It’s bad news all around for one of these three pony cars

The Ford Mustang still rules the roost in the muscle car segment as the Dodge Challenger runs past the Chevrolet Camaro for second place in terms of muscle car sales in 2018. The ‘Stang’s place on top of the standings remains secure, but it’s the Challenger that’s making the headlines, thanks in large part to a stronger-than-expected sales year. Of the three muscle cars, the Dodge pony car is the only one to post year-over-year growth. The Camaro, on the other hand, couldn’t have had a worse year, falling behind its two rivals in the wake of torpedoing sales. 2019 is going to be an interesting year for all three muscle cars, but for now, it’s looking like it’s going to be a two-horse race between the Mustang and the Challenger.

Dodge Challenger Emerges Out of Chevrolet Camaro's Shadow as Ford Mustang Continues to Lord Over the Segment High Resolution Exterior
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Note: 2018 Dodge Challenger. pictured here.

Well, this is interesting. The Dodge Challenger may not have taken the top spot from the Ford Mustang in the 2018 sales war, but you can make a case that it’s the big winner for 2018.

The Challenger and all of its derivatives sold 66,716 units this year.

That represents an increase of three percent compared to its numbers in 2017. Sure, it’s not that big of an increase in the grand scheme of things, but when you combine it with how the Mustang and the Camaro fared, the Challenger came out smelling like roses compared to its two rivals.

Dodge Challenger Emerges Out of Chevrolet Camaro's Shadow as Ford Mustang Continues to Lord Over the Segment High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Note: 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

Unfortunately, the Challenger’s strong sales return last year wasn’t enough to usurp the Ford Mustang, which held on to the top spot despite posting a 7.4-percent decline in sales compared to its previous sales total the year before.

For 2018, a total of 75,842 Mustangs found homes, which sounds healthy except that the Mustang cleared $80,000 sold units in 2017.

It’s not enough to make the folks at Dearborn, Michigan sweat, but the year-over-year drop has definitely caught the attention of a lot of Ford executives. Is the Mustang losing its shine — we’ve heard some complaints about the mid-cycle model in recent months — or is it just a case of people waiting for the new Ford Shelby GT500 to arrive? We’ll know through the course of the next 12 months.

Dodge Challenger Emerges Out of Chevrolet Camaro's Shadow as Ford Mustang Continues to Lord Over the Segment Exterior
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Note: 2019 Chevrolet Camaro. pictured here.

If there are people that should be worried, it should be the folks over at Chevrolet. The Camaro, once the one-true rival to the Mustang, has fallen on hard times.

For the year that just finished, sales of the Camaro barely reached 50,000 units — 50,963 units, to be exact.

That’s an alarming total for a number of reasons. First, it’s well off the total sales volume of the Mustang and the Challenger. Second, it came despite the Camaro entering 2018 with a facelift of its own. Third, and most alarming, the total represents a whopping sales decline of 25 percent compared to its total from 2017. We can pinpoint a number of reasons why the Camaro sold so poorly in 2018, but it is worth noting that Chevrolet is hastily preparing a new front fascia for production to replace the heavily derided version in the facelift model. Perhaps a lot of people got so turned off by the way the updated Camaro looked that they completely shunned the model in favor of either the Mustang or the Challenger. Either way, Chevrolet has a lot of making up to do in 2019 if it’s going to rebound from an atrocious sales year in 2018.

2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320
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Note: 2019 Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 pictured here.

So why did the Dodge Challenger do well in 2018? Part of it is tied into the number of impressive packages Dodge rolled out for its muscle car, including the Shakedown Package and the R/T Scat Pack 1320, two of my personal favorites. Performance-injected versions like the Challenger SRT Demon and the Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye could’ve also contributed to the Challenger’s success, especially after all the glowing reviews both models received upon their releases. Momentum is definitely on the Dodge Challenger’s side as it prepares for a year that could include more performance derivatives of the muscle car. Who knows, Dodge could even build limited-run versions of the Redeye Express now that Santa’s on hiatus for the next 11 months.

Dodge Challenger Emerges Out of Chevrolet Camaro's Shadow as Ford Mustang Continues to Lord Over the Segment High Resolution Exterior
- image 702954

Note: 2018 Ford Mustang pictured here.

Whatever the case, 2019 should be another interesting year in the muscle car wars.

The Mustang enters the year still reigning supreme, but it’s now up against a worthy "challenger."


Chevrolet Camaro 2.0T Chevrolet Camaro V6 Chevrolet Camaro SS Dodge Challenger Dodge Challenger Dodge Challenger Ford Mustang EcoBoost Ford Mustang GT
Engine 2.0-liter I-4 DOHC VVT DI Turbocharged 3.6-liter V-6 DOHC VVT DI 6.2-liter V-8 3.6-Liter Pentastar V-6 5.7-Liter HEMI® V-8 6.4-liter HEMI V-8 2.3-liter V-8 5.0-liter V-8
Horsepower 275 HP @ 5,600 RPM 335 HP @ 6,800 RPM 455 HP @ 6,000 RPM 305 HP @ 6,350 RPM 375 HP @ 5,200 RPM 485 HP @ 6,100 RPM 310 HP @ 5,500 RPM 460 HP @ 7,000 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 3,000-4,500 RPM 284 LB-FT @ 5,300 RPM 455 LB-FT @ 4,400 RPM 268 LB-FT @ 4,800 RPM 410 LB-FT @ 4,300 RPM 475 LB-FT @ 4,100 RPM 350 LB-FT @ 3,000 RPM 420 LB-FT @ 4,600 RPM
Transmission six-speed manual six-speed manual 8-speed automatic six-speed manual 8-speed automatic six-speed manual 6-speed manual 6-speed manual
Curb weight 3,354 Lbs 3,463 Lbs 3,685 Lbs 3,894 Lbs 4,175 Lbs 4,286 Lbs 3,531 lbs 3,743 lbs
0 to 60 mph 5.5 seconds 5.1 seconds 3.9 seconds 6.2 seconds 5.1 seconds 4.4 seconds 5.3 seconds 4.5 seconds
Top Speed 130 mph 155 mph 165 mph 120 mph 155 mph 182 mph 149 mph 164 mph

Further reading

2019 Chevrolet Camaro
- image 777070

Read our full review on the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro.

Dodge Challenger Emerges Out of Chevrolet Camaro's Shadow as Ford Mustang Continues to Lord Over the Segment High Resolution Exterior
- image 549872

Read our full review on the 2018 Dodge Challenger.

2018 Ford Mustang High Resolution Exterior
- image 702950

Read our full review of the latest 2018 Ford Mustang


DEARBORN, Mich., Jan. 3, 2019 – Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F) today reported its December 2018 U.S. sales results. Click here or visit to view the news release. Ford will begin its monthly sales call at 10 a.m. EDT this morning when Erich Merkle, Ford U.S. sales analyst, will host a conference call for the investment community and news media to discuss the results and related market trends. He will be joined by Mark LaNeve, Ford vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service, and Emily Kolinski Morris, Ford chief economist.

* * *

FCA US Reports 2018 December and Full-Year Sales
FCA US reports highest calendar year of retail sales in 17 years
Jeep® brand sets full-year record as sales climb 17 percent
Ram brand notches full-year record as sales climb 7 percent
Dodge Challenger reports full-year record
JANUARY 3, 2019 , AUBURN HILLS, MICH. - FCA US LLC today reported December U.S. sales of 196,520 vehicles, a 14 percent increase compared with sales of 171,946 vehicles in December 2017.

Retail sales for the month rose slightly to 151,077 vehicles. Fleet sales totaled 45,443 vehicles and accounted for 23 percent of total sales during the month.

The Jeep® Wrangler was the standout for the month and the year. Wrangler notched record December sales of 19,800 vehicles and full-year sales of 240,032. The results significantly exceeded the former full-year sales record of 202,266 set in 2015.

For the year, U.S. retail sales were 1,760,488, marking the highest level since 2001 when sales reached 1,833,186 vehicles. Total U.S. sales rose 9 percent to 2,235,204 compared with 2,059,376 vehicles for 2017. Fleet sales accounted for 21 percent of the company’s overall sales in 2018.

“This year’s performance underscores the efforts we undertook to realign our production to give U.S. consumers more Jeep vehicles and Ram pickup trucks,” Head of U.S. Sales Reid Bigland said. “We see sales remaining solid in 2019 and we look forward to expanding our vehicle portfolio with the addition of the much anticipated Jeep Gladiator.”

Jeep Brand
Jeep brand sales rose 10 percent to 80,449 vehicles in December. For the year, sales increased 17 percent to a record 973,227 vehicles, eclipsing the last record of 926,376 vehicles in 2016.

The Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Compass joined the Wrangler in setting new records for December and the year. Cherokee sales rose 7 percent to 20,800 vehicles. For the year, sales were 239,437 vehicles. Compass sales rose 46 percent to 12,745 in December. For the year, sales were 171,167, which beat the previous record of 94,601 set in 2016.

Ram Brand
Ram brand sales rose 37 percent in December to 68,195 vehicles. For the year, sales hit a new record of 597,368 vehicles. The Ram 1500 – the Most Awarded Full-size Truck – drove the performance as total sales climbed 15 percent to 377,286 vehicles for a new record. Ram ProMaster and ProMaster City reported the best December ever. ProMaster sales rose 75 percent to 5,857 vehicles while ProMaster City sales increased 35 percent to 2,183 vehicles.

Dodge Brand
Dodge brand December sales rose 17 percent to 32,528 vehicles. For the year, Challenger sales rose 3 percent to 66,716 which is a new record for the nameplate. The previous record was 66,377 in 2015.

Alfa Romeo Brand
Alfa Romeo brand December sales fell 4 percent to 1,946 vehicles. Alfa Romeo’s 2018 annual sales rose to a record 23,820, which was almost twice as much as the brand sold in 2017. Both Stelvio and Giulia finished the year notching more than 11,500 vehicle sales.

Chrysler Brand
Chrysler brand December sales fell 28 percent to 12,425 vehicles. However, the Pacifica reported higher year-over-year results as vehicle sales totaled 118,322. Overall, the brand has seen some softening during the year following the continued wind-down of the Chrysler 200 and the Town & Country.

FIAT Brand
Fiat December sales declined 44 percent to 977 vehicles in December. Fiat finished the year with 15,521 vehicle sales.

Method of Determining FCA US LLC’s Monthly Sales. FCA US’s reported vehicle sales represent unit sales of vehicles to retail customers, deliveries of vehicles to fleet customers and to others such as FCA US’s employees and retirees as well as vehicles used for marketing. Most of these reported sales reflect retail sales made by dealers out of their own inventory of vehicles previously purchased by them from FCA US. Reported vehicle units sales do not correspond to FCA US’s reported revenues, which are based on FCA US’s sale and delivery of vehicles, and typically recognized upon shipment to the dealer or end customer. As announced on July 26, 2016, FCA US has modified its methodology for monthly sales reporting as follows:

Sales to retail customers by dealers in the U.S. are derived from the New Vehicle Delivery Report (“NVDR”) system and are determined as the sum of (A) all sales recorded by dealers during the month net of all unwound transactions recorded to the end of that month (whether the original sale was recorded in the current month or any prior month); plus (B) all sales of vehicles during that month attributable to past unwinds that had previously been reversed in determining monthly sales (in the current or prior months).
Fleet sales are recorded upon the shipment of the vehicle by FCA US to the customer or end user.
Other retail sales are recorded either (A) when the sale is recorded in the NVDR system (for sales by dealers in Puerto Rico and limited sales made through distributors that submit NVDRs in the same manner as for sales by U.S. dealers) or (B) upon receipt of a similar delivery notification (for vehicles for which NVDRs are not entered such as vehicles for FCA employees).
* * *

GM’s U.S. Crossover Sales Topped 1 million in 2018
DETROIT – General Motors (NYSE: GM) announced today that it delivered 2,954,037 vehicles in 2018, including more than 1 million crossovers, almost 974,000 pickup trucks and more than 280,000 large SUVs.

“We have built the most successful pickup, SUV and crossover business in the industry and we gained considerable momentum in the fourth quarter of 2018 as dealers began delivering the all-new Chevrolet Silverado, GMC Sierra and Cadillac XT4,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations.

GM’s fourth quarter deliveries totaled 785,229 units and the company’s share of the industry’s retail sales grew every month from October through December.

“We feel confident heading into 2019 because we have more major truck and crossover launches coming during the year and the U.S. economy is strong,” McNeil added.

GM delivers more than 1 million crossovers in the U.S. in 2018

GM crossover deliveries totaled 1,034,808 in 2018, up 7 percent versus 2017, and the following five nameplates had record calendar year sales:
GMC Terrain up 34 percent
Chevrolet Traverse up 19 percent
Chevrolet Equinox up 15 percent
Chevrolet Trax up 13 percent
Buick Encore up 6 percent
The first-ever Cadillac XT4 became the best-selling vehicle in its segment just two months after launch. Cadillac will be introducing all-new models every six months, on average, through the end of 2021.
Total sales of all utility vehicles, including large SUVs, totaled 1,295,700, up 7 percent. The Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban were up 5 percent and 7 percent, respectively, and the Cadillac Escalade ended the year with a retail segment share twice that of its closest domestic competitor.

Chevrolet and GMC pickup sales leadership continues

The Chevrolet Colorado had its best year ever, with 134,842 pickups sold, up 19 percent versus 2017.
Combined sales of the Chevrolet Silverado and Colorado, and the GMC Sierra and Canyon, rose 3 percent versus 2017 to a total of 973,463 pickups.
GM has now sold more pickups in the United States than any other competitor for five consecutive years. Through November, the next closest competitor had sold 821,558 pickups.
A fast start for new Chevrolet and GMC pickups

GM’s all-new light-duty pickups, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500, have invigorated the segment and helped the company pass its domestic competitors in key areas:

GM’s retail share of the light-duty pickup segment has increased every month since August, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates, and GM led the segment every month during the fourth quarter.
GM has had the highest ATPs in the segment since October, according to J.D. Power PIN, driven by incentive discipline and a strong mix. More than 90 percent of the all-new 2019 model-year sales in the quarter were crew cab models, and at GMC, more than 70 percent of deliveries were premium Denali and AT4 models.
GM’s incentives as a percent of ATP were the lowest among domestic competitors during the fourth quarter.
These results reflect the successful sell-down of the previous generation Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500s, and strong demand for the all-new models. During the fourth quarter, the all-new models accounted for 17 percent of GM light-duty deliveries, as planned. By the end of January, the new models are expected to be the majority of light-duty sales.

“We are very bullish on pickups heading into 2019,” McNeil said. “The light-duty launch has been one of the best in our history, with a very smooth production ramp-up of the new models and a faster than expected sell-down of the old models. We are following that up with all-new HD trucks, and the first-ever Chevrolet Silverado medium-duty chassis cab trucks for commercial customers.”

In December, Chevrolet confirmed that its next-generation Silverado 2500HD and 3500HD will be on sale in the second half of 2019. The medium-duty Silverados are now shipping to dealers.

Double-digit Commercial delivery increase

GM posted an 11 percent year-over-year increase in Commercial deliveries in 2018, following average annual growth of 7 percent from 2012-2017.
Fleet sales for the year were up 9 percent versus 2017, and were down 4 percent for the fourth quarter.
Commercial and government deliveries in 2018 were more than half of fleet sales, as planned.
Chevrolet Bolt EV sales

GM increased production of the Chevrolet Bolt EV during the fourth quarter to meet strong global demand, including higher than expected demand in South Korea and Canada, and to begin rebuilding U.S. dealer inventories.
GM expects higher year-over-year sales in Bolt EV’s major markets in 2019.
GM operating highlights

GM estimates that the light vehicle SAAR in the fourth quarter was 17.7 million units. Light vehicle sales for the calendar year are estimated at 17.3 million units.
GM’s retail mix was 80 percent for the fourth quarter and 79 percent for the year.
ATPs were a record $36,974 in the fourth quarter and a record $35,839 for the year, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates.
GM’s incentives as a percent of ATP for the fourth quarter were 12.7 percent, down 1.0 percentage point year over year, according to J.D. Power PIN estimates. For the year, incentives were 13.0 percent of ATP, down 0.3 percentage points.
Year-end 2018 inventory was 755,000 units, essentially equal to a year ago.

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