Ford Mustang sales leap ahead of other sporty cars – USA TODAY
Proving once again that the key to sales is a hot new model, Ford is finding huge success so far with its new-generation Mustang, while others in the sporty-car category languish.
Ford saw a 36.1% sales increase in March compared to the same month the year before on its new 2015 Mustang, moving 12,663 of them. For the first three months of the year, the increase is even more startling: 52.1% to 29,811, Autodata reports.
At the the same time, Mustang’s archrival, Chevrolet Camaro, saw its sales drop 30.9% in March to 29,811. Camaro is now an aging model, with a replacement not due to be seen until later this year. In past year, before the new-gen Mustang, Camaro often beat the pony car in the monthly rankings.
The other contender in the category, Dodge Challenger, also saw a big sales increase, up 25.2% in March with 5,956. Dodge created new excitement around the existing Challenger by introducing a 707-horsepower Hellcat version.
And the car could get a nice boost in interest in April thanks to appearance in “Furious 7,” the latest in the “Fast and Furious” movie franchise.
Another sporty car up, riding interest in a redesigned version of its core hardtop model: Mini Cooper, up a whopping 59.5%.
Ford credits Mustang’s sales rise to a broadening of the car’s appeal with the new model. For the 2015, Ford risked alienating diehard fans by making more mainstream changes to improve the ride, fuel economy and safety. Among the additions were independent rear suspension, Ford’s EcoBoost turbocharged engine and traction control. Ford touted these the biggest changes in the model’s 50-year history.
“Mustang has historically been this blue-collar muscle car,” says Ford’s internal sales analyst, Erich Merkle. “With EcoBoost and traction control, they’ve expanded it.”
Analysts aren’t surprised at the new Mustang’s launch success, given the improvements.
“With Mustang, there is so much aspiration for that vehicle,” says Alexander Edwards, president of consultants Strategic Vision, “even among younger drivers or those getting in their first sports car.”
The success is all the more striking because many sporty cars didn’t fare well in sales in March compared to a year ago: Hyundai Veloster fell 14.5%, Mazda Miata was down 29.2% (though it, has new version due this year) and the Toyota Scion FR-S and Subaru BRZ, sports cars jointly developed by the two Japanese automakers, saw sales drop 39% and 42.2% respectively.