May 2011 saw gas prices go over $4.00 a gallon in most parts of the United States. Some insurers offer special discounts for driving a hybrid car, and high-performance automobiles are generally more expensive to insure. Despite these factors, sales of muscle cars manufactured by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler outstripped hybrids during the month.
According to statistics compiled by Edmunds.com, the combined sales of three models – the Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger – bested the combined sales of all hybrid models offered in the United States during the month of May. Sales totals for those three models were 19,476, while the all hybrid models sold just 17,852.
For gearheads, this might be seen as a glimmer of hope that high-performance models are hear to stay. Unfortunately, much of the decline experienced in hybrid sales, particularly Japanese hybrids, which fell nearly 52-percent for the month, are directly related to the stalls in manufacturing related to the earthquake and resulting tsunami. There simply weren’t enough models on dealer lots.
American automakers have their own hybrid models as well. Ford makes a number of popular hybrid models, such as the Ford Fusion and Escape models. Despite their popularity, they sell nowhere near in the volume of their traditional variants. Ford sold a total of 23,140 Escapes in May, and only 1,118 were hybrid versions. That means hybrid versions accounted for less than five percent of the total sales of the Escape.
We’re huge gearheads, so we applaud this victory for Detroit, no matter how shallow it may be. We also applaud the strides manufacturers have made in improving both performance and fuel economy on their muscle cars. The Ford Mustang with a V6 produces more than 300 horsepower and still manages to get an EPA estimated 30 miles to the gallon in highway driving.