US imports: With American cult cars through the crisis


With American cult cars through the crisis

US imports: With American cult cars through the crisis-crisis

A grim look as a trademark: the Dodge Challenger does not reveal itself as an honest man. In Germany, the imported car is available from just under 30,000 euros.

Source: dpa-tmn / DPA

Huge off-road vehicles, boring limousines, traditional pick-ups or huge vans – the model range of the American manufacturers is currently not really exciting. They are therefore struggling with falling sales figures not only in the USA, but also in Europe. But a few models give hope.

D.he new editions of the so-called muscle cars, which played a similar role in the USA as our Opel Manta or VW Golf GTI, are very popular. Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and Chevrolet Camaro hold up the stars and stripes: "We save ourselves through the crisis with cult," says Dieter Thiel, head of in Wuppertal, and swears by the US powerhouse. "This means that business runs really well even in difficult times."

The youngest of these is the Chevrolet Camaro, which is available in Germany at prices from around 33,000 euros as a V6 model with 3.6 liters displacement and 304 hp and as a 6.2 liter V8 with 400 hp or 426 hp. According to importer Karl Geiger, the coupe is doing so well "that we cannot bring enough of it into the country".

The Mustang, which Ford revised in the spring, is also still very popular. Available as a coupe or convertible, it is also available for around 30,000 euros as a V6 with 210 hp or as a V8 with 315 hp and soon again as a tuned Shelby model.

Third in the league is the Dodge Challenger, which has been available since autumn 2008 and is available for just under 30,000 euros. It is available as a V6 with 3.5 liters displacement and 250 PS, as a 5.7 liter V8 with 370 PS or – if already, because already – as a tuned SRT-8 and then 6.1 liters and 431 PS.

But it’s not just muscle cars that are still making friends in Germany, says Munich importer Karl Geiger: "Everything that is cool and is not officially offered here has a market here, regardless of the crisis and economic situation." also apply to the idiosyncratic Ford Flex, which looks a bit like the combination of Mini Clubman and Range Rover Sport. With V6 engines and, on request, with all-wheel drive, it is available from independent importers in Germany from around 35,000 euros.

Even the lobster, branded as a climate sinner, still has its fans. But with the imminent sale of the brand to the Chinese, things are currently looking bad with new supplies, says Geiger. To be on the safe side, he quickly launched the special H2 “Latte Macchiato” model: At least 180,000 euros expensive and with a supercharged 547 hp, the giant sparkles on its chrome-plated 30-inch wheels like a diamond in the sun. “That’s my reference to the lobster", says Geiger. "The best for last."

The official importers also benefit from the flash in the pan of American cult cars. It is true that Dodge and Ford still cannot imagine a European version of the Challenger and Mustang. But Chevrolet Germany boss Jurgen Keller is hoping for an image boost and promises: "The Camaro will definitely come to us." Probably not until next year. The brand has therefore not yet given any prices.

Completely unaffected by the crisis, the Corvette is apparently also being sold. A restructuring of the sales network does not make sales any easier. “But we haven’t noticed any demand,” analyzes Patrick Herrmann, who looks after the US sports car from Opel in Russelsheim. “We even have waiting lists at the moment,” he says, referring to the new ZR-1 sports model, which has just started being delivered.

With 647 hp, the carbon and aluminum flounder, which costs 135,990 euros, is the “most powerful Corvette of all time” and is correspondingly brisk: it accelerates to 100 km / h in 3.6 seconds, and the propulsion only comes to an end at 330 km / h.

Because there will only be 50 cars in Europe this year and 100 to 150 cars in the next, the temptation to import the car from the USA is growing. Especially since the ZR-1 only costs a little more than half as much there. “But I can’t recommend that,” says Herrmann, referring to a different setup of chassis, engine electronics and exhaust for the export models.

However, not all importers exercise as much optimism as Geiger or Thiel: Harald Schafer from the US importer American Cars & Trucks in Radevormwald (North Rhine-Westphalia) finds the current cult cars in the USA so expensive and the mood so bad that it does Customers are in the mood to buy: "There is a dance of death here."

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