General Motors reported 8,737 Chevrolet Camaro sales in the United States in April 2017, a 17-percent year-over-year increase for GM’s third-best-selling car last month.
For the sixth-generation Camaro, a car that had a decidedly unimpressive launch phase last year after routinely outselling the Ford Mustang for half a decade, April 2017’s improvement led to the best month yet. Not since the oft-discounted fifth-generation Camaro was nearing the end of its line in May 2015 has Camaro volume been so strong.
As for the headline-creating bits, yes, the Chevrolet Camaro beat the Ford Mustang in April 2017 U.S. sales. Camaro wins. Camaro is the victor. To the Camaro go the spoils.
GM must take time to enjoy its Camaro’s victories. Once routine, they’re hardly common now.
The Camaro was America’s preeminent sporty car â€” the top-selling muscle car/pony car/sports coupe/pick-your-title â€” for five consecutive years once the nameplate returned from hiatus in fifth-gen form. From its first full year in 2010 through 2014, the Camaro averaged 84,000 annual sales, essentially 1.1 Camaros for every Mustang.
And for the GM faithful who enjoyed not just their own victories but also Blue Oval losses, Ford’s annual average of 77,400 Mustang sales during that half-decade of Camaro leadership compared with nearly 137,000 annual Mustang sales during the Camaro’s absence (and prior to the Dodge Challenger’s launch.)
But the sixth-generation Ford Mustang got off to a torrid start as the Camaro reached the end of its fifth-generation’s run. Over the 24-month span of 2015 and 2016, Ford sold 228,281 Mustangs in America, adding many more in global markets where the Camaro doesn’t compete.
For the Camaro, the final year of the fifth-gen model and the first year for the sixth-gen model were the worst full years since the Camaro nameplate returned. Indeed, theÂ new Camaro sold less often when it was brand new, last year, than when the old Camaro was oldest, the year before.
Not since a September/October burst last fall caused the Camaro to outperform the Mustang has the Ford fallen into the No.2 spot. (Those were the first monthly Camaro victories since October 2014.) But along with the Camaro’s 17-percent year-over-year uptick last month, Ford Mustang sales plunged 37 percent, a loss of 4,663 sales for a car that’s lost more than 12,000 sales already this year.
AtÂ Ford, the launch momentum was difficult to sustain, particularly for impractical cars, particularly when the overall market is in decline. Moreover, with a refreshed Mustang on the way for the 2018 model year, there’s a segment of the Mustang-buying population that will wait.
As for the Camaro’s April performance, it wasn’t because of a newfound emphasis on incentives. According to J.D. Power PIN data obtained by TTAC, the average Camaro left a Chevrolet dealer with $2,650 in discounts in April 2017. That was down 20 percent from March levels.
Through the first four months of 2017, the Camaro’s average transaction price has risen $2,347 compared with the same period one year ago. While the Mustang relies on fleet volume for roughly 35 percent of its U.S. sales, April’s Camaro mix was skewed 80 percent towards retail.
Timothy Cain is the founder ofÂ GoodCarBadCar.netÂ and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.