Reading the comments on the FP on the 2018 Mustang power figures, I saw a comment that got me thinking; and I like those comments that get me thinking, so I wanna know what you all think.
Here’s the comment by XYCromersome:
I was reading about how the Ecoboost was going to start in the 27k range, as the base model, and now I’m thinking...are we at the end of the affordable Pony car? With all the features, tech and performance going into even base model American sports cars, are they officially going to be out of the hands of the people they are designed to appeal to? Are they going to build a sports coupe UNDER the Mustang/Camaro now that they are all around 30k which even now is ALOT of money? Are we going to get a Mustang “LX” i.e. motor & safety but NOTHING else?
And ya know, he’s got a point. If it’s true that the Ecoboost is gonna start at $27k, that is a chunk of change presumably with no options. My Ecoboost with Recaros, performance package and enhanced security was at $29k.
The current base GT is at about $33k, and fully loaded, they can get into the $40s easily. So with all this new tech (magneride, digital dash, and all the other new tech coming with the 2018MY), are we gonna see non-top performance model ponycars hit the $50k mark?
The 2018 Camaro isn’t that far off either. Chevy does offer a “stripper model” of sorts in the 1LS which has the 2.0T and a manual for $26k. The 1SS starts at $37,995, and the 2SS starts at $42,995 without options! My spec’d 2SS for example (I would never go fully loaded but again, example), with the options you see already gets up to $51k, and I didn’t even go for all the optional tech!
It’s not like they don’t offer affordable ponycars anymore (Boostang, 2.0T Camaro, Pentastar and arguably 5.7 Challengers/Chargers that can be had for mid $20s -> low/mid $30s) but once you start getting into options (and I don’t believe the largest portion are from special order cars like mine) and my assumption that most dealers typically order fully loaded models as a primary seller.
Of course, we can think of all the used performance cars and dream machines (Corvettes/ GT500s/ Boss 302s/ ZL1s/ 911s/ ect.) that can be had for that same amount and for those that aren’t picky or against used cars, it’s vast. But we’re not seeing the end of the affordable performance ponycar or affordable ponycar...
We’re seeing the end of the affordable NEW V8 ponycar. If it wasn’t for the fact that these cars can’t be thought of or disassociated with V8s, then it wouldn’t be difficult to say that affordable ponycars still exist and can be had off lots, and it’s not like today’s crop of V6s and 4 cylinders suck. They’re matching the outputs and even more of the regular V8s of the last two decades, and then when you add more gas to the fire, some are even matching V8s from the last 5 years (whether or not it’s reliable is another question/YMMV). So there are plenty of affordable ponycars, they just don’t come with V8s.
And to be fair, these new cars are still offering performance at a lower price than their European contemporaries; whether or not the closing of the price gap is good or bad is another question and a good debate.
And there are plenty of used V8 ponycars that are plenty affordable because depreciation is a car enthusiast’s BFF unlike the 10mm socket. There are options! And even then, these cars will depreciate like the old ones did, eventually.
But you have to wonder if we’re gonna have a repeat of ‘71-73 when Iaccoca said: “The Mustang market never left us. We left it.”
tl;dr (The ponycar isn’t leaving the market it was designed for, the engine type that became synonymous with them is leaving the market)