Challenger, Camaro and Mustang Outsell All Hybrids Combined in May 2011

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challenger.jpgby Patrick Rall

The sales results from around the industry trickled in from May 2011 and an interesting bit of news came out, as the Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang together outsold all hybrids sold in the US market during the month.  Many would expect that the sales of muscle cars would be on the decline with gas prices hovering around the $4 range, but thanks to advancements in technology, the fuel economy efforts by GM, Ford and Chrysler have made these models the most fuel efficient vehicles of their kind.

Muscle car sales in May 2011 were lead by the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro,
with the introduction of the droptop models joining the powerful coupe
to move 9,451 total units.  This was a gain of 5% over May of 2010, but
with Chevy selling over 10,000 Camaros in April, the GM muscle car did
show a slight decline last month.  The Ford Mustang was second in muscle
car segment sales with 6,607 units sold (marking a 36% decrease
compared to May 2010) and the Dodge Challenger was third with 3,418
units sold in May.  While the segment as a whole may have hit a bit of a
slump in May 2011, with 19,476 the Challenger, Mustang and Camaro
bested the entire hybrid segment, which only moved 17,852 units in May.

other main factor helping the Challenger, Camaro and Mustang outsell
the entire hybrid segment, including models like the Toyota Prius and
Ford Fusion Hybrid, was the impact of the Japanese earthquake and
ensuing tsunami.  The biggest impact was to the Japanese hybrids, like
the Toyota Prius and Honda CRZ, both of which saw production facilities
damaged by the natural disasters.  Also, a hybrid battery plant in Japan
was badly damaged and this reduction in battery output negatively
impacted non-Japanese hybrid models like the Ford Fusion and Ford
Escape.  On top of the vehicle production in Japan being halted and the
slow hybrid battery industry, shipping ports in Japan were clogged with
damaged product, so deliveries to the US market were held up, which
caused a shortage in hybrids in dealerships – slowing the sale of these
super efficient models throughout the month of May 2011.

only is this feat impressive because of the rising price of gasoline
but considering that the muscle car segment is comprised of only three
cars, while the hybrid segment offers models from almost every brand
sold in America (some being among the bestselling models in the market) –
the performance oriented rear wheel drive coupes and convertibles
really made gearheads around the country proud.  Regardless of the
reasons, for at least one month the high performance American muscle
cars reigned supreme over the hybrid market as performance and mediocre
fuel economy trumped vehicles with no power, little soul and high fuel
economy numbers.

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