Ford Mustang still rules the pony car segment, but not by much.
Update: Added 2020 sales stats for the Ford Mustang.
To be fair towards the Chevrolet Camaro, 2020 was a tough year for everyone in the auto industry. We're starting to get a picture of that now, as automakers report fourth-quarter and overall 2020 sales results. Things weren't looking good for the Camaro before coronavirus struck the world, but there's no way to sugarcoat just how bad things are for Chevy's beloved pony car now.
Here it is, served straight up. Chevrolet sold just 29,775 Camaros in 2020. That's a whopping 38.3 percent drop from last year. Excluding discontinued models, it's the largest year-over-year decline in Chevy's lineup, and it's runner-up in the entire General Motors portfolio behind the Buick Encore, which fell 59.2 percent. To answer the inferred question from our headline, the tiny Chevrolet Spark garnered 33,478 sales – an increase of seven percent versus last year.
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Yes, buying habits in 2020 were far more focused on necessity as opposed to desire, but that alone doesn't explain the Camaro's freefall. The Dodge Challenger clocked 52,955 sales despite its design being more than a decade old. Compared to 2019, Challenger sales were off just 13 percent but to take it a step further, Challenger sales were up two percent in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Camaro's final quarter of 2020 showed a 34-percent drop. Ouch.
As for the class-leading Ford Mustang, it endures as the best-selling pony car in the US but the gap between it and Challenger isn't as large as you'd expect. Ford sold 61,090 'Stangs all total, just 8,135 more than the Challenger. It ended the year down 15.7 percent – far better than the Camaro but not quite as good as Dodge's aged muscle machine. Mustang's fourth-quarter performance made the difference, as sales dropped 21.4 percent for the period while Challenger sales climbed slightly. If Ford executives aren't at least a little concerned about Mustang's appeal to buyers at this point, they should be.
Gallery: 2020 Chevrolet Camaro
What does this mean for the Camaro's future? If there's any good news, it's that the Bow Tie pony improved on a 50 percent sales decline posted halfway through the year to finish at just 38.3 percent down. Additionally, a report after Christmas suggested Camaro production would continue through 2026, though it remains unconfirmed. For that matter, rumors from 2019 about Camaro's death in 2023 are still unconfirmed. Chevrolet executives are indeed very mum about its future.
COVID-19 took a toll on many new car sales. But with the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger weathering the storm considerably better, the pandemic can't explain a nearly 40 percent year-over-year decline. We dig the Camaro, and we love the old-school competition it brings with Ford and Dodge. But even the biggest Bow Tie fans must concede that, with sales figures like these, the writing is on the wall.