The sales numbers are in for the first quarter of 2023 and, as has been the case for at least the past 5 years, the Ford Mustang beat the Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro in sales volume for the first three months of the year. This might come as a surprise to some, considering the fact that the Challenger has claimed the annual sales title for each of the past two years AND with the model entering its final year, it will be a big sales year for the Dodge muscle car. However, even though Dodge won the segment sales race each of the past two years, Ford led in sales through the first quarter.
Now, I imagine that some of you are reading this and wondering why Challenger sales aren’t booming with 2023 being the final model year. While 2023 models are being delivered, the brand got off to a bit of a late start with 2023 production and 2022 remaining inventory was low, so as production was ramping up during the first quarter, I expect to see Challenger sales volumes climb quickly over the next few months.
There will also be a spike of 3,000 units later this year, when production and deliveries of the 1,025-horsepower SRT Demon 170 begin, so the odds are very high that Challenger numbers will boom later in the year. In the meantime, the Mustang once again leads the segment sales race through the first quarter of 2023 as all three vehicles posted year-over-year sales growth.
Q1 2023 Sales
In the first quarter of 2023, Ford led the segment by selling 14,711 Mustangs, up slightly from the 13,986 units they sold during the first quarter of 2022. The Dodge Challenger was second in sales with 11,371 units, up from 11,124 during the same period last year. The Chevrolet Camaro posted the biggest growth during the first quarter of 2023 with 7,780 units, up from 6,710.
It should be noted that during the first quarter of 2023 that the Camaro will be discontinued after the 2024 model year, which should lead to an increase in sales over the next 18 months or so. At the same time, there don’t seem to be any changes planned for the final years, so the Chevy muscle car will likely limp its way to the grave with slightly higher sales numbers than the record-lows posted in past years.
Also, the refreshed 2024 Ford Mustang is on sale now and deliveries are slated to begin later this year, so the Mustang will also get a boost in sales. The question is whether the rush for the new Mustang will beat out the rush for the final units of the Hemi-powered Challenger, with those who want big power leaning in favor of the Dodge, since the “most powerful” 2024 Mustang is the Dark Horse with just 500 horsepower.
In short, the Ford Mustang is currently leading the muscle car segment in sales, but in each of the past two years, in which the Dodge Challenger won the annual title, the Mustang started at the head of the group that year, too.