By on November 13, 2008

Motor Trend reports that the hot new convertible versions of the hot new Camaro and Challenger have been canceled, falling victim to GM and Chrysler’s new emergency-mode priorities. It seems the Challenger was not designed with a ragtop version in mind, and re-engineering the LX platform would simply cost more money than Cerberus wants to fork over. Meanwhile, GM is being characteristically disingenuous, claiming that the Camaro convertible is simply “on hold.” At this point, it’s safe to consider the whole Camaro project in limbo, as the hardtop doesn’t debut until the first quarter of next year. As fast as things are happening right now, don’t be surprised if GM goes down before a single Camaro hits the showroom floor. Or, if wishful thinking is your cup of Knob Creek, heed the words of MT who reckon “If GM’s situation improves, Chevrolet could return the Camaro convertible to its product plans for the 2011 model year, just in time to add a fresh new version of the car.” Or, as we are fond of saying around here, not. Meanwhile Ford dealers are cheering this news, after enduring a tough year of declining Mustang sales. As the old industry saying goes, a muscle car at the dealership is worth two being endlessly teased around the autoblogosphere.

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24 Comments on “Camaro, Challenger Convertibles Canceled...”


  • avatar
    Genegenie

    You’re slightly wrong about the Camaro convertible
    not making it past the model stage. A production version already went down the production line, it is a real car.

  • avatar
    Buick61

    The Challenger is only being a half tease. It’s in its second model year. The Camaro is the only one that exists only in press releases and canceled NBC Christian Slater TV shows.

  • avatar
    Pat Holliday

    To be fair, I don’t think the Challenger soft top was ever a go was it? Too expensive to re-engineer the car or something.

    Despite all the knocking, I’m starting to think the Challenger was one of Chrysler’s better ideas. It’s the only car that has caught the eye of the press over here (UK) lately – Top Gear were driving one the other night. Most seem ready to overlook its faults.

    Fat chance of that happening in a Compass or Nitro.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    I’ve seen a number of Challengers on the street, and the SE has even hit the newspaper ads.

    The Camaro convertible has been killed before, back in the late ’70s, maybe they’ll bring back the t-top version.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    My Own Worst Enemy got cancelled already, that was fast. I think there has only been 4 episodes, they sure don’t let TV shows get on their feet anymore. I thought it was going to last at least half a season, it’s not great but not horrible like Knight Rider. So much for being a Neilson family they cancel what I watch.

    Oh yeah the car look nice as drop tops too bad they wont see the light of day. The Camaro might not even make it into show rooms and if it does and they get bailout money it will be a short run the way the Democrats look like they want to run the industry from the Whitehouse.

  • avatar
    NickR

    In it’s first iteration, the Challenger never sold very many convertibles, so it’s being cancelled or ‘never was-ed’ is probably a wise move. As for the Camaro I wished GM would shut the hell up about this car entirely. Nero, fiddling, Rome, all that.

  • avatar
    Michael Ayoub

    I can imagine that, if GM really does fall down (I hope not), the Camaros that have been ordered already will become INSANE collector’s cars if they’re produced.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    Good!

    These aren’t what I consider ‘convertible’-type cars, even when economic times were better and people had money to throw around on such diversions.

  • avatar
    golf4me

    I don’t care so much about the convertible Camaro, I’m just wondering if the coupe is going to make it. I would suppose so, since the factory is probably essentially operational by now, tooling in place, some parts stocked, etc. I dunno, it’s going to be an interesting few weeks. I think GM will file as soon as it’s obvious they aren’t going to get help until it’s too late. I look for a C11 filing in about 2 weeks. Sooner the better, really.

  • avatar
    DweezilSFV

    NickR: Chrysler never sold many Challengers of any variety when they were new. Even the AMC javelin outsold the Challenger.

    I have never understood why they elected to exhume the name and the design when it didn’t set the world on fire saleswise the first time around.

  • avatar
    Usta Bee

    That’s actually a shame as the musclecar convertibles from the 1960′s on up are worth alot more as collectibles than the coupe versions. The most valuable are the Indy pacecar replicas.

    This is Challenger convertible’s moment of infamy:

  • avatar
    casper00

    with the economy going downhill, I’m not surprise that the convertible models are cancel. Think about it, why would a car manufacturer brings out another model version when it’s already struggling with the base models….

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    A question is: why would car manufacturers having so much trouble devote any money to niche models that won’t save their bacon because they won’t sell in significant numbers? And then make convertible versions? Proof of incurable dumbness. Did the Avanti save Studebaker? Did the latest Thunderbird help Ford? Did niche models ever save a troubled mass car manufacturer?

  • avatar

    Everybody at 5thgen.org is in denial about GM’s troubles. That is all.

  • avatar
    97escort

    Muscle cars are dinosaurs from a previous automotive age. The decision for build these antiques shows the incompetence of 2.8 management.

    While they may have value to collectors, they are not a good product basis for automakers as shown by the accelerating 2.8 decline since their reintroduction.

    If the money spent on them had be used for Prius type cars instead, the 2.8 might not find themselves in the fix they are in now. But the die is cast and it is too late.

    The new muscle cars will end up as some of the most valuable collector antiques ever when their makers cease production due to bankruptcy restructuring. They will be like the Studebaker Avanti only behind the times instead of ahead.

  • avatar
    fallout11

    As most have said before (myself included):
    Rule number one for running a successful automobile company – Never build overpriced, exotic, niche, one-off, dead-end products that never evolve, update, or improve. There’s no economy of scale, little part/platform sharing, and few customers. After an initial burst of interest the vehicles fall like a rock in both resale value and sales.
    Even the transplants make this mistake occasionally, but never to the degree seen with the Detroit 2.5.
    Build mainstream vehicles for mainstream customers, or become a niche player…..exactly what has happened.

  • avatar

    97escort,

    Come on, automakers have to build something that’s fun to drive, right?

    fallout11,

    Doesn’t the Mustang sell at least 100K units a year? And I wouldn’t say that the Mustang never evolves…

  • avatar
    NickR

    DweezilSFV :

    I have never understood why they elected to exhume the name and the design when it didn’t set the world on fire saleswise the first time around.

    Looking at the industries I have worked in over the years, which is quite a few, I’ve come to the realization that a) companies have a terrible habit of engaging in monkey-see, monkey-do behaviour. My former industry, pharmaceuticals, were complete and utter lemmings when it came to sales and marketing, and b) companies vastly overrate the value of ‘buzz’, or rather the ability of buzz to compensate for painful reality. Buzz can carry the day in the entertainment industry but very seldom does it do so in other industries.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    When I was a kid, I worked at Crothers (Caterpillar) in Toronto. I distinctly recall that whenever a new top-end model was announced by any of the Big 3, the Crothers executives spent all their time pressuring their local Big 3 dealerships to be the first executives to own the latest luxury car. I suppose it was like hunting, and they seemed to be happy to pay anything and go to any lengths to prove their mettle by getting their hands on the cars before anyone else. It seemed rather juvenile.

    Similarly, NickR brought up a aspect of the mess the Big 3 find themselves in. The Big 3′s executives seem interested in promoting models that express what they personally think will impress their peers. Whereas the execs at the import brands seemed to focus on making cars that people really want, and making those cars as good as they could make them.

    The Big 3 tried to compensate for making undesirable cars by bombarding the public with marketing to convince everyone to buy their, um, things. In the long run, it just doesn’t work as well as marketing things people DO want.

    We have an internal buy/sell online service at work. This appeared today:
    450 HP!!! Limited Edition 2009 Dodge Challenger SRT-8 black on black fully loaded 6.1L Hemi. with 22″ aftermarket chrome rims. (Navigation, DVD, alpine sound system) Near new condition…under 1500 kms!!!! Local car, one owner. $87,888.00 (No test pilots, serious enquiries only)

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    They’re still showing pics of the Camaro ‘vert in the magazines. I think R&T has one this month or last testing in Oz. I don’t think GM’s going to give up on the Camaro yet, maybe just a delay. I guess we’ll see.

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Redbarchetta :
    November 13th, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    My Own Worst Enemy got cancelled already, that was fast. I think there has only been 4 episodes, they sure don’t let TV shows get on their feet anymore. I thought it was going to last at least half a season, it’s not great but not horrible like Knight Rider. So much for being a Neilson family they cancel what I watch.

    My Own Worse Enemy made it to nine episodes. iTunes has it… great show! I can’t believe where NBC left it off at! They should have finished the show… put an ending to it as they didn’t. I hate them for it. But still worth watching the nine episodes and it would be nice for another network to pick it up as it’s like canceling 24 in the middle of it’s first season. Really!

  • avatar
    Airhen

    Also… I wish I could put an SRT Challenger in a garage and keep it safe for 20 years (plus a convertible!). People may think mainstream vehicles are the safe bet which sure they are, but those cars end up in junk yards in ten or so years, where niche cars end up loved, worshiped, and sometimes even priceless, not to mention the positive aspects of branding it creates.

    For example a stock Civic in 28 years will never get you asked to show it off at a new car show, like the 1970 Challenger in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INiw9I1Rtmg

  • avatar
    mikey

    Yesterday Camaros went into production right?
    Wrong!System fill started in early Feb.To avoid mistakes the ramp up has been very slow.I saw a pilot rag top,it was actually topless,but the dies have been made,I think.

    I left the plant in Dec,never to return.But talking to folks in stamping,Camaro body side runs are 1000 at a time.Thats a lot of Camaros!

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Muscle cars are dinosaurs from a previous automotive age. The decision for build these antiques shows the incompetence of 2.8 management…

    Couldn’t agree LESS. These cars were not meant to be the saviors of the company. They are just part of what should be a well rounded portfolio of vehicles. The problem is that much of the rest of the portfolio is lacking.

    If the convertible is near ready, do it. The Z28 is done; you’re not going to get anything out of the R&D if you don’t build anything.


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