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It’s Camaro vs. Mustang…even in China

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Few feuds are as fanatical as the Ford Mustang-Chevy Camaro throwdown, a decades-old emblem of American consumer demand for throttle power and driving freedom.

Now the quintessential American rivalry is taking root in China.

A growing cadre of hot-rodders here are enthralled with the U.S. cars, and Ford and Chevrolet are playing up their performance and iconic designs as the brands seek better traction in the world's biggest market.

Chevrolet upped the stakes last month by launching its sixth-generation Camaro. It goes up against the Mustang, which arrived here in 2015. Both cars were partly remade for overseas tastes as parent companies Ford Motor Co. and General Motors look to widen their international appeal.

But it is the no-apologies Americana aura exuded by both cars that is hooking their fans.

"We're seeing the beginning of a muscle car culture here," said James Chao, a China market auto analyst with IHS Markit. "Something that is uniquely American appeals to the Chinese consumer. The image that it relays to the automotive public is very positive."

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