US: report says muscle cars are fashionable once more image

After the fallout from the 2008 financial crisis, many detractors pointed out to the approaching extinction of muscle cars, a recent report showcases the resurgence of the American performance sector.

Who can argue today that muscle cars are not fashionable? Just take a look at the new generation Mustang – now 50 years old – or the sixth iteration of the Chevrolet Camaro. Or how about those blazing fast 707-hp Dodge Charger and Challenger Hellcat. Or the fact that Ford is for the first time going global with said pony car and even offers an official right-hand drive version? “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,” comments Brad Smith, director of automotive statistics at Experian Automotive, the firm that released the report on muscle cars.

Sales of the segment have jumped more than 35 percent over the past nine years, with Camaro’s 2009 relaunch making it the top-selling muscle car for half a decade – and Mustang only bested it this year thanks to the 50th anniversary generation. And the models are also used to sex-appeal their brands. “We don’t build Hellcats or Vipers for high volume. We build them as brand positioning statements,” says Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis. They certainly don’t need the added hype – the Hellcats are sold out already for model year 2015. And they also serve as an attraction for the next generation of buyers, who don’t look overly impressed with today’s crop of energy sipping alternative-power cars.