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Challenger races to pony car lead

by Bill Cawthon on

They are ice skating in Hades again. In a repeat of June 2017, the Dodge Challenger was the best-selling muscle car in August. This time, the advantage was enough to move the Challenger past the Chevrolet Camaro in total sales for the year.

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While the Ford Mustang took the top spot in July, the Camaro has been in third place since the end of May. What was a 2,571-unit year-to-date (YTD) lead for the Camaro has become a 1,199-unit deficit. Ford still owns the top spot in the YTD total, with about 38% of total deliveries.

The Challenger is also the only muscle car to grow in a niche that accounted for about 3.3% of total August passenger car-sales. After eight months in 2017, Mustang sales have tanked, down 30%, while Camaro sales are off about 3%.

The Dodge Charger squeaked past a 66% surge in sales of the Chevrolet Impala to remain the top full-size car in August. The Dodge, with sales up 11%, finished the month 117 deliveries ahead of the Chevy. Year-to-date, the Charger still has a commanding 14,352-unit lead among the mainstream brands.

While Toyota delivered more crossovers and SUVs than Jeep, and GM’s utility sales rose by nearly 28%, FCA still has the lead in total crossover/SUV deliveries for the eight months that ended on August 31. FCA is going to need to perk up its turnover in the Jeep brand and see if they can’t mend the hole in Dodge Journey sales to keep that lead in the last four months of 2017.

The Dodge Grand Caravan dominated minivans last month, capturing 36% all of sales. Combined totals for the Grand Caravan, Chrysler Pacifica, and the remaining Chrysler Town & Country accounted for 52% of minivan and MPVs turnover. The Grand Caravan is the first and, so far, only, minivan to break the 100,000-unit mark. Production is reportedly pausing while the 2018s are  being tooled up, but there are at least two months of Caravans still in inventory to take up the slack.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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