Far from being an endangered species, the American muscle car is in fine health and, according to new data from Experian.
Indeed, the muscle car is experiencing something of a renaissance, even as buyers turn their attention towards cars with a crossover aesthetic or with more environmentally sound credentials.
Demand for muscle cars — American cars that have a big engine at the front, room for four in the middle and power running to the rear wheels — is at its highest for a decade.
Data from Experian based on registrations, credit checks and financing options shows that muscle car registrations have grown by 35.4 percent between 2006 and 2015 and that the original pony car, the Ford Mustang, has galloped into the lead.
Over the past 12 months, 77 000 US consumers have snapped up a Mustang, but the Chevrolet Camaro isn’t far behind, clocking up 66 000 new requisitions over the same period. All the more impressive still is the fact that these sales happened despite an all-new sixth generation Camaro waiting in the wings — it was officially unveiled in May and will go on sale later this year.
In all, Experian tracked registrations of the six most popular muscle car nameplates — the Mustang, the Camaro, the Challenger, the Charger, the Corvette and the Viper — and found total sales of 281 000.
“While the growing popularity might run contrary to conventional wisdom, consumers are continuing to show their appreciation for a part of American history and not steering away from raw horsepower to focus solely on fuel efficiency,” said Brad Smith, Experian’s director of automotive statistics.
The third most popular muscle car in terms of sales is currently the Dodge Charger (55 000), closely followed by its two-door cousin, the Challenger (50 000 registrations). But even the comparatively exotic Chevrolet Corvette is performing incredibly well — 32 000 people bought one over the past 12 months.
And those buyers appear to be relatively young — they’re more likely to be under 40 than the average car-buyer. Owners are also more likely to be male and to live in a state where good weather is a given. Texans are the most likely to opt for a muscle car, followed by those from Oklahoma and Louisiana.