The Camaro and Challenger have been direct rivals since they reappeared on the muscle car scene after a hiatus, and the Challenger now appears to be pulling ahead of the Camaro in the sales race. Outselling the Camaro for 2018, the Challenger sold a total of 66,716 units last year, while there were only 50,963 examples of the Camaro sold. This is a sharp decrease for the Camaro, down 25% compared to 2017 while the Challenger saw a 3% increase.
The Challenger’s sales increase likely relates to an increased desire among consumers for more practical vehicles, with the shift to crossover dominance being the notable example of this trend. The muscle car segment is not one that is typically associated with practicality, but the Challenger has interior and cargo volumes that are noticeably larger than those of the Camaro, making it an ideal daily driver while also offering loads of high-performance variations.
Making matters worse for General Motors (GM), the Camaro was redesigned for 2019 with a front fascia can be described as unique, to put it politely. The new design has received a lot criticism on the internet and destroys what few design similarities existed between the original Camaro and the new one, at least on SS models. GM may attempt to remedy this by refreshing the fascia again soon, a move that is not unprecedented for the company as the Malibu received an “emergency” refresh for 2014 to address the shortcomings that existed with the new design. Even with a refresh to fix the Camaro’s design, the hard points of the body are here to stay, at least until the car gets fully redesigned, so increases in interior volume and visibility are unlikely.
Meanwhile, the Challenger remains true to its heritage with a design that is unmistakable. For 2019, the Challenger sees new performance-oriented trim levels, including the 1320 Scat Pack and HELLCAT Redeye, the former catering to drag racing enthusiasts, while the latter adds technology from the Demon to increase horsepower to 797.
This victory for the Challenger is notable, since the basic design of the car has remained unchanged since its introduction in 2008. The next-generation Challenger is still a couple of years away, but we expect it to maintain its lead over the Camaro by continuing to emphasize its old-school muscle car feel, large interior volume, and HEMI-powered performance variants.