Back on April 17, 1964, the Ford Mustang was first introduced at the World’s Fair in New York. In the 57 years that have gone by since, Ford’s pony car has become one of the single most recognizable mainstays of the automotive world. The Mustang is an American icon, and belongs in Ford’s pantheon of great models alongside the Model T and the F-Series pickups. The upcoming anniversary of the Mustang’s launch isn’t the only reason Ford will have to celebrate this weekend however. That is because IHS Markit registration data confirms that the Ford Mustang was the world’s best-selling sports car for the second consecutive year in 2020. For those keeping score at home, this also marks the sixth-straight year of the pony car being the best-selling sports coupe on the market.
“Mustang enthusiasts love their performance cars, and they showed that yet again,” said Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer Hau Thai-Tang. “In a challenging
year for the entire auto industry because of the global pandemic, Mustang performed very well,
increasing its share in the global sports car segment.”
According to the data, the Ford Mustang led the sports car market in global sales with 80,577 units in 2020, representing 15.1 percent of the sports coupe market. That was up from 14.8 percent the year prior, despite the current global situation. The three largest states in the country were unsurprisingly the most popular markets for the pony car, with Texas recording 8,600 sales, California recording 6,200 sales, and Florida turning out 5,864 sales.
Ford says that this increase in market presence is the result of their high-performance Mustang variants, including the Bullitt, Shelby GT350, Shelby GT350R and Shelby GT500. That isn’t too surprising, considering how potent those offerings are. They also expect this trend to continue when the Ford Mustang Mach 1 joins the lineup in place of the GT350 twins. The limited-edition muscle car does offer a ton of on-track capability, but it also lacks the oh-so-special VooDoo V8 that powers these mighty Shelbys.
Of course the U.S. isn’t the only market where the Mustang is sold. Across the pond the Ford Mustang had quite a year as well. In Hungary sales were up 68.8 percent, the Netherlands were up 38.5 percent, Denmark was up 12.5 percent, the Czech Republic was up 5.6 percent, and Austria was up 4 percent over 2019.
It is hard to imagine that the Ford Motor Company knew what sort of hit they had on their hands 57 years ago. According to some newly released internal documents from 1962, the automaker believed they might sell 150,000 units per year after the 1964 debut. Much to their surprise, the “Special Falcon” as it was originally known internally sold over 1.4 million units through 1966. That’s quite a few more than the Corvair Monza it was designed to compete with. Of course we know now that the Mustang would spawn a whole new competitor from Chevrolet in the Camaro. Sadly for Chevy, the Ford Mustang outsells it nearly 2:1 these days. Then again, it outsells just about everything with two doors.
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It’s even worse for Camaro vs. its competition in 2021. The Camaro was out sold in the US by the Mustang by far more than 2: to 1 in Q1 2021; about 17,274 Mustangs to 7,089 Camaros sold. The ancient Dodge Challenger was much better than 2:1, as well; 15,096 Challengers to 7,089 Camaros.