SALES: Ford Mustang Production Halted as Sales Slow

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Ford "Ole Yeller" Mustang bred from Shelby GT350®

Everyone loves the Ford Mustang, but sales indicate otherwise. The Mustang saw a 32 percent sales dip for the month of September as Chevrolet Camaro sales surged. That dip led to Ford suspending Mustang production at its Flat Rock Assembly Plane for a full week.

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The plant makes both Ford Mustangs and Lincoln Continentals and employs 3,702 people. It will sit idle until October 17, but don’t worry about those employees losing a paycheck for the next week. Their labor agreement sees that they’ll still be paid during the shutdown.

Despite that huge September sales decline, Ford has still moved a large number of Mustangs so far this year. The number currently sits at 87,258 units, which beats the Camaro year-to-date. That’s a big number that shows the Mustang is still getting plenty of love, but it’s still a 9.3 percent decline from the same period last year.

Camaro is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a strong September that edged out the Mustang for the first time in about two years. The Camaro sold 6,577 units in September versus 6,429 for the Mustang. It was close, but a win is a win.

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The numbers are partly explained by a big difference in incentives. The average incentive on a Camaro last month tripled to $3,409 per car while the average Mustang was sold with only $2,602 in incentives. Anyone who was torn between the two cars had their deciscion made easier when it came down to the bottom line. This leaves Ford sitting on more inventory than it would like, so a week without production will help bring supply in line with current demand.

Ford had an 89-day supply of cars in September compared to a 71-day supply the prior month. Camaro, too, had an awful lot of cars on hand with a 139-day supply at the end of August. They managed to pare that down to 120 days, but that’s still more than is ideal.

The Mustang received a big redesign two years ago to mark its 50th anniversary. The redesign helped sales surge past Camaro to become the top-selling sports car in America. It’s Camaro’s turn to do the same, but the market has changed quite a bit since Mustang’s 50th.

That Camaro 50th-anniversary bump still doesn’t paint an entirely rosey picture for the car. Sales of 54,425 so far this year mark an 11 percent decrease compared to last year. The US auto market has been strong, but automakers aren’t posting the same huge increases and big sales numbers that they were a few months ago. Analysts think that last year’s record sales of 17.5 million units won’t be matched for 2016.