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Tighter emissions laws and fuel economy requirements don’t hinder sales of high-performance vehicles

The U.S. has outpaced global growth of high-performance vehicle sales since the recession in 2009 despite increasingly stringent emissions laws and fuel economy regulations.

“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,” said Dave Pericak, director of Ford Performance .

Demand for some vehicles is so white hot that automakers can’t keep up: Dodge recently announced it was suspending new orders for its 707-hp Challenger and Charger Hellcat models until it could validate orders and fulfill its backlog. And at the New York auto show, traditionally a bastion of luxury car reveals, automakers touted performance models in virtually every segment, from the affordable Ford Focus RS to the new McLaren 570S supercar.

It’s not just a desire for magazine covers and 0-to-60 bragging rights driving this trend; automakers and analysts say performance cars are good business. They offer fat profit margins and draw different, younger buyers who can spend more, and they cast a high-performance halo on an automaker’s more prosaic offerings.

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