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Muscle Cars Withstanding Slumping Market

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On: Thu, Dec 23, 2010 at 10:52AM | By: Chris Weiss

Muscle Cars Withstanding Slumping Market

Muscle cars have long earned their name for their big, powerful engines and hard-hitting, invigorating drives. But this year, American modern classics like the Chevy Camaro, Ford Mustang, and Dodge Challenger have been puting that muscle to a more practical use: fending off a bad economy and struggling sport car market toward solid annual sales. These three models have been among the select few flourishing in the recent recession.

The sales battle between the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro has been well-publicized ever since the Camaro's return last year. What's been lost in those headlines is that during the battle for muscle-car sales supremacy, both models, regardless of month-to-month winner, have been doing quite well. As has the other Big-Three muscle car, the Dodge Challenger.

According to Edmunds, while sports cars, as a whole, have been taking a hit all year, the American muscle cars have been up double digits in terms of year-over-year sales, significant double digits. The Dodge Challenger lead the way with a 43.5 percent year-over-year sales boost (through November); the Camaro followed closely behind with a 39.9 percent increase and the Ford Mustang enjoyed a 13.6 percent boost.

Meanwhile, competitors from across the Pacific have been suffering through major declines. The Mazda RX-8 and Mitsubishi Eclipse are both down over 50 percent, and the Mazda Miata MX-5 is also down for 2010.

American muscle cars have had a few things working in their favor, despite the bad economy. The Chevy Camaro made its grand return to the market last spring after a 7-year absence. It enjoyed a strong response from both media and buyers. For its part, Ford revamped the Mustang's engine line-up for the 2011 model year, including the return of the legendary 5.0-liter V8 for the Mustang GT

Of course, muscle cars also have the history and rabid following that makes well-heeled car enthusiasts 'pony' up at the dealership for the latest models and special editions.

Next year, Chevy will launch the Camaro Convertible, which could spur continued sales growth. Dodge will offer new engines for 2011 Challenger models, including the new Pentastar V6 in the base model and a 475-hp 6.4-liter HEMI V8 in the SRT8 model.

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