2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS

2011 Chevrolet Camaro SS

The 2010 and 2011 Chevrolet Camaro has been a hot seller since its debut in early 2009, but this year marks its first full year of sales, and it's a steamroller for the Bowtie pony car. Ford's revamped 2011 Mustang has been sellign strong, too, but it's running behind the Camaro--for the first time in 25 years.

Well, sort of. Last year saw the Camaro beat the Mustang in montly sales on more than one occasion, but because it wasn't introduced until February/March, it couldn't overcome the Mustang's year-end tally. This year, with both cars seeing a full 12 months of sales things are a bit more even.

Only a bit more even, however, as the 2011 Mustang's upgraded 3.7-liter V-6 and 5.0-liter V-8 engines put a dent in sales of the 2010 model early in the year, as buyers decided to hold out for the new car. Next year should be an even closer measure of the pony car wars, with no major changes planned for either model, though again there'll be a monkey wrench in the statistics: the 2011 Camaro Convertible won't be out until February/March of 2011.

This back-and-forth hasn't gone unnoticed by the manufacturers, with Mustang communications rep Angie Kozleski saying, "It's not a sales race." An understandable position coming from the apparent underdog. Chevy, conversely, is booming with pride for its strong sales figures.

Part of the unseen picture here is that the Camaro's sales figures for November are actually down 41.9 percent, seasonally adjusted, and 39.4 percent in gross totals, compared to November 2009. The Mustang, on the other hand, is on the rise, up 12.8 percent gross year-on-year (Ford didn't provide seasonally adjusted figures).

Despite the differing directions of each car's sales, the Camaro continued to outsell the Mustang in November, but only just, at 4,164 Camaros to 4,093 Mustangs. The crossover point is fast approaching, but it isn't here yet.

Year-to-date, the Camaro is leading the Mustang by about 10.8 percent. If each car's sales trajectories continue through December, the year-end total will see somewhere close to 73,000 Mustangs sold (a number the Camaro has already eclisped) and about 80,000 Camaros sold, giving the Camaro a roughly 9.5 percent edge in total sales.

In the end, however, this battle of very near equals is just like any other: buyers will vote with their dollars, with many in each camp firmly committed to their brands. It is, as the politcos would say, the swing votes that count.

[Ford, GM, AutoWeek]