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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

Battle between Mustang and Camaro heats up

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Battle between Mustang and Camaro heats up

BY MARK PHELAN

FREE PRESS AUTO CRITIC

It’s Camaro versus Mustang, and the fight is on like Beatles versus Stones.

But unlike the tired brouhahas the baby boom insists on revisiting — do we rally need to debate Vietnam, women’s rights or the Voting Rights Act ever again? — the pony car battle is as relevant as last month’s sales report and Ford and GM’s next quarterly earnings. Thoroughly modern versions of the two ’60s icons are selling fast and fueling optimism at the automakers.

It might as well be the summer of love again. The Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro have fired the imaginations of drivers, and car buffs are partying like it’s 1968.

Except that there’s nothing retro about Detroit and Dearborn’s 21st-Century sport coupes. The Camaro and Mustang bristle with new technologies from voice-recognition to direct injection. They have more power and better fuel economy than sophisticated European sport coupes like the BMW 335ci and cost about $20,000 less.

That has led to a sales surge and old-style Ford versus Chevy chest pounding. The Camaro outsold the Mustang by 7,777 cars for the first four months of this year. The last time Camaro outsold Mustang for a full year was 1985.

Ford is fighting back. The 2011 Mustang just went on sale with new engines and transmissions, including a brand-new 412-horsepower V8 and a 307-horsepower V6 that gets an eye-popping 31 m.p.g. on the highway.

The Mustang outsold the Camaro by 1,294 cars last month.

Chevrolet will counter with at least two new Camaro models next year: a convertible and a high-performance model that revives the hallowed Z28 badge.

The fight is on, with no sign it’ll end soon.

link:

http://www.freep.com/article/20100603/COL14/100603060/1210/BUSINESS01/Camaro-Mustang-battle-heats-up

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