By on August 7, 2009

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

68 Comments on “Ask the Best and Brightest: Has the Camaro’s Day Passed? Again?...”


  • avatar
    Patrickj

    Has the Camaro’s Day Passed? Again?

    I don’t think so.

    While the ponycar isn’t a big-volume seller, an RWD ponycar and sedan are no-brainer core offerings for an American-brand manufacturer–for luxury, sports, and RWD livery/taxi and police use.

    These are important products for a respectable chunk of loyal Detroit customers who should be catered to.

    Efficiency says they should all be on a single platform for each automaker.

    They will probably need to have an El Camino style vehicle out of the platform as well. CAFE requirements suggest that it will be the only one that will keep the 5 or 6 liter V8.

  • avatar
    rudiger

    Patrickj: “They will probably need to have an El Camino style vehicle out of the platform as well. CAFE requirements suggest that it will be the only one that will keep the 5 or 6 liter V8.”The planned G8-based Pontiac ST (otherwise known as the “Hell Camino”) was cancelled when GM began experiencing ‘the big flush’.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    Camaro = clown car. Clowns will buy them, but as we all know the population of semi-professional and professional clowns is pretty small. Sales will tail off again shortly.

  • avatar
    Dangerous Dave

    GM promoted this car for so long I was tired of looking at the Camaro before it hit the showroom. They will sell a few and sales will drop like a rock.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    Mistake #1 was overexposure of the show car for years before the car went into production.

    Mistake #2 was making the car look too much like the show car. The chopped roof and other cartoonish styling elements looked great on a show car but they are proving to be drawbacks in the real world, if the reviews are to be believed. A couple inches to the roof line wouldn’t have killed the look of the car and might have given it a more open, useable feel.

  • avatar
    walksatnight

    “Has the Camaro’s Day Passed? Again?”

    No way. How many Mustangs does the Ford Motor Company poop out every hour? You see them every where and with good reason. Chevy should have had to make Ford work harder for their market share. Instead they mailed it in on Gen IV and then gave it up. This time around the car is better but the Mustang will win again. Clearly the market has been there. If they built a “Bitchin’ Camaro” they very well might have put a dent in Ford’s yearly 100 to 150 thousand
    unit stream.

    How many of those goofy little Subaru’s do you see? Pontiac should have built something along those lines and launched as the new Firebird. Silly looking to anyone over 40 but a blast to drive. Instead they imploded with the Aztek, Montana and destroyed the brand with gorp. They are supposed to build excitement – not Mini Vans.

    While I love the looks of the new Challenger, it probably would have been best for Chrysler not to have gone in that direction. The only realistic choice they had was with the LC platform and it’s just too big and heavy. If they could have afforded it, perhaps the Road Runner route would have been a hit. Start with an all new, smaller platform. No frills, limited options, just the bare minimum to meet safety standards. Drop the big Hemi mill in it, paint it an obnoxious color and put the meep meep horn in it. If the price was low enough perhaps it would have worked for them. It did before. For awhile.

  • avatar
    Turbo G

    Like always, the Camaro will out perform but undersell the rival Ford Mustang. Sad really.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    Way late to the party. The two door coupe market is less than 10% the size it was twenty years ago, and like it or not the Camaro is still a two door coupe.

    Once the aging boomers looking for one more bite at the nostalgia apple have bought their Camaros, it is over.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    In the early 90’s I was a service tech at a Ford dealer in Phoenix. We occasionally got visits from engineers and managers visiting the proving grounds and one day I was talking with one of them about the fourth gen Mustang, which was then a year away.

    One of the things he told me was that an important part of designing a new Mustang was access to the back seat. This was because the typical Mustang buyer was a woman under the age of 30 buying a LX with a V6. He said this customer may have a very young child already or knows she may start a family while she has this car. In either case, they wanted a sporty car but enough of these buyers were aware that they’ll spend a lot of time leaning into the back seat. This filtered up through focus groups going back to the early 70’s. “This is why we beat them in sales almost every year.” About the then-new fourth generation Camaro, he said, “We’re going to crush them. Their back seat sucks.”

    I know it seems like an unlikely explanation, but for whatever reason the base model Mustang has much better sales numbers year-in and year-out than the Camaro, and that’s why it’s stayed in production for 46 years. Ford can pretty much count on selling at least 100K Mustang coupes every year, and another 30-50K GT’s and convertibles. For the Camaro, the numbers boom for the first year or two of a new model and then drop like a brick. Look at the 93-02 fourth gen. GM sold 150K coupes in ’94 and ’95, the first two years of full production. It took four years to sell the next 150,000. They barely sold 30,000 coupes in the last three years – combined.

    For comparison, Ford sold a half-million Mustangs between 2000 and 2002.

    Is the fifth-gen Camaro going to meet the same fate? If the engineer I met was right, if GM needs strong support from women buyers to make the Camaro a sustainable success, I’d say they’re going to lose to Ford again. The new Camaro is a bigger car but, once again, getting into the back seat is like going spelunking. The styling is probably too masculine and aggressive to attract a lot of female buyers, and the high beltline and gun-slit windows are not going to help win over a gender with a median height of under 5’5″. Add in the anti-GM backlash because of the bailouts and compelling new options like the Hyundai Genesis Coupe, and I don’t think the Camaro has a future.

    Keep an eye on the LS and LT sales numbers. That will tell you where the Camaro is headed.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    It’s a little early to be trying to guess what the new Camaro’s ultimate fate will be. It’s only generally been available since April. Let’s get at least one model year get down the road before writing any obits.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    Pete Moran:

    Can’t we appreciate all different types of cars? I drive a Vette, but I appreciate cars from all regions. I love lightweight cars like the Elise and Exige. It doesn’t have to be an either/or proposition

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Once again, the anti-Musclecar enviro crowd goes wild… Never ones to let something as quaint as facts get in the way of their hatin’, they spew their tired old anti-American, anti-V8, anti-RWD, anti-Horsepower vitriol all over their keyboards just hoping that if they say it enough times it will come true. And when presented with the evidence proving them wrong (how many “new” Mustangs has Ford sold again?), they come up with the lamest, most ignoramic excuses imaginable (well, it’s the Mustang…) and spout them off as if, as if, they actually believed their own B.S.

  • avatar
    don1967

    Once again, the anti-Musclecar enviro crowd goes wild… Never ones to let something as quaint as facts get in the way of their hatin’, they spew their tired old anti-American, anti-V8, anti-RWD, anti-Horsepower vitriol all over their keyboards

    Not sure it’s that simple. Many people would like to see the Camaro succeed. We just know that it won’t.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    With this segment 1st mover status is sooo important. Ford nailed it. It’s obvious that GM has tried to time the 2nd generation to remove the 1st mover advantage but got hit with the crummy economy and Ford is a little more on the ball this time. They usually have let their models die the incremental improvement philosophy way but not changing it enough for the next version properly supersede.

    GM desperately needs to get their act together with the sedan. A proper 4 door with IRS RWD and the V6 out of the Camaro will save the Camaro. 2011 Impala perhaps?

    Upon further reflection… not everyone in GM is a moron. Given what’s in the Middle East right now, it could be that GM is using the Camaro to get the bugs out of the platform. They have all the components and the design is done, with the production experience, the new platform would be a hit, absolutely killing the Panther sales. A midline RWD 4 door, 300 hp V6 that gets good mileage, is practically bulletproof and hits the street in the low $20’s? No brainer.

    Bring it on!

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ thetopdog

    Your persistent hate for anything American (even “real” sports cars with world-beating performance like Vettes and Vipers) is kind of disturbing.

    It’s my opinion, and I’m comfortable with it. The near total lack of sales success worldwide for the kind of vehicle American’s seem to think everyone else should “aspire” to is proof enough.

    The majority of people don’t want “muscle cars”. The sales speak for themselves.

    The companies that make them can’t make money from it, or at least it’s not clear they do.

    Can’t we appreciate all different types of cars?

    No problem with that. For the record, I think the G8 and Australian Falcon are great expressions of “American” influence in automotive engineering.

    I also don’t mind the Corvette; the new ones go round corners. (It was a revelation to me, I must tell you!). Obviously the ZR1 is very impressive. I wouldn’t drive one; I don’t know anyone who would either. Maybe that’s my fault.

    I think the Viper is a joke being had on somebody, somewhere…. especially the older ones. Good god.

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    Once again, the anti-Musclecar enviro crowd goes wild… Never ones to let something as quaint as facts get in the way of their hatin’, they spew their tired old anti-American, anti-V8, anti-RWD, anti-Horsepower vitrio…

    Actually, I am way more pro-“enviro” than most here and I hope this car does succeed. I do believe that it will not be a long-term big seller, but I wish it would. Why? The Mustang needs competition to keep Ford interested in continually improving it and the Camaro is a real part of Americana. I really dislike all the mullet crap BTY…that’s like saying all pickup drivers are redneck trash.

    Why do you think all people who care about the environment instead of just themselves have no interest in performance? While I really do feel that the national average needs to improve, there is certainly room for performance machines. Perhaps they shouldn’t be big and heavy, but so what? Size and weight isn’t only bad for efficiency, it is the bane of performance, and this country’s health, too. So, lighten up, both figuratively and literally.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    I personally hope that RWD coupes never die, but the Camaro is destined to be an also ran.

    Weighing 4,000 pounds is pretty unforgivable.

    The Mustang is a better driver’s car, and will be even more so when Ford fixes the engine situation very soon.

    On the other hand, if someone wants a just cruiser the Challenger is much better looking.

    Personally I’m probably going to get a Hyundai Genesis turbo-4. The closest thing on the market to my beloved Nissan 240SX, except now with the kind of turbo-4 that Nissan never offered in the US market.

    Also, Toyota is still considering bringing the RWD Subayota coupe to market.

    GM’s run up to the Camaro was pathetic, 4 years off teasing just made it look old before it even came out.

    If GM had the foresight to know that it would have to kill Pontiac then it could have tooled the Canadian plant to make the G8 as an Impala and offered this derivative ( http://www.autoblog.com/2008/02/28/melbourne-2008-holden-coupe-60-shocks-showgoers/ ) as a Camaro. It’s much better looking.

    Retro is beyond overdone, and GM did it poorly with the Camaro. The problem with the Pontiac GTO was that it had outdated early ’90s styling, not that it didn’t have late ’60s styling.

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    PeteMoran:

    “No problem with that. For the record, I think the G8 and Australian Falcon are great expressions of ‘American’ influence in automotive engineering.”

    Get over it. The Japanese are influenced by Americans. Australians are Americans. Really more like caricatures of Americans.

    The American influences in automotive engineering are things like, for example, the assembly line and fuel injection.

    Every automaking country makes large RWD V8 cars, America and Australia are just large and underpopulated enough for people other than the very wealthy to drive them.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ no_slushbox

    What am I supposed to be “getting over”??

  • avatar
    Detroit-X

    The Camaro (Origin: American Indian; translates to: “trailer park pony squaw admires”), is just a dying, Baby-Boomer Generation-thing. It’s a fading throwback to the: “DAMMIT! (slam beer down on picnic table) GM RULES!” mind-set.

    When you don’t have any new ideas, you repeat past behavior.

    It’s not a 100% bad car, but too bad it has a sucky interior design/quality standard (Playschool Toys-patent lawsuits to follow). And I’m still amazed at the idiotic trunk opening/shape; it this design to discourage using it?

    In the whole scheme of things, the Camaro is just the automotive equivalent of grabbing at straws. The retiree face-lift. The darkening of the bar at 1:00 PM. The …

  • avatar
    no_slushbox

    That America somehow influenced Australia to make and love large cheap V8 cars. You came up with that all on your own.

  • avatar
    Happy_Endings

    Is the Camaro going to annually sell 200K units like it did in the 70’s? Of course not. Will it sell the 120K units per year Lutz says is needed to break even? Probably not. Can GM afford to continue to make the Camaro when the company is losing money? They stopped it once before because it wasn’t selling well enough.

    At this point, GM needs cars that can reliably, year after year, bring them profit. I don’t see how the current Camaro can achieve that result. Even if sales from the 4th gen were doubled, they’d sell about 80K a year. July’s sales figures were a little more 7K, which is about 85K for a year. I’d be interested to see how many Camaro’s are sold once the initial curiousity wears off. That’s when the sales success of the Camaro can be judged.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    @ no_slushbox

    That America somehow influenced Australia to make and love large cheap V8 cars.

    Well, as I said, I have no problem with that especially the G8 and Falcon being particularly good examples (apart from the slushy ones, of course).

    So I’m not sure how we passed each other on that one….

  • avatar
    Karaya1

    When I was 16 years old I drove a Camaro, drank Schlitz malt liquor and listened to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin on my 8 track player.

    Now that I am 48 I drive a Civic Si sedan, drink Erdinger Hefe Weizen Dunkel and listen to the Fugazi and the Distillers on my i-pod player.

    I have no interest in a new Camaro and the young guys I know all drive trucks now.

    Times change, people change. Why does GM not seem to get this?

  • avatar
    whynotaztec

    Glad to see we made it 24 posts and so far the mullet thing hasn’t been too bad. Maybe the joke is finally old?

    I just returned an LT to Avis after a 3 day rental. Overall I loved it, but that is partly a reaction to driving Civics and Accords the last several years – great every day cars, but pretty much took away the fun of driving.

    On the plus side, the V6 is strong, got almost 29 mpg (lots of highway) and it rode well. The buff book said nobody over 5’10” need apply – BS, I’m 6’4″ and it was fine, with sunroof. I was wishy washy on the looks based on pics, but in person, I’m sold. Yes it can be cartoonish, but it many ways it’s a refreshing change from most cars which really have no style.

    On the downside, the visibility is really tough, no way I could back that thing into a space. Tough to see the entire right side too. And my very short wife does not stand a chance of driving the thing. Exhaust sound didn’t win me over; yes the trunk is tiny. And my 13 y/o did not like the back seat. The car is so heavy, yet….

    But I loved driving it, couldn’t stop grinning! If I could find a absolute base LS with a stick I would consider it at $23040. But have they even made one yet?

    However I think many negative factors have already been mentioned here, such as the coupe market in general being much smaller. If they can make this thing on a flexible line with another car or two that would probably make it viable, otherwise, it might be doomed.

  • avatar
    Odomeater

    “Now that I am 48 I drive a Civic Si sedan, drink Erdinger Hefe Weizen Dunkel and listen to the Fugazi and the Distillers on my i-pod player.”

    My condolences…

  • avatar
    Patrickj

    @golden2husky

    Agree 100%. There’s no reason any automaker can’t sell some RWD cars and meet CAFE regs.

    Part of the survival of the domestic makes (however uncertain) has to be catering to core markets.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “On the downside, the visibility is really tough, no way I could back that thing into a space. Tough to see the entire right side too. And my very short wife does not stand a chance of driving the thing. Exhaust sound didn’t win me over; yes the trunk is tiny. And my 13 y/o did not like the back seat.”

    Ah, sounds like a typical Lutz creation. Forget how well the thing actually works as long as it looks cool and can burn rubber. I think baldheadeddork has it right in his entry above. A fashion statement vehicle which doesn’t appeal to women is not going to do significant volume over any period of time.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Odomeater,

    Well, some of us grow and learn to appreciate new and better things. Schlitz is pretty bad beer (Come to think of it, are they still in business? I drink mostly Summit). The Civic Si is a pretty good car. The Fugazi and Distillers are new and provocative sounds. The iPod is a real advance in how to enjoy music.

    The most successful retro vehicle is probably the PT Cruiser. But the people I know who own one like it because is has near-minivan utility.

    The Camaro must keep up with the times and a Camaro for today is not the Camaro of yesterday. I could be in the market for a Camaro but not this one. Think Civic Coupe.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    One of the things he told me was that an important part of designing a new Mustang was access to the back seat. This was because the typical Mustang buyer was a woman under the age of 30 buying a LX with a V6. He said this customer may have a very young child already or knows she may start a family while she has this car. In either case, they wanted a sporty car but enough of these buyers were aware that they’ll spend a lot of time leaning into the back seat. This filtered up through focus groups going back to the early 70’s. “This is why we beat them in sales almost every year.” About the then-new fourth generation Camaro, he said, “We’re going to crush them. Their back seat sucks.”

    There is a lot of wisdom in this paragraph.

    Enthusiasts focus on V-8 performance and tend to ignore a lot of the practicalities. In the real world, though, the car has to have some utility and the V-8 is really supposed to be a halo model that creates glamor that can help to sell the cheaper models.

    This is doomed to be Son of Solstice — within two years, the buzz will fade and sales will be small. The car will ultimately be unprofitable, and since it won’t be popular enough to bring glory to the Malibu, it is going to fail.

    That’s too bad, as I actually like the looks of the exterior. That, and as a shareholder in the New GM, I do think that it would be nice if they could make some money on it.

  • avatar
    Matt51

    Yes, Baldheadeddork is exactly correct. Having owned a prior Camaro, and a 2006 Mustang, the Mustang is a more practical car. You are not buried in it the way you are in a Camaro. From the rear, the Camaro looks like a cartoon. The Camaro of the 60’s and 70’s was never a very good car. It was a Chevy Nova with different sheet metal. I owned one.

    The Mustang, with incentives, you can buy for less money. The Mustang looks better, you have better visibility, and you have a more practical rear seat. AND, Ford is more likely to be in business a year from now.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    A bit off of the commentary topic.

    Since it is posted with the story, that TV ad deserves commentary. The very first time I saw that at the age of 15, I thought it was such a FAIL. Cheesy overplayed faux drama.
    The imploding ’66 Impala ad was much better. http://www.clis.com/friends/Fusion.pdf

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Even when the sport coupe market was fairly hot in the mid 80’s to 90’s. Each model had a short market shelf life, as I recall. They required frequent styling changes because sales dropped off quicly after the second year. If this still holds true, the Camaro is an utter waste of time and finacial resources. I rather expect sales to start with a relative bang and then fade quickly.

  • avatar
    chuckR

    Where is Bertel Schmitt’s critique on the ads?

    My own rating? I give the two ads I watched several cheese wheels each – real cheesy.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Karaya1 :
    August 8th, 2009 at 9:39 am

    When I was 16 years old I drove a Camaro, drank Schlitz malt liquor and listened to the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin on my 8 track player.

    I used to LOVE killing Camaros with my 1967 Hemi GTX. I still have the car, listen to Zep and the Stones but lost the Schlitz and the 8 track.

    What most of us have forgotten is how poorly built, uncomfortable, slow, ill handling and poorly braked these machines were. A cheap little Suburu will eat the GTX alive in almost every regard except for the cool Hemi sound.

    While the new Camaro is light years better in the reliability, handling, brakes and power department, as soon as the boomers finish buying the nostalgia it’s dead. At least the old GTX can seat 4 people in relative comfort unlike the new Camaro.

  • avatar

    I’ve driven both the 2010 Mustang and new Camaro. It sounds like many of you would be shocked to hear the Camaro has a real backseat now, bigger and more practical than the Mustang’s. And that’s not all.

    I was actually interested in getting a new GT500. My family and I have owned a slew of classic and modern muscle cars. They are just as exciting now as they always have been, they are truly a unique and distinctly American machine that deserve to be appreciated.

    It doesn’t sound like anyone here has actually shopped or driven a new Mustang before proclaiming the Camaro the ultimately loser or less practical car. Things have changed quite a bit.

    New Mustangs are expensive now, really expensive. In 2006 you could get a GT with the stuff you wanted for $30k or so, which was the last time I drove one. I drove a 2010 with HIDs and an automatic transmission, it was $37k. There was a V6 sitting on the lot that was over $30k. Yes it’s possible to order a GT cheaper, but even at base price it still pales in value to the Camaro.

    The car still looks and drives like the 2006 too. It had a nervous-jiggly ride (from the live axle), horrific flat seats (for fat butts) the worst of the three new muscle cars, a wheel that still doesn’t telescope, gauges that are hard to read, the interior is still made out of the same stuff it was in 2006 (it just looks different) and it still has an unusable back seat, and a virtually worthless cargo area.

    The V8 in the Mustang still feels ancient too. You rev it and it hangs on to revs before settling back to idle. It doesn’t sound that great in the cockpit either though the exhaust sounds good outside. Performance is ok, but not stellar. You can really tell that live axle is back there during cornering too, the car is easily upset on uneven surfaces or by bumps and potholes in the road. Magazines may have gotten it to turn in good numbers but it sure doesn’t feel good doing it. It drives very similar to a classic muscle car, right down the axle skipping and slow revving V8. The structure isn’t as solid as you would expect in a new car. I noted some creaks and noodling in the GT I drove, a new car in 2010 still needs subframe connectors to stiffen it up?

    Oh, and the real world weight of the Mustang is 3,500lbs anymore either. It’s closer to 3,800lbs. Within spitting distance of the Camaro (a car that has an all-new modern structure and fully independent suspension, a new V8 design, and a real backseat and trunk this time around). It’s also within spitting distance of the Camaro in price. For what Ford asks for the Mustang they make the Camaro a real no-brainer. No wonder it’s outsold the Mustang since it was released.

    The dealer runaround on the Mustang is incredible right now, worse on the GT500 than anything else I’ve ever shopped for. The GT is not impressive, the GT500 is and that’s what I would spend my money on. No dealers would let me test drive one (who doesn’t drive a car first before spending north of 50 grand on one? Shelby fanboys I guess). One wanted me to prepay the entire car plus a $20k markup. They had numerous 08 GT500s still collecting dust on the lot for a year yet as a customer ready to buy I was only allowed to sit in one. It’s just as well, for the money they ask for GT500s you can get a Corvette, which I would rather have and GM dealers are dealing on those. For Mustang GT money you can have a 426hp Camaro, I’d rather have on of those too. Here’s why.

    Whatever applied to the Camaro prior to the 5th generation no longer does, the 5th generation is based on the Holden Commodore/Pontiac G8 and has much more in common with the LSX Pontiac GTO than the Camaros of old, except the styling which perfectly channels the iconic and unmistable image of the original Camaro. It looks exactly like the concept GM rolled out, exactly how Camaro enthusaists WANTED this car to look.

    I applaud GM for knowing what this nameplate meant to people and using their feedback the entire way. If only they treated all their products like the Corvette and Camaro maybe they would be in a better place.

    The Camaro is a sweetheart to drive. It feels like a solid, fully-modern car, as it should. Not a warmed-over hold-over riding on guts engineered from 25+ years ago. It has a smooth, fuss-free ride and feels much better to hustle around curves than the Mustang. It’s seats are no squishy and flat with some semblance of bolstering and firm padding (the Challenger has them both beat in chairs though). The interior is simple and not festooned with hundreds of buttons like the Ford, materials are about the same but the styling makes the Camaro feel more unique and special inside. The wheel telescopes too. The gaugues are marginally better to read at a glance too. The only issue is visibility, as someone said it’s hard to see out of the Camaro, but you do get used to it.

    Overall you’re treated to a better cockpit in the Camaro. So are the backseat passengers this time around too. Adults will fit semi-comfortably in the back and could stay back there. That will never happen in the Mustang. You can also fit quite a bit of cargo in the Camaro now as well, it has a real trunk that’s really big with a weird opening. As long as you get whatever you put in there past that you’ll get plenty in. Again, not so in the Mustang. The Camaro is the more practical car this time around.

    The Camaro’s LS3 engine is amazing. This car revs fast, revs hard, and pulls hard. It feels explosive, like a muscle car should and it has a great American soundtrack at high revs. The Camaro is more in line with what buyers expect performancewise (and lookswise) from a car like this. It’s a shame GM went to great lengths to quiet it. The exhaust hardly lets out a peep. Good thing shops like SLP are out there to remedy – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3QNXkxUZ9o

    The Camaro has rockstar looks to match it’s rockstar performance in comparison the Mustang too. The Mustang doesn’t hold a candle to it on the street. Neither does much of anything else. The Camaro even makes the Corvette look meek in comparison. Whenever GM finds some money I hope they fix that.

    For what GM is charging for the Camaro it’s a vastly better value and a vastly better car than the Mustang. It’s entirely new, entirely modern engineered machine that drives like it. The Mustang isn’t appreciably lighter yet gives up a usable backseat and cargo area as well as IRS to the Camaro this time around. And it still has it’s wheezy, old 315hp V8 and old car dynamics. That doesn’t even account for the styling, which is subjective but the amount of heads the Camaro will turn won’t be. Then there’s the performance, no contest.

    It’s not only boomers who are buying it either, all sorts of people love and are buying the Camaro. I surf some of the GM, LSX, Camaro forums out there and it’s all sorts of people who are showing off their new rides from young ladies with V6 RS models to people my father’s age with their SS and everyone in between. I’m in my 20s and am interested in the SS, as are a lot of other young people. This car (and these types of cars) have a more universal appeal than their detractors give them credit for.

    MSRP vs MSRP in you’re own money, you’d be unwise to get a Mustang, it’s not a good deal right now. When the hysteria dies off next summer and they add heads-up display (and some other things) I may end up with a 2011 SS for my money. It’s the superior car.

  • avatar
    06M3S54B32

    “No way. How many Mustangs does the Ford Motor Company poop out every hour? You see them every where and with good reason.”

    Ford didn’t loot money from US tax dollars. Every 2010 GM I see I will spit on. I’ve never bought an American car, and GM stealing tax payer dollars shows I was right NOT to do so. GM sucks, and so does their cars.

  • avatar
    Macca

    walksatnight :
    August 7th, 2009 at 11:10 pm

    How many of those goofy little Subaru’s do you see? Pontiac should have built something along those lines and launched as the new Firebird. Silly looking to anyone over 40 but a blast to drive.

    Bob Lutz, is that you?

    I think the sales success of those ‘goofy little Subarus’ should be some indication that a fairly large group of people don’t find them goofy at all.

    This is the antiquated line of thinking that has the domestics still producing heavy, poor handling dinos of automobiles instead of making smaller, more nimble sport compacts – I’ll give you credit for recognizing that, at least. Slapping a turbo on a Cobalt doesn’t count as WRX or Evo competition. Ford is guilty of this, too, what with the lackluster USDM Focus.

    The irony is that the whole ‘silly looking to anyone over 40’ argument is that the new overwrought Camaro probably has much the same effect. It just doesn’t quite pull off the simple retro-look in the same manner as the Challenger. Many of the details look like a teenager’s fantasy-car doodles.

  • avatar
    stuki

    The Camaro used to be about relatively cheap access to speed for young people who didn’t need “family” features. As in, substantially more speed than could otherwise be had for the money. Without sacrificing perceived quality, as noone, even then, would put up with a car breaking down noticeably more than alternatives.

    If Chevy could again build a car like that, I suspect they will sell well. There has to be some young guys out there still enthralled by power and speed. The problem is, Chevy now has much more competition. Back then, the reason to buy a V8 was to get power, not to own an “American Tradition.”(tm). So, unless Chevy’s V8 can relatively side effect free beat turbo 4’s and 6’s, I doubt many young people will find it that attractive.

    And most of the guys who would buy Camaros for the nostalgia got over their midlife crisis years ago, and are now stuck trying to repair the financial damage it did to them.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    I’ve driven both the 2010 Mustang and new Camaro. It sounds like many of you would be shocked to hear the Camaro has a real backseat now, bigger and more practical than the Mustang’s. And that’s not all.

    I said the back seat in this Camaro was bigger than in past models, but it still has a lot of the old Camaro flaws. There’s very little lighting thanks to the smaller side windows and it’s a deeper reach to put a kid in a child seat, although this is much better than on the third and fourth gen F-bodies. (Pictures of the 2010 Camaro and 2010 Mustang to illustrate the differences.)

    But even if the back seat wasn’t an issue, the design choices for the Camaro are still a big problem if Chevy wants to reach women buyers. The designers seemed to go out of their way to exorcise any lines on the car that might be seen as feminine. On a practical level, the high beltline and narrow greenhouse is a huge mistake. Visibility in the Camaro is bad if you’re 5’10”. If you’re five inches shorter, the average height for a woman in the US, it’s going to feel like you’re driving a tank.

    If GM doesn’t need to win women buyers, then none of this matters. If they do, and Ford’s experience with the Mustang shows it can, they’ve made a horrible car. As soon as everyone who’s wanted a SS for the last three years gets theirs, the sales numbers will plummet.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Where is the basic model Camero with air/tilt/cruise, 5.3L v8 with 5 or 6 spd stick? Price it like you want to sell it and I’m in.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    @TriShield

    I call shenanigans on your story about young people thinking the Camaro is anything but a car for rednecks or old people.

    The American muscle car has long since fallen off the radar for anyone under the age of 45. 35, if you’re feeling generous. The question of performance vehicles for anyone who is young and knows what cool is comes down to Evo vs STI/WRX. The midnight racer crowd and the upcoming gearheads generally don’t give a squat about Mustangs and Camaros.

    A couple months ago, I took my 20 year old cousin car shopping. Kid’s a mechanic in the Marines. Fresh home from Iraq (in Afghanistan now) with money burning a hole in his pocket. We checked out some used as well as new cars. Kid didn’t give Mustangs a second glance. He didn’t even give them a first glance. He ended up settling on a Civic Si.

    You want to know how out of touch with reality GM is on this one? One of the things I’ve noticed about what a kid or a young guy notices about the dash is how his iPod integrates into the sound system. What does GM go for to put in the Camaro? Zune? Are you kidding me? Does anyone at GM have a clue? Do they have ANY idea how uncool the Zune is?

    The Vette and Viper may be great cars, but they’re a product of an older generation and as such, that’s how younger people see them. Cars for old people. To today’s young pistonheads, the coolest real world car is a GT-R, not anything Detroit produces. If you’ve ever picked up a game controller and played Gran Turismo, you know this.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    No, apparently not.

    Camaro sales in June were 9320 compared to 7362 for the Mustang. Apparently then, within this niche, Camaro is doing well.

    Extrapolating June sales figures (which is inaccurate, but we’re just trying to get a ballpark figure here) Chevy is on course to sell more than 100,000 Camaros per year.

    The question is, are they going to make any money on this car? I don’t know the answer. If they can keep selling 100K units for several years and incur no appreciable costs in redesigning, maybe so.

    The real question is this – has the Firebird’s day passed? It would have taken little money to rebadge them as ‘birds and there are people out there who would buy a Pontiac but not a Chevy. (Make mine gold, like Jim Rockford’s)

    I’m not a fan of badge engineering, but when it’s that easy to pick up extra sales …

    Better yet, they should simply have brought it out as a Firebird, not as a Camaro. It would have enhanced Poncho’s excitement image.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Read this Camaro review article:

    http://articles.latimes.com/2009/apr/17/business/fi-neil17

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Chevy is on course to sell more than 100,000 Camaros per year.

    The car is much too new to assume this. Most of the current sales are going to be the fan boys, including those who paid deposits.

    The profitability test will rear its head at about the third year mark. If the car is selling at those levels, then it is probably making money. I personally doubt that it will; this has 1-2 years written all over it.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    The car is much too new to assume this …

    I know, that’s why I suggested the extrapolation is inaccurate. But if it holds, or even hovers around that number, give or take a thousand units, then we can get a ballpark guestimate of annual sales.

    As for how many years they can sell them – I just don’t know. Ford sold the 4th Gen Mustang for 11 years, and is now in the 6th season of selling Gen 5 Mustangs. Right now, Camaro is outselling Mustang, and no one suggests Mustang is a flash in the pan that will be gone in 3 years.

    Maybe everyone wants to be young once. Either when they really are, or later, when they can afford it.

    To me the bottom line is this – No one chooses the Malibu over the Accord because of the Camaro sitting nearby.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    To me the bottom line is this – No one chooses the Malibu over the Accord because of the Camaro sitting nearby.

    When used appropriately, halo cars work, the Z and the New Beetle being but two examples.

    If the Camaro and Corvette had something in common with the Malibu, then they could help to sell Malibus. But they are so disconnected from the rest of the lineup that they provide little to no halo effect. GM has trouble getting this right, too.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    What do the B&B think of the pony car market? Specifically, how much competition is there?

    What I’m getting at is this – I think there are a lot of people who want either a Camaro, or a Mustang, but wouldn’t even consider the other car. Same with the Challenger. (Count me in the Mustang group – if I were to even consider a pony car)

    I know there is some cross-shopping, and some competition, but I’m not convinced the entire pony car market is up for grabs. I suspect there is a Mustang market, and a Camaro market, and relatively little overlap. If this view is correct, then it may well be that Camaro has a limited future. If this view is wrong, Ford may be in for some tough times in this segment.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    The problem is, and always will be, that the pony car market is a subset of the compact car market. It’s just too small as a standalone product segment. I think that the Challenger for that reason is a failure. Once everyone who wants one has it, their marketshare will evaporate.

    The V6 Camaro might have legs but the styling will be the issue. That body as everyone else has said, is not the most ergonomic.

    As my previous post said, if GM can leverage a high volume sedan from the same components as the Camaro — which means building it on the same line as the pony car — the Camaro will be a long term success because building it won’t be all that expensive.

    The biggest mistake the previous generations were saddled with was that the plant(s) were unique entities and were too expensive to support when the volumes went down. First Van Nuys then Ste Therese paid the price because they were so far off the beaten track. Now that it’s in a mainstream facility like Oshawa there’s a chance that, no matter how the volume goes, it could be around for as long as GM is.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    What do the B&B think of the pony car market? Specifically, how much competition is there?

    I think Signal11 makes a great point. People under the age of 35 today do not have a strong identification with pony cars. Here in the midwest you still see a lot of kids who like Mustangs because of the cheap and abundant Fox 5.0’s, but they are now the exception in this demographic.

    How is anyone going to market pony cars when the only people who have warm memories about the Camaro, Mustang and Cuda from the sixties are in the sixties themselves?

    I think the concept of the pony car is not long for this world. The car itself isn’t going to die, but this current round of nostalgia styling is the last we’ll ever see. Whichever car survives (and I think it’s only going to be one of the three), future generations are going to take their vision of a sporty RWD coupe and aim it at the Evo, WRX, 370Z and Genesis Coupe. They have to, because that’s where the customers are going.

  • avatar
    rochskier

    @ Dynamic88:

    Personally, I am a Mopar guy at this point. I own and enjoy one. I would take a GT500 if the right deal came along. I would not drive a Chevy.

    This attitude is largely based on my family’s poor experiences with GMC pickups in the early/mid-80s, meh experience with a couple Bronco IIs in the late 80s, and good experiences with a string of Jeeps during the 90s.

    I don’t mind the imports, but presently I think the Evo engine is too high strung, the WRX looks hideous, and the 370Z/Genesis coupes don’t offer enough utility.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    “Camaro sales in June were 9320 compared to 7362 for the Mustang. Apparently then, within this niche, Camaro is doing well.”

    Actually, it isn’t. The Camaro is brand new and has been heavily hyped for at least two years now. The marketing effort spent on the new Camaro has been huge, including two big ticket movie product placements. There was significant pent up demand for the new Camaro. The Mustang, on the other hand, is at the end of its fourth model year since its last major redesign. The Camaro should be beating out the Mustang by at least a factor of two based on the age of the designs. Hot new cars sell best in their first one or two years. The new Camaro was competing with the stale 2009 Mustang in June.

    It will be interesting to see how the refreshed 2010 Mustang does against the Camaro over the next year. My guess is that by this time a year from now, the Mustang is likely to once again be handily outselling the Camaro. Like always.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    It may be that Camaro sales will slack, and Camaro will take it’s traditional place well behind Mustang in sales. There is sommething to be said for the idea that the first few months sales are buoyed by pent up demand.

    Still, I see “analysis” applied to Camaro that doesn’t get applied to Mustang, and I can’t help but wonder why.

    Specifically, we’ve read, on this thread, words to the effect that Camaro sales will dry up when everyone who wants one has one. Why does the same analysis not apply to Mustang? Realistically, who wants a Mustang and doesn’t already have one? Who wants a Mustang and hasn’t already had one – or three?

    One might discount Mustang II as not a real Mustang. One might even question whether the Fox based ‘stang was a real ‘stang. But one can’t say the 4th and 5th Gen Mustangs aren’t the real deal. That means Ford has been selling real Mustangs for at least 15 years, maybe closer to 30 if you don’t discount Fox based ‘stangs. If you don’t discount Mustang II, Ford is coming up on half a century of selling this model. Anyway you slice it, anyone and everyone who wants or ever wanted a Mustang, must surely have one by now. Yet sales continue. And I can’t help but wonder why everyone is so sure Camaro will fade away in 3 years when Mustang keeps selling decade after decade.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I see “analysis” applied to Camaro that doesn’t get applied to Mustang, and I can’t help but wonder why.

    The Mustang brand is much stronger, one of the few remaining Detroit icons that has been able to maintain its iconic status.

    All things being equal, I think that you have to accept the premise as the Mustang being something to be dethroned, rather than just another class entrant that competes on equal footing with its rivals. It’s a bit like assessing the Malibu’s market prospects against those of the Accord — there is more than enough history and heritage there that you must presume that the Accord begins with the advantage, until proven otherwise.

  • avatar
    baldheadeddork

    Still, I see “analysis” applied to Camaro that doesn’t get applied to Mustang, and I can’t help but wonder why.

    Specifically, we’ve read, on this thread, words to the effect that Camaro sales will dry up when everyone who wants one has one. Why does the same analysis not apply to Mustang?

    The answer is here and here. Ford has been able to consistently sell 130,000-150,000 Mustangs year after year. GM has been unable to get consistent sales for the Camaro since the 1970’s. Both the third and fourth generation F-bodies matched the Mustang for their first two or three years of their model run, and then drop off a cliff.

    Can the fifth-gen Camaro beat that history? It’s not an unfair question.

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Thanks for the production numbers. Respectfully, I do not see the production dropping off a cliff after year 3.

    Gen 1 sales grow each year.

    Geb 2 is sold for 12 model years, and starts weak, falls badly in year 2, but then picks up, eventually reaching the all time high for the ’79 model year, falling again for the remainder of the run.

    Gen 3 starting in ’82 is 63K units better than ’81, falls, rises to the second highest all time, falls, rises, falls, falls, rises, falls off a cliff, nearly triples the following year, and falls.

    Gen 4 starts very week, rises, rises, falls, rises, falls, rises, falls, falls badly, rises slightly, falls badly, rises slightly.

    You can certainly say Camaro sales have been a roller coaster, but dropping off a cliff -with the implication that they never come back- doesn’t seem accurate.

    My prediction of the new Camaro’s sales – much as your production figures show historically – a few good years, followed by a few bad ones, followed by a pickup again.

    Certainly sales are inconsistent but does that mean it has to die after 3 years? What if it had been canceled say in ’72? They’d have missed a lot of good sales years.

    Mustang sales also appear to follow an up and down pattern. Look at production in ’72 compared to ’66. In fact Mustang declined in year 3 and 4,5,6,7,& 8. Yet there is no claim of falling off a cliff. Look at ’74s near tripling of sales compared to the prior year – similar to what has happened with Camaro. The peaks and troughs have not been as steep, or low, for Ford the past several years, but they’ve been there.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Ah, there it is…

    Pch101 : The Mustang brand is much stronger, one of the few remaining Detroit icons that has been able to maintain its iconic status.

    All things being equal, I think that you have to accept the premise as the Mustang being something to be dethroned

    …the utterly mindless “reason” the anti-musclecar crowd uses to explain the Mustangs success. How’s that for brilliant? They can’t name a single factor in WHY the Mustang sells, other than “Cuz it’s the Mustang” (said like the sound of a cow mooing).

  • avatar
    Pch101

    the utterly mindless “reason” the anti-musclecar crowd uses to explain the Mustangs success

    Are you for real? Seriously? It’s as if you read these posts intentionally just to find things in them that aren’t there.

    Honestly, it’s hard to take your points seriously when shoot off empty rhetoric like that. (And I guess that you’ve never seen “Bullitt” or have heard of Saleen or Shelby, either.)

    The sales numbers pretty much say it all, and the brand clinches the deal. The Mustang has owned this space for a long time, and I would no sooner expect the Camaro or Challenger to shove it out of its leadership position than I would expect the Solstice to outsell the Miata.

  • avatar
    Dimwit

    Uhhh, maybe because the Mustang *created* the field? It’s called the pony car segment for a reason, you know.

    Ford is the leader. Both GM and Chryco do conquest sales. Yes, at times, they have sold more than Ford but not on a consistent basis and usually it’s because Ford has let the model get old. That said, it’s Ford who will make the styling cues, whether for good or bad — Mustang II anyone?

    Ford is the one who started this retro trend. GM is playing follow me and isn’t doing quite as good a job. The biggie, which we really won’t know until the end of the model year, is whether the IRS and V6 is enough to offset the radical styling of the Camaro. Cancelling the model really hurt them and add Chapter 11 and this is not a slam dunk by any means.

  • avatar
    agenthex

    They can’t name a single factor in WHY the Mustang sells, other than “Cuz it’s the Mustang” (said like the sound of a cow mooing).

    The mustang sells because it has a “sporty” image compared to your average sedan (like all coupes), is priced well, and doesn’t compromise so much on practicality and ergonomics that it makes mainstream buyers think too much about it.

    The Camaro fails mostly on that last point. It’s arguable it cover its niche of hot-rod better, but that niche seems to be pretty small compared to the mainstream buyers which cross over to get a bit of their “sport”.

  • avatar
    KnightRT

    > The mustang sells because it has a “sporty” image

    The impression I got from my 50ish mother was that Mustangs had a cleaner image. Camaros were apparently bought by the more thuggish elements at her schools.

    They’ve always been more overtly masculine than Mustangs, especially with the latter in base trim. There’s no way to be subtle in a Camaro. Not all of us want to drive a bottle of testosterone.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    Pch101 : “Are you for real? Seriously? It’s as if you read these posts intentionally just to find things in them that aren’t there.”

    If you’d browse back to my first post in this thread (# 14) you’ll see I stated the lame excuse anti-musclecar critics always give when faced with the Mustangs undeniable success.

    I read all the same “reasons” why the new Mustang was doomed to be a failure BEFORE it ever hit the showrooms. And then with the Challenger. And now with the Camaro. It’s as predictable as a Pavlovian response. First they crap all over American musclecars as “cheap, crude, phallic symbols driven by trailer trash having a midlife crisis”.

    Then go on to pontificate on the ultimate demise of the genre because “no self respecting upwardly mobile environmentally aware effeminate limp dick” would drive one. And then, finally, when confronted with DECADES of success (some years and models OBVIOUSLY better than others) of the Mustang refuting their illogical arguments, they trot out the “iconic history and status” B.S.

    How many people bought a Mustang because of its “history”? I’m bettin’ next to none. How many bought one because of its “iconic status”? I’m STILL bettin’ next to none.

    What musclecar critics can’t stand is that, when done right, many Americans PREFER the rugged, independent, powerful masculine symbolism embodied in the American muscle cars. It’s that American “thing”… which they despise.

  • avatar
    PeteMoran

    many Americans PREFER the rugged, independent, powerful masculine symbolism embodied in the American muscle cars

    Not true.

    The “muscle car” segment has declined at a faster rate than the manufacturers of same have lost market share. I do not have the figures handy, maybe someone else can do that exercise.

    From memory, the 64 sold around ~400k units in year 1, while the 74 sold ~350k, the 94 ~220k, the 05 ~160k and now cracking ~100k for the current? The trend is clear.

    The average buyer age is rising, somewhere above 45 now.

    The mix is changing too. ~48% of Mustang buyers are female. Can’t get much more effeminate than that!

    The segment is dodo dead, with the Mustang probably the survivor and most identified with the genre.

    Re-introducing a competitor into an already owned niche market is a Lutz fantasy that won’t return a dime. There are so many other pressing problems for GM.

  • avatar
    Wolven

    The mix is changing too. ~48% of Mustang buyers are female. Can’t get much more effeminate than that!

    C’mon pete… that’s like saying jeans are effeminate cuz 48% of them are bought by women… A female wearing jeans, or buying a musclecar, isn’t the same as a guy wearing a dress, or buying a Prius… :)

  • avatar
    Pch101

    I read all the same “reasons” why the new Mustang was doomed to be a failure BEFORE it ever hit the showrooms.

    You’re claiming to have read that the Mustang would fail because it had a strong brand?

    I’m reasonably sure that you didn’t read anything like that, as that would be a reason for the car to succeed. The fact that the Mustang owns the space is a conspicuous advantage for Ford.

    And then with the Challenger.

    So far, about 16,000 Challengers have been sold this year. The bad economy may be skewing the long-term results, but that’s looking like a mighty flop in comparison to pretty much anything you’d find on the market.

    Fortunately for Fiat, they got the car for free, so you can only hope for their sake that there are operating profits, as those might make it worth their while to keep building it due to the fact that they didn’t have to pay for the R&D, tooling, etc.

    And now with the Camaro.

    If the future of the Camaro resembles the sales pace of the Challenger to date, then the Camaro will fail. A few sales does not a successful car make.

    How many bought one because of its “iconic status”?

    I guess that you never studied marketing. The status of the brand comes from the fact that it’s a good brand. The iconic status doesn’t come from Ford saying it’s iconic, but from the public wanting to buy it. The fact that Ford went retro with the design and the public bought it suggests that the heritage of the brand helps to sell cars.

    You need to make up your mind as to what your argument is. My point is similar to that of several others here, namely that Ford owns the segment and delivers a vehicle with broader appeal, which results in more sales.

    At this point, it sounds as if you just want to argue. What your argument actually is is hard to say. You’ve got this strong fixation on burning more than your share of gas and hating the environment, whereas most of the rest of us here are just discussing branding and product positioning.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • sgeffe: Or the aftermarket will come up with a way, in the form of a doohickey which plugs into the OBD II port, as...
  • sgeffe: The Malibu is about the worst, with the Equinox second. When I’m walking to/from my work lot to my office,...
  • HotPotato: Having solar on your roof makes you MORE resilient if the power goes off (if you’re smart enough to...
  • HotPotato: Translation: California is paying me a fat union retirement pension, and I’m saying thank you by...
  • AthensSlim: When I renewed last summer (‘19) there was no option to renew without also ordering a new plate for my...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber