The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have a rivalry as old as their existence, in which few (maybe even none) are as impassioned– at least here in the States.
Now, the classic American rivalry is beginning to heat up in the Chinese market. Since the introduction of the two competitors, customers have flocked to dealerships to purchase their own piece of American history.
It seems the Chinese car scene has always had a special interest in America’s automotive legends and history, much like people here in the States that are into the JDM history of touge and drifting. “We’re seeing the beginning of a muscle car culture here,” said James Chao, China automotive market analyst. “Chevrolet’s got an amazing history– a 100-year-old brand that’s been here for only a decade. They are fascinated by it.”
It started back in 2011, after the release of the popular Transformers movie and then upon the Chinese debut of the Chevrolet Camaro. Though Chevy took the lead, Ford jumped in full-swing in 2014 with the overhauled ‘Stang– which was previously completely off limits to the region.
“There’s 50 years of pent-up demand here we’ve never officially exploited,” said Dave Schoch, Ford Asia Pacific president. “The Mustang is an American icon. They respect it for what it is.”
In China, a brand new Camaro or Mustang will set you back about 399,000 yuan ($57,000 USD), more than double the entry level price here in the States. Of course, there’s the 25 percent import tariff and shipping fees to account for, too.
Though Chevy has only sold 2,000 units of their famed sports car since its debut, Ford says it has sold more than 6,200 Mustangs since 2015, with sales jumping 90 percent at the beginning of this year. While still only pushing small volume, the sales have been growing faster in China than anyone expected.
The clear win may be because, unlike the Mustang, the Camaro is only available in the 2.0 turbo four. That doesn’t stop the car enthusiasts from celebrating their recently available American sports cars, though– with one car club, “American Muscle Club of China,” boasting over 8,000 members.
“These people love American culture,” said one owner. Its a tradition.
Author: Jenna Schiebe