As Sales For Muscle Cars Pull Back, The Challenger Has A Silver Lining

Dodge Power Dollars Challenger RT Scat Pack
Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack 1320 Edition.

Sales results for the American muscle car/pony car are in for the first half of 2019, and the results are shaky. In third place currently is the Chevrolet Camaro, with 24,516 deliveries. That’s down 3.4 percent compared to the same time a year ago. At the top (again) is the venerable Ford Mustang, with 38,542 deliveries, which is down a more volatile 9.2 percent. In the middle is the Dodge Challenger, with 28,668 units delivered. That’s down a full 23 percent from a year ago.

So it goes. As the entire auto industry faces a cyclical pullback in sales, it’s usually discretionary vehicles such as brand new performance cars that serve as the proverbial canaries in the coal mine. However, there’s a fair bit of positivity surrounding the Dodge Challenger, and it comes down to who is buying one.

“For the Challenger, it’s the youngest buyer in the segment, so there’s something to be said about that,” said Kevin Hellman, current brand manager for the Dodge Challenger, to MC&T. He’s also what you may refer to as a Millennial.

The leadership surrounding the Dodge Challenger is indeed youthful, and that may play a part as to why the Challenger has the youngest buyer in the segment. However, the median age Hellman is referring to is 51 years old.

51 is an age that may seem rather senior, but it’s all about perspective. Because according to research published by the Federal Reserve earlier this year, the average age of a new car or truck buyer has increased over the past decade, and is now around 53 years old. The central bank also noted that among new vehicles buyers, the age group made up of people 55 or older has a 15 percentage point increase since 2000. In short, new car buyers are getting older over time. But not for the Dodge Challenger.

The 50th anniversary for the Dodge Challenger is 2020 model year, so we’re looking forward to see what’s in store for what’s sure to be a special milestone for the nameplate.

Written by Manoli Katakis

Muscle Cars & Trucks was founded by Manoli Katakis - an automotive media veteran that has been covering the latest car news since 2009. His journalism has uncovered dozens of major product changes, updates, plans, and cancellations long before automakers were ready to make things official.

Some highlights over the years of his reporting include the uncovering of the Zora trademark before anybody else reported on the coming of a mid-engine Corvette, as well as the dead-accurate reporting of the coming of the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2, two years before it hit the market, and even before the debut of the concept vehicle. This type of reporting has immediately continued here, with reports of the original seventh-generation Camaro plans being shelved, as well as what's in store for the Chevrolet Silverado.

Some of his work can be found on massive automotive media outlets, such as Motor1. He also has been a guest on the 910AM Radio Station with Detroit News auto critic Henry Payne, as well as the enthusiast-oriented Camaro Show podcast.

Over the years, Manoli has interviewed various automotive industry titans, leaders, and people that make things happen otherwise. These include figureheads such as GM CEO Mary Barra, GM President Mark Reuss, automotive aftermarket icon Ken Lingenfelter, Dodge firebrand Tim Kuniskis, along with various chief engineers of vehicles such as the Ford F-150 & Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro & Corvette, and many more.

At MC&T, Manoli is taking his journalism expertise, deeply planted sources, driving abilities, and automotive industry knowledge to new levels, covering more vehicles and brands than ever before. This is the place where you will continue to read groundbreaking stories about American performance vehicles, pickup trucks, and sport utility vehicles. Here is where you’ll also read insights and quotes from various automotive subject matter experts on the latest relevant products, as well as some of the latest official news from their manufacturers.

Fun facts: he also once beat Corvette Racing driver Tommy Milner in an autocross with a Chevrolet Bolt EV. The biggest vehicle he’s ever driven is a John Deere mining truck. Besides a go-kart, the smallest vehicle he’s driven has been a Hyundai i10. He’s also spent time in the cockpit of various American performance vehicle icons, including the fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, Dodge Challenger Demon, and Ford Mustang GT350R. He has reviewed dozens of trucks, SUVs, and performance vehicles over the years.

One of his favorite new vehicles on the market today happens to be the Chevrolet Colorado ZR2 Bison. He is also a card carrying member of the Sports Car Club of America, and regularly participates in Detroit Region autocross events.

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