Muscle Car Sales Charging Up in America

Buyers pony up cash despite challenges of ownership.

by on Jun.30, 2015

Muscle car sales, including those of the Dodge Challenger, are on the rise in the U.S.

If it appears that there are more Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers on the roads around town, it’s not a figment of your imagination: American muscle cars are big sellers these days.

According to Experian Automotive, muscle car sales are up more than 35% in the last nine years with the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro leading the charge. Through May Ford sold 56,571 Mustangs; Chevy sold 33,982 Camaros, according to Autodata Corp. The Dodge Challenger is in third place, with 30,166 sold.

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“The love of the Mustang combined with the reintroduction of the Camaro, Challenger and Charger has sparked a resurgence of the muscle car,” said Brad Smith, Experian’s director of automotive statistics.

Other muscles cars included in the study were: Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper.

“While the growing popularity might run contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers are continuing to show their appreciation for a part of American history and not steering away from raw horsepower to focus solely on fuel efficiency,” Smith said.

The Ford Mustang is enjoying a strong sales year while helping to lead a resurgence in American muscle car sales, according to Experian.

Part of the reason for the heightened popularity is the fact that the Mustang, which has been the biggest seller of the aforementioned vehicles, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, raising its profile.

However, adding to the sales is the fact that automakers have gone to great lengths to make many of the vehicles better cars than they have in the past. They’re squeezing more horsepower out of smaller engines resulting in improved fuel economy.

(To get TDB’s first official look at the 2016 Camaro, Click Here.)

However, there are some differences between the vehicles and they show up when one takes a closer look at who is buying them and how they’re paying for the cars. The study shows that Corvette and Viper buyers are more likely to pay cash. More than 40% of Corvette owners and 34.5% of Viper owners pay cash, which is 101.8% higher than the next model in the lineup.

“With the Viper and the Corvette being on the higher end of the muscle cars reviewed, it’s not that surprising that a higher percentage of consumers paid for them in cash. Our findings show that those buyers had the highest credit scores (with the average a full 26 points higher than the other models), which could indicate that they have more disposable income,” said Melinda Zabritski, Experian’s senior director of automotive finance.

Chevrolet officially took the wraps off its new edition to the 2016 Camaro line-up: the convertible.

(Dodge Hellcat orders bust the bank. For more, Click Here.)

At the other end of the scale the four-door Charger had the highest lease rate among the muscle cars at 12.3% and it joined the Challenger in the most likely to be financed with longer than average loan terms and subprime credit. The longer term helps keep the monthly payment lower, Zabritski noted.

Finally, where are all these muscle cars being scooped up? Texas. Lone Star State residents were 79% more likely to buy one of the muscle cars and those living in Vermont wree 70% less likely than normal to buy one. Why? Weather. Muscle cars, although better than ever in the snow, are still not considered the best choice to muddle through tough New England winters.

(Click Here for details on the improvements to the Mustang Shelby 350GT.)

And in what would be considered a surprise to no one: men were 21% more likely than women to buy these vehicles and they’re also more likely to be under the age of 40 and earning less than $100,000 annually.

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2 Responses to “Muscle Car Sales Charging Up in America”

  1. Phil says:

    Cool, I still have my black 1992 Firebird. Fun road car!

  2. Jorge says:

    Because the new Muscle cars are so much better than the original cars were, it’s a lot easier to justify buying one for use as a daily driver. The original cars were primarily for drag racing where as the newer cars handle and brake much better in addition to the raw horsepower. Part of the allure in Muscle cars is the power/performance but body styling is also a big factor. Many people who could not afford an original Muscle car when they were younger may now be able to do so later in life.

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