"Frankly, they've been eating our lunch," said Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer of the Camaro, said of the Mustang, in particular, speaking with Automotive News. "The low [transaction prices] of a four-cylinder ... that's where the bulk of the sales are and that's where our pricing strategy needed improvement. We plan to go head to head — and win.”
According to the publication, Camaro sales are down 28 percent so far this year, selling just 29,551 examples through July. Ford sold 48,362 Mustangs during the same period. From 2010 to 2014, Camaro sales dominated the Mustang. However, since 2015, when Ford introduced an all-new Mustang, the Camaro has struggled to beat Mustang sales. In 2015, Ford sold 122,349 Mustangs – up nearly 40,000 over 2014 – compared to just 77,502 Camaros the same year.
The Mustang GT and Camaro SS are stars of both respective models, but they’re not the top-selling trim. Many people want the style without the added cost of owning a V8 – insurance, retail price, and gas. And this is an area where the Mustang has excelled – offering sporty performance at an affordable price – the sub-$30,000 range.
"What's happening in the sport car segment, there's a lot more volume in the low-to-mid part of the market," Steve Majoros, Chevy's marketing director for cars and crossovers, told Automotive News. "We do a phenomenal job with our loaded SS's, and it's great business for us, but the reality is there's an awful lot of people who just want a great looking sports car somewhere in that $30,000 range, and that's what we're going to deliver."
Price isn’t the Camaro’s only issue. Poor outward visibility and polarizing styling could be factors in it’s declining sales, and a lower price may not instantly rejuvenate sales as the automaker hopes.
"It doesn't hurt to have a lot of value for the money," Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Autotrader and Kelley Blue Book, told the publication. "I just wonder if that alone is the real stumbling block.”
If capitalism proves anything, competition is good for consumers, and a cheaper Camaro with more performance sounds like a win.