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Will Ford's Risky New 2015 Mustang Decimate Chevy's Camaro?

By Katie Spence – Feb 22, 2014 at 10:00AM

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Ford’s Mustang underwent a complete redesign. Will it be enough to beat Chevy’s Camaro sales?

Ford's 2015 Mustang. Photo: Ford. 

General Motors' (GM 0.87%) Chevy Camaro is an iconic American muscle car. So is Ford Motor's (F 0.36%) Mustang. Moreover, the two are rivals when it comes to sales. But which one is better? More importantly, will Ford's 2015 Mustang and Chevy's 2014 Camaro drives sales for their respective companies?

The 2014 Camaro
With a starting MSRP of $23,555, the base Camaro has a 3.6-liter V6 that produces 323 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The Camaro goes 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds and gets an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 30 mpg. The 2014 styling is not significantly different from recent Camaro models, but both the front and rear fasciae got an update, making the Camaro appear wider and lower. Additionally, General Motors says, "New design cues represent a laser-like commitment to style and performance."  

2014 Camaro 1LS Coupe shown with accessory front splitter and rear blade spoiler. Photo: General Motors.

That's all well and good, but the real question is, will it sell? According to Good Car Bad Car, in 2011, U.S. Camaro sales totaled 88,249 units. In 2012, that number dropped to 84,391. In 2013, total U.S. Camaro sales were 80,567, and 2014 isn't starting any better, with 4,733 units sold in January, compared with 4,925 for the same time last year -- not exactly great news for Camaro fans. Still, the 2014 model has yet to hit showrooms. So lets see what it'll face in its biggest rival, the Mustang.

The 2015 Ford Mustang
So far, Ford hasn't released an official starting MSRP for the 2015 Mustang. However, the 2014 Mustang has a starting MSRP of $22,510, and it's unlikely that the 2015 model will be significantly higher. But here's what we do know about the 2015 Mustang.

2015 Ford Mustang interior. Photo: Ford.

Next year is the Mustang's 50th anniversary, and Ford is marking that milestone with a complete redesign. While still recognizable as a Mustang, the 2015 model is definitely sleeker and lower, and the rear track is 3 inches wider. Further, the base Mustang sports a 3.7-liter V6, which produces 300 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque. More notably, the 2015 Mustang is getting a fully independent rear suspension, and for those who want it, there's an available 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine, which Ford says will produce upwards of 305 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque.

In addition, Ford upgraded the Mustang's tech to include keyless entry, available Blind Spot Information System, and available SYNC with MyFord Touch. Sounds good, right? Of course, like the Camaro, the real question is still, will it sell?

According to Good Car Bad Car, in 2011, Ford sold 70,438 Mustangs in the United States. That increased to 82,995 for 2012 but decreased to 77,186 in 2013. However, the good news is 2014 started off better than 2013, and in January, Ford sold 3,881 Mustangs, compared with 3,608 for the same time last year. 

What this means going forward
Over the past few years, Chevy's Camaro has outsold Ford's Mustang, but with a complete redesign for the 2015 Mustang, and a relatively unchanged 2014 Camaro, that could change. True, Ford took some risks when it redesigned the Mustang, and arguably one of the bigger risks was the independent rear suspension. Still, Ford argues that this will improve driving dynamics. Plus, at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show, Ford's 2015 Mustang was voted best all-new production vehicle.

Beyond how each muscle car performs against its competition, investors would do well to monitor declining sales. Neither the Mustang nor the Camaro fared well over the past few years, and that's never a good sign. Will the 2015 Ford Mustang and 2014 Chevy Camaro help their respective companies? Possibly, but we'll have to wait and see.

Katie Spence has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors and owns shares of Ford. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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