It started as a flippant Twitter comment, in which GM Global Marketing Officer Joel Ewanick agreed to champion a return for the “El Camino” if 100,000 potential buyers raised their hands for it. Smelling an opportunity for some publicity, Jalopnik quickly picked up on the “challenge” and urged readers to leave a comment in support of the trucklet. At first Ewanick tried to hedge, saying he needed 100k deposits, rather than blog comments, to approve an El Camino for the US market. But now the former Hyundai marketer has taken Jalopnik’s challenge to Chevy’s Facebook page, giving a surprising amount of credibility for a “challenge” that began with a throwaway tweet. What makes Chevy’s endorsement of the “El Camino Challenge” even more surprising: the total lack of apparent enthusiasm.
According to the most recent update at Jalopnik’s post, only about 3,800 El Camino fans have taken the time to voice their support (although more have reportedly raised their hands on Facebook). Since we can’t independently verify the current count, we’ll refrain from reading too much into what appears to be a fairly disappointing response… especially since GM may have to bring an El Camino to the US whether hordes of enthusiasts get worked up about it or not: after all, with CAFE going up, GM has to either offer smaller, more-efficient pickups or face the exotic, expensive alternatives. Which is actually a good thing. An enthusiast and ironic-nostalgia-driven El Camino (which I’d imagine as an imported, V8-powered Holden Maloo) might enjoy a brief fad (or, based on the hand-raiser numbers, not), but would ultimately flop (hello SSR). Meanwhile a basic, inexpensive, utilitarian-oriented El Camino could offer a uniquely efficient way to help truck-loving Americans out of their $100 fill-up fatigue. While giving GM an opportunity to escape its old Hummer-dominated anti-green image.
In short, fear not enthusiasts: even if the “Draft El Camino” movement fails to reach 100,000 hand-raisers (or, at this point, even 10k), GM will probably bring some kind of “ute” (as they’re known in Oz) to the US at some point. You just have be patient and let CAFE force GM into bringing the products you really want. Bet you never thought you’d read that sentence, did you?