A record sales performance by the Dodge Challenger muscle car highlights an upbeat month for Chrysler Group LLC.

The auto maker delivered 3,713 Challengers in April, a 41.8% jump compared with like-2009, according to Ward’s data. More significantly, last month’s total bested the previous Challenger record of 3,364 in November 2008.

Asked to explain the car’s appeal, Susannah Guitierrez says matter-of-factly: “It’s a muscle car.” And muscle cars resonate in Guitierrez’s neighborhood. She is general sales manager, Dependable Dodge, Canoga Park, CA.

“There’s no other car that looks like it,” Guitierrez tells Ward’s, noting her customers – predictably – cross-shopped the Chevrolet Camaro while ignoring Ford Motor Co.’s offering.

“Mustang, no,” she says. “It’s Dodge against Chevy.”

Chrysler spokeswoman Kathy Graham says Challenger sales likely benefited from a promotion that promised buyers $2,000 in MOPAR accessories with every purchase. And accessorizing has significant appeal for Challenger buyers, Graham tells Ward’s.

However, in the American muscle car sales race, the Challenger is spinning its tires. The Camaro enjoyed its second-best month in April with 9,150 deliveries – just short of June 2009’s record of 9,320.

Compared with last April 2009, Mustang sales plunged 33.2% last month. But even that decline represents 5,145 deliveries.

The Challenger was among 15 Chrysler nameplates in positive sales territory as the auto maker chalked up 94,430 deliveries for a 24.9% hike from prior-year. But last month’s comparison benefits from a period when consumers were wary of Chrysler’s pending bankruptcy.

Just four months ago, Chrysler marked its worst annual sales performance in more than four decades when it delivered 931,402 vehicles, its first sub-million year since 1962.

The auto maker finished the month with 196,614 vehicles in its inventory, 41.6% lower than like-2009’s 336,913.

April’s car/truck inventory split was 41,204/155,410, Graham says.

emayne@wardsauto.com