According to Ford Performance director Dave Pericak speaking to Automotive News, "Performance vehicle sales around the world continue to grow – with sales up 70 percent in the United States and 14 percent in Europe since 2009." Automakers love this popularity because the sporty models create a perfect storm to make big money on each sale.
One reason for the strong margins is that performance vehicles are generally based on existing models or platforms. That keeps development costs lower and allows for a focus on tech like turbocharging or light-weighting to subsidize investments for future products. When it comes time to arrive in the showroom, automakers can load them with equipment, according to Automotive News. With transaction prices already growing thanks to longer loans, buyers have been willing to pay more as of late, as well.
The customers in the segment also tend to be younger and more affluent. For example, 30 percent of customers for Ford's ST models have a household income over $100,000 and Millennials buy them twice as much as other products from the brand, according to Automotive News. Despite popular myths, young people still like to drive, which could mean possible return customers.
The performance trend certainly isn't on the wane yet. In fact, vehicles like the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Focus RS and Fiat 124 Spider show more fun is on the way.