking with traditional muscle car formula of V8 power.
Chevrolet has also announced that it will cease Camaro production after the 2024 model year. However, the company has stated that this is not the end of the Camaro’s story, leaving fans wondering what the future holds for the iconic model.
Dodge has not yet revealed its next generation Challenger. However, it is expected to take cues from the electric Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept, which was previewed last year and featured an 800-volt architecture. The upcoming Challenger will also showcase Hurricane6 twin-turbo engines from the Wagoneer lineup, marking a departure from its traditional HEMI® V8 in favor of inline-six engines and electric powertrains.
The Q1 period has shown that the pony car segment is still has a strong following, despite high interest rates and huge dealer markups. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the year unfolds for the segment and how consumers respond to the upcoming changes.
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