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Will Ford's New-Look 2015 Mustang Top the Camaro?

Artist rendering of the 2015 Mustang. Photo: Read more here

Ford's (NYSE: F  ) Mustang and General Motors' (NYSE: GM  ) Camaro have been engaged in an epic muscle-car battle throughout much of the past five decades. The line has been drawn in the sand, and you're either a Ford guy or Chevy guy, no gray area. The rivalry is as strong as the MLB's Yankees vs. Red Sox or the NFL's Cowboys vs. Redskins. The Mustang came to market first in 1964 and enjoyed much success over its rival Camaro, which came out a few years later, and it continued to dominate the sales title for 31 of the 42 years in which both iconic muscle cars were both produced.

That trend has reversed in the past few years. Can Ford's next-generation Mustang bring it back to the top?

Graph by author. Information credit: Automotive News DataCenter.
*2013 estimated on sales through July.

One problem Ford will have is the difference in sales strategy. Ford CEO Alan Mulally has set forth a global strategy titled "One Ford" that has aimed to make sure any vehicle produced has the ability to sell globally. For the Mustang to sell overseas, it has to shed some weight and become smaller and more fuel-efficient -- qualities that don't go hand in hand with the iconic Mustang.

Fortunately for loyal Mustang fans, Ford has a plethora of engine options that will give it the flexibility to appease many different markets. Power-hungry American consumers can still opt for the top-of-the-line V8, while consumers overseas can opt for a smaller turbocharged EcoBoost engine, which Ford said will be available for the 2015 model.

The difference is drastic. Consider that a standard 2014 model Mustang with a manual V6 gives 305 horsepower. The GT steps up to a 5.0-liter V8 producing 420 hp, and the supercharged V8 gets a staggering 662 hp -- which is just outrageous. Disregarding the supercharged V8, the Mustang comes in a little behind the Camaro's manual V6 that produces 323 hp, and using an engine it shares with Corvette will produce 500 hp.

Ford loyalists can at last rejoice that the 2015 Mustang will finally get the independent rear suspension they'd been pleading for. I think the horsepower and torque matter less to which muscle car will win the sales crown, and the exterior design matters more -- and the Camaro does get the slight nod recently in styling. It has shown in the sales.

If Ford can't strike the right balance between appeasing the U.S. consumer and those overseas, the Camaro -- which has now outsold the Mustang for the past three years -- will continue to win the age-old muscle-car rivalry. According to Automotive News, Ford of Europe design chief Martin Smith called the balancing act "a really interesting challenge" and added: "What will emerge from that whole process is one of the best sports cars in the world and one that is still affordable."

That's a pretty confident statement, but keep in mind that Ford is on a hot streak of producing extremely popular vehicles. I agree with Smith, and I think the next-generation Mustang is going to be a hit here in the U.S. and globally. It needs to be a hit to restore Mustang sales -- which have dropped significantly -- back to the No. 1 spot.

2013 Estimated from sales through July. Graph by author. Information credit: Automotive News DataCenter.

Investing takeaway
The Mustang's value goes far beyond its sales and truly represents Ford's brand image. However, Ford is enjoying improving market share in Europe, even amid an industry still in decline, and it's also setting record sales in China. Right now the charge is being led by the Fusion, Focus, Fiesta, and Escape -- but a little muscle could go a long way. Ford needs to continue adding to its strong global lineup, and it expects, and needs, the Mustang to deliver the goods.

Investors are optimistic about Ford's future, and the stock has reflected that view, rising 70% over the past 12 months as of this writing. I believe Ford will continue to do well as a company and as an investment, and next year's redesigned Mustang and F-150 will be further reason why.

Ford and GM have both been solid investments this year. The best investing approach is to choose great companies and stick with them for the long term. The Motley Fool's free report "3 Stocks That Will Help You Retire Rich" names stocks that could help you build long-term wealth and retire well, along with some winning wealth-building strategies that every investor should be aware of. Click here now to keep reading.

Read/Post Comments (41) | Recommend This Article (11)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 10:40 AM, prginww wrote:


  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 11:19 AM, prginww wrote:

    Hideous. I wonder how NASCAR will be able to make the bubble-butt fit their cookie-cutter templates.....

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 12:02 PM, prginww wrote:

    I'm a Chevy guy but I never liked the shape of the newer Camaro's that much and prefered the Mustang but WOW, if Mustang goes with that uggly body style, I'll loose all respect for Ford. It resembles kia

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 12:15 PM, prginww wrote:

    Awww come on it's not that bad. Of course I would be more worried about the ridiculous cost of that beast as well as the associated insurance and fuel expense more than that strange looking rear wheel-well. DaFester is right it does in some way look like a Kia.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 12:35 PM, prginww wrote:

    Yikes! Why is Ford trying to make the Mustang look like a Camaro? You are ruining a classic!

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 12:38 PM, prginww wrote:

    I'm disappointed because I think it's lost the distinctive look of the Mustang. It looks too much like an asian made vehicle (Nissan, Kia etc). I don't like it and I wouldn't buy it.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 12:46 PM, prginww wrote:

    They brought back the Ford Probe and named it Mustang.

    The lines and especially the hindquarters are pure Ford/Mazda Probe.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 12:58 PM, prginww wrote:

    Throughout all the remakes, Ford has never attempted to copy the look of the 64.5-66 Mustang.

    That is the car that set sales records and created the pony car category.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 1:21 PM, prginww wrote:

    You are correct rcmpvern. That was a great year and it would sell again like hotcakes

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 1:46 PM, prginww wrote:

    If Ford wants world-wide commitment, why have they taken the Ranger out of the United States and are producing it everywhere else? They took one of their most successful vehicles and snatched it from its most loyal demographic. The Ranger is still one of the most visible Ford vehicles on today's highways even though they haven't been produced for several years. It was at least as popular as the Mustang.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 2:05 PM, prginww wrote:

    that is not a muscle car what happened? looks good if it was an Audi, an aston or lamborghini more muscle less b!c^h....c'mon

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 3:46 PM, prginww wrote:

    that is the ugliest car I have ever seen.... WTF??? I am a Camaro girl... always have been, although I bought a Mustang GT in 2008 and drove it until the end of 2010 and traded it for an 11 Camaro SS. I LOVE IT. If Camaro comes out with a body style this ugly... I guess I will buy a Challenger next. THIS IS GROSS!!! Can anyone say Fusion with a big motor?? GROSS GROSS GROSS

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 3:57 PM, prginww wrote:

    That is just terrible,I remember the first Mustang that came out.This is an insult.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 4:57 PM, prginww wrote:

    If Ford goes this route...I just don't know. Maybe it'll grow on me but so far the only thing that comes to mind is YUCK! Maybe seeing it in person will change my mind, so far I'm still tasting the vomit in my mouth.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 5:11 PM, prginww wrote:

    I hope you people commenting on how bad the mustang looks KNOW that that's a CONCEPT MODEL someone made on their computer and not the look of the 2015 model... Ford HAS NOT released how the new generation mustang is going to look yet but they will... soon. So CALM YOUR TlT$!!!

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 5:11 PM, prginww wrote:

    People that's just an artists rendering of what they think it will look like. We won't know until April-ish 2014.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 6:31 PM, prginww wrote:

    Poolboy, I don't think NASCAR will have any problems with it, because they have never used the Mustang bodies to any significant extent. Besides that, a NASCAR body is only a slight resembelence of the actual car.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 6:37 PM, prginww wrote:

    Camaro got a good boost in 2010 and 2011 because it was new and had the 305 HP V6, while the Mustang still had the 210 HP.

    The chart showing the 2009 Camaro is odd, because they evidently sold a lot of a vehicle that did not exist. Camaro model was discontinued after the 2002 model year and reintroduced as the 2010.

    The last 2 years have been neck and neck. Both vehicles are great and a blast to drive - even the V6's. Cant wait to drive the new Mustang whatever it looks like

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 7:07 PM, prginww wrote:

    It would be interesting to show a graph of the Mustang sales, F150 sales F350 sales, electric Focus, etc. In a democracy, people vote. How are we voting?

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 8:12 PM, prginww wrote:

    First of all Ford is a junk and it will never top Chevrolet period.......

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 8:21 PM, prginww wrote:

    It's just an artist rendering. Camaro has always been Chevys 2nd class citizen. Corvette is a great vehicle, but camaro gets beat every time by the mustang. See any car magazine for the results. As far as sales, remember the Pontiac trams am/firebird was discontinued in 2002. A lot of those gm buyers were more likely to switch to camaro, not mustang. Bottom line is which car wins in all the tests, and sorry but it's still ford. Looking forward to the new mustang intro.

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 9:18 PM, prginww wrote:

    OMG!! What is Ford thinking??? That is absolutely UGLY.....Camero will win this contest....

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 10:20 PM, prginww wrote:

    I am a FORD guy, but I agree, this isn't very good! It does look like the Ford Probe! I hope they have a better design for the final draft!

  • Report this Comment On August 25, 2013, at 10:59 PM, prginww wrote:

    I am a 2001 GT owner and this Stang is a disgrace to Ford Mustang owners everywhere! If they mass produce this the true Mustang Lovers will not purchase this fuggly car with the most loved name in muscle car history. Ford had better rethink this move. They should also rethink employing Ford of Europe design chief Martin Smith. We here in the USA do not want a European designer telling us what our Mustang should look like! Bring the design back to an American who lives and breathes Mustang!

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:05 AM, prginww wrote:

    First of all Chevrolet is a junk and it will never top Ford period.......

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:07 AM, prginww wrote:

    i love mustang but this one is not the normal mustang we Fords lovers came to love.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:09 AM, prginww wrote:

    it does look like an 1967 (somewhat) fastback thats been edited for today.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:12 AM, prginww wrote:

    to ford haters

    there is more fords out there than you think.

    look up what ford really owns

    like Bmw is one as with many others that are very high price to own.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:13 AM, prginww wrote:

    If ford is junk than aleast 50% of the world drive junk.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:33 AM, prginww wrote:


  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 12:56 AM, prginww wrote:


  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 3:30 AM, prginww wrote:

    cant believe all the negative comments, its for the year 2015!!! I think it looks cool but Im also well under 50!.....

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 3:44 AM, prginww wrote:

    Anyone who critisizes this mustang needs to leap back to the sixties and stay there. Move forward people!!!! Enough retro designes, on with the new. If you want a classic go buy one. This Mustang ROCKS!!!!!! Go FORD!!!!! If they build this I will buy one in each color and this is coming from a true car guy.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 7:02 AM, prginww wrote:

    Do you think the new GM is going to sit back and let Ford dominate. Look for a new Camaro that will blow away the new Mustang. It's already doing that with the way it handles in spike of the many more HP the Mustang has. The Mustang is slower in the ring due to the Camaro's superior handling.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 8:51 AM, prginww wrote:

    The Mustang is a great car but the Camaro is just a little greater. Camaro is something new and fresh as where the Mustang is the same old same old! Plenty of room for both cars on the market.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 10:53 AM, prginww wrote:

    That car does not look like a camaro. In fact I have a hard time telling if an approaching car is a camaro or a charger. That's where the camaro has gone. Big, tall and ugly. That mustang is way more low and sleek then what the camaro has been recently.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 10:54 AM, prginww wrote:

    ps. they just need to make the butt come out toward the tire a little more.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 1:00 PM, prginww wrote:

    Camaro will not outrun the mustang. Camaro is overweight, charger & challenger even more so. And if u think gm is going to give the new camaro 450 HP + when they're encroaching on corvette you're crazy. If u look at the spy photos the mustang does not look nearly as radical as the artist rendering. The weight reductions will help meet CAFE regs. Camaro still looks like the toy from transformers.

  • Report this Comment On August 26, 2013, at 2:18 PM, prginww wrote:

    Picture is just an illustration of what writers believe to be the new mustang. I've driven Mustangs since 1972. I've seen pictures of the test mules in camoflauge and from what I've seen I'm happy that I bought a 2013 Mustang. The Mustang is an iconic symbol of America. If they're trying to appeal to the Europeans - Mustang sales will tank. I hope I'm wrong.

  • Report this Comment On August 27, 2013, at 1:58 PM, prginww wrote:

    There are a number of things that are forgotten in the recent sales picture between the two cars. The most important point is that GM created a huge empty pipeline of demand when killing the Camaro production in 2002 thru 2009. Seven years of demand was still present and needed to be filled when they resumed production. That in itself is what is driving the sales past the Mustang but only for the near term. Once the past demand is satisfied, the sales of the Camaro will once again decline behind the Mustang.

  • Report this Comment On November 09, 2013, at 1:58 PM, prginww wrote:

    Ford wants to complete world class with mustang...

    Good idea

    1. yes its too chubby target 2800 lbs

    2 bring back SVO designation. put it on 2.3 turbo

    3 go with IRS and get it right across the board.

    the first mustangs were smaller and light, mine was a 66, had 200 and Dagenham 4speed. it wasnt a drag car it was fun to drive. The early SVO's were the same. I'm not sayin kill the v8 just produce a lighter model that will fit into the autocross crowd and be affordable. With today tech motors dry sumps quality suspension kits should be looked at for options off the floor.

    Dry sumps also reduce engine height leading to better handling. lightness is always free horsepower. offering a unit with roll up windows and reduced electrical content will put mustangs on the track right after purchase rather than buying a new car and having to spend tons to take it autocrossing

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