The Ford Mustang in 2023 overtook the Dodge Challenger to reclaim the muscle car crown in the race for U.S. sales.
Challenger sales, on the other hand, dove 18% to end the year with 44,960 units moved. Production of the retro muscle car came to an end in December and some potential buyers may have held off on their purchase to see what Dodge has planned for the Challenger’s electric successor due this year.
The Camaro, the perennial bronze in this race, also ended production last year, though its sales were up 25.9% to end the year with 31,028 units moved. Unlike Dodge, Chevy hasn’t announced a successor to the Camaro. While the nameplate won’t be retired, there may be a long wait before any successor arrives.
2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E
The Mustang is traditionally the fastest horse in the sales race, and it’s still ahead if you count sales of the Mustang Mach-E electric crossover as a muscle car competitor. Mach-E sales were up 3.3% in 2023 as Ford moved 40,771 of the them. That’s the closest the Mach-E has been to its gas-powered sibling since the start of sales in 2021.
While the Challenger experienced a sharp drop in sales, the same didn’t occur to the related Charger whose production also ended in December. Like the Challenger, the Charger is also due to receive an electric successor in 2024, though it still managed to register 75,920 sales in 2023, down just 5% versus the previous year.
The past year turned out to be a bumper year for sales for the overall market after recent declines caused by the pandemic and the ensuing supply chain issues. New vehicle sales in the U.S. reached around 15.5 million units in 2023, up 12.4% versus 2022. General Motors had the highest sales of any automaker, registering 2.6 million units, up 14.1% versus the previous year.
The good times may not last, though, due to the recent rise in interest rates making monthly payments harder for consumers. EV demand, while still growing, is also starting to slow.