Camaro poised to claim pony-car sales title over the Mustang

The convertible Camaro should give a further boost to Camaro sales in 2011

With just weeks left in the year, Chevrolet’s hot-selling Camaro looks like a lock to win the pony-car sales title in 2010, topping the Ford Mustang for the first time in 25 years.

So far this year–Camaro’s first full sales year since production ended after the 2002 model year–Chevy has sold 75,685 Camaro coupes. Mustang sales totaled 68,264 through the first 11 months of the year. If the sales numbers hold through December, the Camaro will end the year at about 82,500 sales, while the Mustang will finish with 74,500 sales.

Barring any last-minute sales tricks from Ford, it appears the outcome is a foregone conclusion–and both sides are talking as though the battle is over.

“It’s not a sales race," Mustang spokeswoman Angie Kozleski conceded.

Chevy spokesman David Caldwell said there are no special year-end sales incentives or marketing strategies for the Camaro.

“The 21st-century Camaro just naturally generates a lot of enthusiasm," Caldwell said.

So far, the Camaro has been able to take the lead with only one model–the coupe that accounted for all 2010 sales, with sales split almost evenly between the 426-hp, V8-powered SS model and the V6 model.

“If you’re new to the scene, it’s not much of a compromise settling for 312 hp," Caldwell said. “I think one of the biggest changes from past to present is that we have a very strong standard [V6] car."

Chevy expects another annual sales increase for 2011, with a convertible model hitting the market in February at $29,995. Caldwell said he anticipates the convertibles to account for about 25 percent of Camaro sales next year. A high-performance variant is in the works for 2012.

Even though Mustang is coming in second, its sales remain strong, thanks to all-new powertrains for 2011.

“Mustangs are doing very well with the new 3.7-liter V6 and the 5.0-liter V8," said Kozleski. The V6 produces 305 hp and 280 lb-ft of torque, while the V8 punches out 412 hp and 390 lb-ft.

The third horse in the Detroit Three pony-car race, the Dodge Challenger, is on pace to post about 36,000 sales for the year. AutoWeek

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