In the never-ending muscle car war between the Camaro and Mustang, Ford's V-6 model currently has the advantage, with better fuel economy and more horsepower for the 2011 model year than the 2010 Camaro. Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette marketing manager John Fitzpatrick hinted to us today that the entry-level Mustang's horsepower lead may be short-lived.
When specifications on the 2011 Mustang were released, after noting the startling fuel economy improvement of the V-6 car to 19/31 mpg city/highway, we found it amusing that the car's new 3.7-liter unit made exactly one horsepower more than the 3.6-liter, 304-horsepower V-6 Camaro.
We asked Fitzpatrick whether Chevrolet would respond to the numbers challenge (the 2010 Camaro V-8's 426 horsepower already trumps the 2011 Mustang's 412 horsepower) in the next couple years. He told us, "you might see it sooner than that," noting that details on the new 2011 Camaro will arrive in a few weeks.
"It's really great to see [Ford] stepping up their game," Fitzpatrick said, explaining that he believes Ford used the Camaro as a benchmark.
There's nothing like a little friendly competition between rival automakers, but last week, we told you about a report that suggested the Camaro could cause a little competition within Chevy ranks, taking buyers away from Corvette -- a vehicle that has seen dwinding sales over the course of 2009. Ward's Auto used its Web site metrics to assert that the Camaro is the Corvette's most cross-shopped competitor, but General Motors research shows a different conclusion. According to Fitzpatrick, less than 3 percent of Camaro sales were from those interested in the Corvette.
The Corvette is far from the only sporty two-door that saw diminished sales last year. "We are very much aware the car needs some refreshing," Fitzpatrick says. No doubt, GM is counting on special models like the Grand Sport and Z06 Carbon to help retain interest in the model.
GM believes the Camaro and Corvette cater to different types of customers. What's arguably more important is whether the Camaro will be capable of keeping its sales lead now that the 2011 Mustang is on the cusp of leveling the playing field in terms of power and fuel economy.