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Top Gear Muscle Car Shootout


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Across the pond reading the July issue of Top Gear magazine and they have a shootout among the Corvette Carbon, Camaro SS, Challenger SRT-8 392 and the Boss Mustang. Not a Shelby, but thought it may interest a few, especially in respect of the Camaro vs. Mustang wars, or if you are a Ford fan like me.

 

Conclusions were as follows:

 

Rolling through the tunnel onto the track the next day, there isn't much doubt in any of our minds which of the four wins here. The Vette, for all its brilliance, prices itself out of the ballpark. Muscle cars should be affordable brutes. Which leaves three.

 

The Camaro is a great modern representation of its storied forebears, but its cartoonish appearence and lack of driver feedback place it third. We hope the new ZL-1 is more involving. The Challenger, the most classically correct muscle car, takes the runner-up step for its gutsy engine, and road-owning presence. But, like the race that will be run in a couple of hours, it was always going to be the extraordinary Boss 302 Mustang which was going to win.

 

All the other cars here are good, but the sorted Stang is a new great, and close enough to worry the Vette. A Pony car has never been faster, handled better or felt as complete than this. Good work, Ford. Good work.

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Across the pond reading the July issue of Top Gear magazine and they have a shootout among the Corvette Carbon, Camaro SS, Challenger SRT-8 392 and the Boss Mustang. Not a Shelby, but thought it may interest a few, especially in respect of the Camaro vs. Mustang wars, or if you are a Ford fan like me.

 

Conclusions were as follows:

 

Rolling through the tunnel onto the track the next day, there isn't much doubt in any of our minds which of the four wins here. The Vette, for all its brilliance, prices itself out of the ballpark. Muscle cars should be affordable brutes. Which leaves three.

 

The Camaro is a great modern representation of its storied forebears, but its cartoonish appearence and lack of driver feedback place it third. We hope the new ZL-1 is more involving. The Challenger, the most classically correct muscle car, takes the runner-up step for its gutsy engine, and road-owning presence. But, like the race that will be run in a couple of hours, it was always going to be the extraordinary Boss 302 Mustang which was going to win.

 

All the other cars here are good, but the sorted Stang is a new great, and close enough to worry the Vette. A Pony car has never been faster, handled better or felt as complete than this. Good work, Ford. Good work.

 

Yaaaaaaaaaa Ford!

 

 

QSS

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calgaryshelby,

 

Interesting article... thanks for posting. The Blue Oval is really firing on all cylinders!

 

A vette has 2 seats.

 

By definition, "A sports car is a small, usually two seat automobile designed for high speed driving and maneuverability."

 

Not a muscle car.

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The ONLY problem facing the mustang is....Ford is building so damn few of them. I don't know what the reason is but it's been like this since the 5.0 returned.

You can't find them on dealer lots and you can't order them, and not just 5.0's. The V6 engine is in very short supply and most of those engines are going into the F-150.

The only mustang that seems fairly easy to find is the Shelby.

 

I don't know what bonehead at Ford is responsible for such low production but Ford is losing sales to GM because of it.

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Really?

 

 

Of course.

 

In the same way Mustang having a cheaper-quality to BMW 3 Series has nothing to do with Ford selling more Mustangs than BMW selling 3 Series.

 

People presume Ford's goal is to sell as MANY Mustangs as possible, rather than how much it makes from the Mustangs it sells. 5 years ago, they may have been right - but thank God that's not the case anymore. If pre-collapse Detroit proved anything, it's that people will buy just about anything if makers are willing to pay them enough to take it off their hands.

 

Ford owes as much of its resurgence to the number of cars it's NOT selling as to the improved products it IS making.

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Standard Boss

 

 

Awesome, Fords top corner carver is still in the reserve for the heavy hitters.

 

The ONLY problem facing the mustang is....Ford is building so damn few of them. I don't know what the reason is but it's been like this since the 5.0 returned.

You can't find them on dealer lots and you can't order them, and not just 5.0's. The V6 engine is in very short supply and most of those engines are going into the F-150.

The only mustang that seems fairly easy to find is the Shelby.

 

I don't know what bonehead at Ford is responsible for such low production but Ford is losing sales to GM because of it.

 

 

I don't have a problems with this. The stigma of the Musting will only become stronger. It is also nice to know the Camaro is considered second best since the unfortunate crowd is having difficulty getting a Mustang. Dime a Dozen is something I don't want.

 

Camaros on every corner...Unattractive. Mustangs on every corner...Still, Unattractive.

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A vette has 2 seats.

 

By definition, "A sports car is a small, usually two seat automobile designed for high speed driving and maneuverability."

 

Not a muscle car.

 

 

Did I miss something? Where does the OP mention "sports car"? Lighten-up, it's just an article... and we all know the vette is handicapped with only 2 seats. :hysterical:

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I love the part where the article says the vette prices itself out of range. Well duh! They use a limited edition car (250-300 build max) with mega carbon fiber component upgrades for their cost comparison and then complain about the price. :hysterical:

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Yea Mustang!happy%20feet.gif

 

Who gives a ____ over what you catagorize these cars.....muscle, sports....those lines are being blurred by the current MY Mustang...I dont think you can classify a BOSS S or a Laguna Seca as a "muscle" car OR a "sports" car....its a race car. They freakin dominate!happy%20feet.gif

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The ONLY problem facing the mustang is....Ford is building so damn few of them. I don't know what the reason is but it's been like this since the 5.0 returned.

You can't find them on dealer lots and you can't order them, and not just 5.0's. The V6 engine is in very short supply and most of those engines are going into the F-150.

The only mustang that seems fairly easy to find is the Shelby.

 

I don't know what bonehead at Ford is responsible for such low production but Ford is losing sales to GM because of it.

 

 

+1. I noticed that at a dealership nearby and was surprised at first. They often have 10 to 15 GT500s, but rarely do I see more than 4-5 5.0's. V6s also seem in short supply. Part of the reason may be that with the higher price tag, the Shelbys are staying on the dealer lot longer, but still, I agree that Ford is loosing sales because they give priority to the F150.

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but still, I agree that Ford is loosing sales because they give priority to the F150.

 

 

 

Again, if Ford is "losing" sales on vehicles they'd otherwise make very little selling for the sake of selling vehicles they make considerable profit selling, Ford's not losing-out at all.

 

And it's as simple as merely "making more" - even if there were a waiting buyer who wouldn't require an incentive for every car Ford produced. Makers are already having to do all SORTS of ridiculously stupid things to comply with the arbitrary CAFE fuel economy standards - which has already begun meaning leaving business on the table, for the sake of pursuing the business that's most worthwhile.

 

The first step was Ford offering MKZ Hybrid at the same price as the conventional version - to influence product mix and economy, and that's only just the beginning. BOSS 302's "TracKey" is offered as an aftermarket dealer option, so it can be given WITHOUT affecting the economy on the window sticker. If you want to see the craziest form of CAFE-induced stupidity, look at the Aston-Martin Cygnet - a rebadged Toyota IQ that AM will have to basically give away so it can continue selling DB9's and One Seven Sevens.

 

The net result is going to see makers selling far MORE econoboxes - so they can sell far more high performance cars, with the middle of the market disappearing altogether. Forget about what people would gladly pay for. Consumer demand isn't driving production - 5 EPA eggheads and sandal-wearing tree huggers are. And eventually, the only REWARDING cars to drive will be priced at a punitive premium to FURTHER influence product mix toward the fuel-sippers.

 

To reiterate my earlier statement, paying attention primarily to volume is absolutely meaningless - lest we forget how many billions were lost selling 17M cars in North America only a few years ago - and how much MORE profitable makers are barely breaking 12M. It's not about the number of sales - it's about the QUALITY of each sale, which is going to dictate which cars are produced, and which AREN'T, which will ultimately be FAR more meaningful than however-many of whatever whoever has sold.

 

Unfortunately, the consumer and dealer are vested in more, more and MORE! To dealers, no sale is a bad sale - if the system has excess inventory, the maker will eventually pay customers to buy them. Dealer profit varies VERY little - which is why so MANY clung to the myth that the key to Detroit's recovery is MORE stores, not less - because after all, each store was making a bloody killing - for itself.

 

On the up-side, makers (and Ford in particular) are aggressively attacking the front-end of the problem to get the supply chain right and force the rest of the system into compliance, redefining it as it goes. The end result will be even-fewer dealers - and the eventual decoupling of sales and service altogether, resulting in a MUCH healthier and MUCH better enterprise for both makers AND customers.

 

Ford has already begun a program of honoring incentives at the time of ordering - to further influence buying behavior in favor of ordering cars - rather than insisting buyers choose from the selection already in existence. And yes, at the end of the day, it's likely to mean that not every person who wants a cheap and cheerful Mustang may find a new car available - because Ford will be selling far MORE profitable units to the people who are willing to pay for them.

 

People forget just how drastically gross margins affect overall profit. For example, Ford reducing its per-vehicle incentive spend by only $500 per vehicle contributed almost $1B to its bottom-line profits. That's $1B in free money - or nearly the same profit from building 80% fewer cars requiring 80% of the resources, delivering a FAR better ROI. In years past, when Detroit was losing $1,000 per vehicle, the answer was just to keep building more.

 

Anybody who wants to REALLY understand how well Ford, Mustang, or any part of either is doing, pay attention to Ford's gross margins and net profit. Volume will soon become 5th or 6th on the list of important details - with Camaro mattering not at all.

 

P.S. With respect to F-150, Ford incentivized F-150 UP TO $3,000 and offered 2.9% to 7.9% financing in June to help offset fuel cost and economy concerns. By contrast, GM incentivized Sierra and its equivalents from $3,000 to $4,500, and offered 0% to 2.9% on each truck (which it has to subsidize from lenders without a captive finance arm of its own). Do the math and see which car maker is making hay - even if Ford has to steal away a few thousand V6 Mustangs to do so.

 

 

 

FYI - About the TG Article.... http://www.topgear.com/uk/photos/mutsang-boss-2011-05-04

Edited by Madlock
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Sounds like you're saying that the eggheads and tree huggers rather than innovation and marketing will dictate product brought to market. If the items are essentially fungible, then there are basically a couple of ways to make the same amount of profit - you either sell fewer items at higher profit or more items at lower profit. Comes down to philosophy. The one who decides on higher margin and less market share will have to monitor sales very carefully to ensure they don't become irrelevant.

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Sounds like you're saying that the eggheads and tree huggers rather than innovation and marketing will dictate product brought to market. If the items are essentially fungible, then there are basically a couple of ways to make the same amount of profit - you either sell fewer items at higher profit or more items at lower profit. Comes down to philosophy. The one who decides on higher margin and less market share will have to monitor sales very carefully to ensure they don't become irrelevant.

 

 

The even BIGGER mistake would be to ensure the two mitigating factors are fungible, because they must ALSO conform to the demands of what people will buy relative to what competitors may offer - whose profits may NOT be so heavily-leveraged in trucks, for example.

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Again, if Ford is "losing" sales on vehicles they'd otherwise make very little selling for the sake of selling vehicles they make considerable profit selling, Ford's not losing-out at all.

 

And it's as simple as merely "making more" - even if there were a waiting buyer who wouldn't require an incentive for every car Ford produced. Makers are already having to do all SORTS of ridiculously stupid things to comply with the arbitrary CAFE fuel economy standards - which has already begun meaning leaving business on the table, for the sake of pursuing the business that's most worthwhile.

 

The first step was Ford offering MKZ Hybrid at the same price as the conventional version - to influence product mix and economy, and that's only just the beginning. BOSS 302's "TracKey" is offered as an aftermarket dealer option, so it can be given WITHOUT affecting the economy on the window sticker. If you want to see the craziest form of CAFE-induced stupidity, look at the Aston-Martin Cygnet - a rebadged Toyota IQ that AM will have to basically give away so it can continue selling DB9's and One Seven Sevens.

 

The net result is going to see makers selling far MORE econoboxes - so they can sell far more high performance cars, with the middle of the market disappearing altogether. Forget about what people would gladly pay for. Consumer demand isn't driving production - 5 EPA eggheads and sandal-wearing tree huggers are. And eventually, the only REWARDING cars to drive will be priced at a punitive premium to FURTHER influence product mix toward the fuel-sippers.

 

To reiterate my earlier statement, paying attention primarily to volume is absolutely meaningless - lest we forget how many billions were lost selling 17M cars in North America only a few years ago - and how much MORE profitable makers are barely breaking 12M. It's not about the number of sales - it's about the QUALITY of each sale, which is going to dictate which cars are produced, and which AREN'T, which will ultimately be FAR more meaningful than however-many of whatever whoever has sold.

 

Unfortunately, the consumer and dealer are vested in more, more and MORE! To dealers, no sale is a bad sale - if the system has excess inventory, the maker will eventually pay customers to buy them. Dealer profit varies VERY little - which is why so MANY clung to the myth that the key to Detroit's recovery is MORE stores, not less - because after all, each store was making a bloody killing - for itself.

 

On the up-side, makers (and Ford in particular) are aggressively attacking the front-end of the problem to get the supply chain right and force the rest of the system into compliance, redefining it as it goes. The end result will be even-fewer dealers - and the eventual decoupling of sales and service altogether, resulting in a MUCH healthier and MUCH better enterprise for both makers AND customers.

 

Ford has already begun a program of honoring incentives at the time of ordering - to further influence buying behavior in favor of ordering cars - rather than insisting buyers choose from the selection already in existence. And yes, at the end of the day, it's likely to mean that not every person who wants a cheap and cheerful Mustang may find a new car available - because Ford will be selling far MORE profitable units to the people who are willing to pay for them.

 

People forget just how drastically gross margins affect overall profit. For example, Ford reducing its per-vehicle incentive spend by only $500 per vehicle contributed almost $1B to its bottom-line profits. That's $1B in free money - or nearly the same profit from building 80% fewer cars requiring 80% of the resources, delivering a FAR better ROI. In years past, when Detroit was losing $1,000 per vehicle, the answer was just to keep building more.

 

Anybody who wants to REALLY understand how well Ford, Mustang, or any part of either is doing, pay attention to Ford's gross margins and net profit. Volume will soon become 5th or 6th on the list of important details - with Camaro mattering not at all.

 

P.S. With respect to F-150, Ford incentivized F-150 UP TO $3,000 and offered 2.9% to 7.9% financing in June to help offset fuel cost and economy concerns. By contrast, GM incentivized Sierra and its equivalents from $3,000 to $4,500, and offered 0% to 2.9% on each truck (which it has to subsidize from lenders without a captive finance arm of its own). Do the math and see which car maker is making hay - even if Ford has to steal away a few thousand V6 Mustangs to do so.

 

 

 

FYI - About the TG Article.... http://www.topgear.com/uk/photos/mutsang-boss-2011-05-04

 

 

 

Excellent points and probably beyond the grasp of most of us who want to buy the car we want to buy and could give a rat's ass about Ford's profit margins. I'm finding it a bit hard to understand how Ford isn't getting much profit out of a loaded GT that sells in the high 30's?

But I can fully understand that the bean counters have figured that the pony car market isn't really all that big. The Focus is probably more important to Ford than the Mustang is.

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The even BIGGER mistake would be to ensure the two mitigating factors are fungible, because they must ALSO conform to the demands of what people will buy relative to what competitors may offer - whose profits may NOT be so heavily-leveraged in trucks, for example.

 

 

I'm having trouble making sense of what seems to be a series of disconnected ideas and non sequiturs, which is surprising since I graduated the sixth grade.

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The market currently speaks with a sharply different voice. Camaro is currently pounding the Mustang in sales.

 

 

 

Well, there are many car models that will outsell the mustang. So what? It's quality that counts. And, the new camaro is just that...'new'. When that wears off the 'stang will outsell it again.

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Well, there are many car models that will outsell the mustang. So what? It's quality that counts. And, the new camaro is just that...'new'. When that wears off the 'stang will outsell it again.

 

 

+1. The best car in a particular market segment is not necessarily the best seller in that segment. Several external elements (price, dealer network, brand loyalty, past reputation of a manufacturer in general or in a specific market segment, novelty aspect of the design etc.) can influance car sales. Those elements say noting about the intrinsic qualities of the car (driving dynamics, reliability, built quality, etc).

 

In the case of the Camaro vs Mustang, the fact that the Camaro is the newest design, combined with the long iatus from the previous generation to the the current one can certainly help explain why the Camaro currently outsells the Mustang. That being said most comparison test favor the Mustang over the Camaro, and the Mustang also does very well in quality studies (Camaro is just average).

 

http://www.jdpower.com/autos/ratings/quality-ratings-by-category/midsize-sporty/

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I'm finding it a bit hard to understand how Ford isn't getting much profit out of a loaded GT that sells in the high 30's?

 

 

But I can fully understand that the bean counters have figured that the pony car market isn't really all that big. The Focus is probably more important to Ford than the Mustang is.

 

 

That's truer than you think - because with each Focus it sells, it gains EPA headroom to sell more Mustang GT, GT500's, Explorers and F-150's - where they REALLY clean-up. Focus is likely to be profitable - primarily because Ford is ALSO limiting it's supply to ensure enough demand to keep people willing to pay a premium in its class.

 

The same is true of Fiesta. But at the end of the day, they're as much enablers of higher margin sales than profit centers unto themselves - thanks to the damned regulators. If Ford were to release its product mix mid-year, I think you'd find most of the lost (forgone) Mustang sales are V6 - and deliberately so.

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Another comparison, this time AmericanMuscle pits the Boss vs. the Camaro SS on the track - no contest:

 

http://www.mustangevolution.com/mustang-news/video-americanmuscle-com-track-rivalry-with-boss-302-and-camaro-ss/

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Another comparison, this time AmericanMuscle pits the Boss vs. the Camaro SS on the track - no contest:

 

http://www.mustangevolution.com/mustang-news/video-americanmuscle-com-track-rivalry-with-boss-302-and-camaro-ss/

 

 

 

Nice, thanks for posting.

 

It's gonna be fun when the ZL1 comes out. Chevy is chasing Ford but I think Ford will have something to stay ahead of them.

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Another comparison, this time AmericanMuscle pits the Boss vs. the Camaro SS on the track - no contest:

 

http://www.mustangevolution.com/mustang-news/video-americanmuscle-com-track-rivalry-with-boss-302-and-camaro-ss/

 

 

Nice find. I did find it interesting how the Camaro still smoked the Boss off the line given the power to weight ratio, even with the Boss's supposedly launch program with the red key. The Boss's superority was quite evident in the corners, however I would have liked to see more of the Camaro driving since the Boss driver was defininatly pushing it to make the back come out.

 

And still, the LS was not used. The big gun is yet to show. I wonder if the ZL1 will make the LS show it's stuff since I don't believe the ZL1 will make much of a showing against the remake of the SVT Cobra that is expected in a few...

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