Overall sports car market not recovering, but domestic pony cars strong

Dec 15, 2010

Although overall car sales are trending upward, the sports car segment has seen no such recovery. Data collected by Edmunds.com shows that the sports car segment is experiencing even slower sales than the bleak numbers recorded in 2009.

This year, sports cars have made up about 2.9% of all car sales, down from its recent high of 3.1% in 2002.

However, some sports cars from the domestic automakers are bucking the declining trends.  Dodge Challenger sales have made a 43.5% gain through November compared with the same period last year. Chevrolet Camaro sales are up 39.9% in the same period. Sales of the 2011 Ford Mustang were up 13.6% through November compared to the same time period last year, and sales of that vehicle should continue to improve now that the redesigned model is widely available.

“While the domestic ‘pony cars’ are bucking the strong downward trend, the other sports cars continue to endure significant declines,” said Bill Visnic, Sr. Analyst at Edmunds.com. The Mazda RX-8 has seen a 50.3% drop from 2009, while the Mitsubishi Eclipse is down 52.8%, and 60.9% for the coupe and Spyder models respectively.

“Even the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which many consider the bellwether of the sports car market, can’t regain its footing,” said Visnic, who noted that sales were down 19.3% through November compared to the same time period last year and are projected to be down 32 percent from 2005 sales at this year’s end.

The Chevrolet Corvette is also suffering, having experienced a 9.7% drop in sales through November compared to the first 11 months of 2009. “While that may not seem like a huge drop, last year was Corvette’s worst sales year since 1961,” noted Visnic.