Chevrolet and Ford are reaping the benefits of introducing their most iconic nameplates to the Chinese market. A long-standing American rivalry is becoming more and more prominent, that is Camaro vs Mustang.
The Chinese are taking part in the movement after decades of watching the vehicles duke it out across the Pacific Ocean, according to Automotive News. Since the Mustang and Camaro’s introduction, buyers have flocked to showrooms to purchase their own slice of American history. And it isn’t just the cars, the Chinese love the culture, too.
At a Chinese Mustang Club meet, classic tracks like “Surfin USA,” “Ring of Fire” mix with the sound of V8 engines, while attendees dress in leather jackets, American flag t-shirts and jeans.
Chevrolet’s global brand chief, Alan Batey, reiterates the market isn’t huge in the country, but the Camaro does a particular job at telling the brand’s history.
“I don’t believe the muscle car segment is going to be a leading segment in China, nor do I believe full-sized pickups are going to be a huge segment,” he said. “What they’re doing is telling the story of the brands. Chevrolet’s got an amazing history, a 100-year-old brand that’s been here for only a decade, that people don’t even know about. But they are fascinated by it.”
The cars have unexpected benefits, too. Buyers trickle into showrooms, allured by the “halo” vehicles like the Camaro and Mustang and go home with it or another vehicle to be a part of something more aspirational.
“I really wanted to buy the Mondeo,” a Chinese Mustang enthusiast said of the pedestrian four-door family car. “But when I saw the Mustang, it was love at first sight. I had to buy it. And I will drive it forever.”
Stepping into a Camaro or Mustang isn’t exactly cheap in the country. Unlike the U.S., which offers a variety of options and trims, the Camaro is sold in one top-level trim with a 2.0-liter LTG turbocharged 4-cylinder, totaling in at $58,000; the Mustang is about $15 less expensive.
Still, it hasn’t stopped Chinese consumers from participating in a tradition we hope never fizzles out.