I’m not seeing many new Camaros – so I thought I’d check into the numbers.
It does not look good.
Despite the hype, GM only sold 81,299 Camaros last year, the first full production year.
For some perspective, that’s about what Camaro (and its now-defunct sister car, the Pontiac Firebird) sales were back in 2002 – the year the cars were cancelled. Combined production for that year was 72,788 – which was considered terrible by GM and industry analysts. Definitely not sufficient to justify keeping the car in production – which is why both cars were dropped (the Firebird, permanently).
When Camaro was hot, it was selling an easy 100,000 units annually. When it was really hot, back in the late 1970s, as many as a quarter million were sold in a single year. Those were the Great Days, when you could hardly go outside and not see a Camaro – or a Firebird.
The mid-late 1980s were also good times.
If you were around back then you no doubt remember how Everywhere they were. IROC-Zs and GTAs. Hundreds of thousands of them were made. Along with Ford’s Mustang Five-Point-0, they were among the hottest – and best-selling – cars of the period.
But that was a time when the sporty car market was much different – much less competitive than it is now. Among other things, the Camaros and Firebird of the time faced little in the way of serious challenge for enthusiast buyers’ dollars from front wheel drive or all-wheel-drive imports, of which there were far fewer, for openers.
Today, FWD and AWD performance cars are many – and very popular. They come in more practical sedan/wagon bodystyles (Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi EVO), making them viable as everyday cars – duty a V-8 muscle coupe with an unusable backseat has trouble dealing with.
For seconds, the market for rear-drive V-8 muscle coupes was still very strong back then because the young generation of the time grew up with V-8s and RWD and that’s what they wanted and expected in a performance car. FWD cars were considered economy cars; you couldn’t do a burnout with AWD – and four cylinders and six-bangers, turbo’d or not, just didn’t have the mojo of a big ol’ V-8.
But the young crowd today grew up with FWD compacts and that’s their default preference. They didn’t bond with hulking V-8s and 4,000 pounder RWD performance cars because those cars were just not around when they were growing up.
Plus, gas was cheap.
In 1985 – the year the IROC-Z Camaro made its debut – a gallon of unleaded cost $1.20. You could fill up your Camaro for about $25.
Even taking inflation into account, gas costs a lot more today. About 60 cents more per gallon. It’s also got less energy content, being about 10 percent ethanol (thanks, corn lobby) so you don’t go as far on a gallon, which means you fill up more often.
Porsche drivers don’t care about this, of course – because they’re generally older and by definition, richer.
But Camaro is by definition a young man’s car. And young men (and women) are usually not rich, or even affluent. They’re trying to get a leg-up, save for a house maybe. Many of them might want a car like Camaro – and would buy one when gas is cheap and good jobs plentiful.
But that’s not the situation today.
Gas is over $3.00 a gallon and could soar back to $4 (or more) at almost any time. Everyone knows this – fears this. Unemployment is still hovering close to 10 percent, “officially” (despite the government’s happy talk and it’s really close to 18 percent if you go by honest accounting). A record number of 20 and 30-somethings have moved back home – with Mom and Dad – because the job market sucks and they can’t afford an apartment.
Not a good time to buy a $30,000 V-8 muscle car that costs $60 to fill up.
Sales of the current Camaro – the reborn model – peaked just after its introduction and have been declining gradually ever since. In August of 2010, sales dropped 27 percent. In September, they were down 21 percent. By October, they dropped by 38 percent.
This should be setting off alarms.
My guess is the first year (2010) sales were mostly to aging Generation Xers and Boomers – people in their 40s (and older) who are reliving their high school and college-era muscle car romances. But this is not sufficient to keep Camaro afloat because there are only so many 40-50 somethings who have the interest – and the disposable income – to indulge such a purchase. Once this group has bought its fill, who’s gonna take up the slack? GM needs to sell this car to today’s 20 and 30-somethings; that’s the sweet spot. But the kids are buying other things – or they’re not buying anything at all.
No one outside of GM can say what the tipping point is – when the cost of building the car, including compliance costs associated with CAFE, exceeds the net profit to the company from selling the car.
But it can’t be far off – and we may have already crossed it.
You might not see a lot of Camaros out there, but they’re all over the place here in southeastern Washington. We have a tax-feeder based economy (number one area for stimulus dollars, woo hoo!), so I guess that’s why people are dropping too much money on these things. Along with the Camaros are millions of Mustangs, Chargers, and a few Challengers. It seems like most people driving them—Camaros and Mustangs especially—are 40-50 year old women commuting to their tax-feeder jobs. Odd.
The real estate market in the DC area is doing well, too. Guess why… .
John posted – ‘I’m not going to disagree…or comment at all. Your rhetoric (and many of the comments I’ve read below it) clearly lack the intelligence quotient necessary to understand what I COULD say…’
If neither going to comment, agree nor disagree then why bother to post?
I’m not going to disagree…or comment at all. Your rhetoric (and many of the comments I’ve read below it) clearly lack the intelligence quotient necessary to understand what I COULD say…
I’ll just leave this scribble on the wall:
You SHOULD be ashamed to call yourself a “journalist”. But you aren’t. And that’s the bigger atrocity.
Whew.. Thanks for not going any further! Just the threaten glimpse of enlightenment is too much to handle.
Just an FYI. I had a buddy at work on the waiting list for an SS and apparently they canceled it for some reason.
Normally, I’d delete this (John’s post) because it’s just invective with no actual (substantive) criticism. But I’ll wait to see whether he’ll post what his actual beef is… or maybe he’s just mad because I didn’t give the Camaro/GM a PR snarlin’ gnarlin’ …
I have to agree with Stephen..I must give you props for the back and forth and your willingness to explain.
You have earned my respect also.
I think we’re on the same page where it matters. We both love muscle cars; I didn’t intend for my article to come off otherwise and I’m sorry it did – but I’m glad we’ve been able to go back and forth on it – and I look forward to doing it again sometime!
It’s what Eric does! There is no other automotive site on the net like this one.
I think we should all give Eric a big hand tho, he stands up for what he writes and he takes the time to respond to post arguing against his stance. Not many are willing to comment and debate, so for that you have to give him LOTS of credit.
You have my RESPECT MAN.
Hey, it’s what I do!
Seriously – I’m with you in spirit. This whole scene ($4 gas, the crappy economy) is no fun for any of us and I want to see it rolled back – and the Good Times rolled back in.
Now if we could just find someone interested in resuscitating Pontiac….
PS: The Camaro review: http://epautos.com/?p=1042
Plus one on the Second Gen: http://epautos.com/?p=1858
If your stance on this is that muscle cars days are numbered then you did a very poor job of conveying that point. I would have thought the title would have been a bit more broad. Such as the demise of muscle cars, or Automotive Dinosaurs in a modern era. Had it not been for reading your previous article that this one is (in my opinion) a watered down version. I would be more than willing to accept your replies at face value but I see it as more. On the flipside of the proverbial coin I am just joe average from nowheresville Pennsylvania so in the grand scheme of things what does it matter what I think of things either.
All I can do is tell you that my intent was not to be mean to Camaro; I just used it to try to make a general point. I guess I didn’t do that too well. Ok. Me culpa!
I’ve never owned a Mustang (or a Ford). Nor a Mopar. But I have owned four Camaros and two Firebirds over the years (still have one of these). Love them very much, I promise. I was sad to see Pontiac become a shell – and then gone. I hope the same does not happen to Chevy or the Camaro.
Regarding the looming CAFE regulations, the key words are “fleet average.” I’m sure you’ve heard of the Chevrolet Volt and the Chevrolet Cruze. The Cruze-Eco gets an EPA estimated 28 city/42 hwy. The Volt gets 93 mpg combined, 60 “composite.” These are just the first major offerings we’ve seen from GM moving the fleet towards greater overall fuel economy.
The GenV V8 DI small-block is also in the works as a new, powerful and more fuel efficient power-plant for future vehicles.
As far as how profitable the Camaro nameplate is, I will not start down the path of conjecture. I can, however, show you a quick set of numbers using two of the examples of competing vehicles in your article.
June 2010 Camaro Sales: 7540
June 2010 Subaru Impreza (WRX+base) Sales: 4259
June 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Sales (EVO+base): 2538
This happens to be one of the months Mustang out-sold the Camaro, since the 2011 model had recently been released. Mustang sales then fell back below the Camaro.
With development of the Camaro continuing and plans for the next generation Camaro already moving forward, evidence points to the conclusion that the Camaro is profitable for GM; but, as you said, we’ll see!
I, for one, don’t think the muscle car is going to go gently into the night.
The Volt is a debacle-in-the-making. Even with a $7,000 federal tax break, the thing still costs about as much as a Lexus ES350. People who have to worry about $4 gas don’t buy $33k new cars. If they do, they’re not real good with math!
Anyhow, I hope Camaro proves me wrong and that muscle cars – affordable muscle cars that people who make middle class incomes can buy – are available for many years to come!
This is the third or fourth post that is more or less the same in terms of the points raised so my guess is a batch e-mail is being sent out!
Yes, there were fewer nameplates on the market during the ’70s, but how does that fact negate my point, which was that it’s much more competitive now than it was then?
And yes, Camaro has sold well relative to its main rivals. But my broader point (already posted several times above) is that the environment for all these cars is becoming less and less favorable. Gas prices have increased to $4 and many people think – reasonably – it’s not a temporary short-term blip but the new reality; that gas prices could go to $5 or more. At which point the SS becomes completely unrealistic for all but very affluent people and even the base car becomes a tough sell. Then factor in an economy that’s stuck in the dumps with at least 9-10 percent unemployment – highest in decades. The fear and insecurity this creates is not good for “fun” cars – for any new cars.
The proof o’ the pudding will be a year from now. Then we’ll see… and if I’m wrong, well, I’ll freely submit to mass abuse for being a dumb-ass, ok?
By your replies. Your saying that all Muscle cars (mustangs ,Camaros, Chargers and the like) are doomed by gas prices and the such. Then why Just target the Camaro in your “story”? Also Why not then include any truck ,large SUV or any other v6-v8 engine vehicle in your reasoning?
You’re right; I should have done that – mention the others more than I did.
Large V-8 SUVs/trucks are suffering – and even dying off. For example, Ford turned the Explorer into a car-based crossover with a standard four-cylinder engine and no available V-8. Nissan is dropping its large truck (replacing with a badge-engineered Dodge). Hummer is history. Etc.
I’m not gloating over this – hell, it’s surprising to me that some would think that about me. It’s just a reality check about the times and the external factors that are forcing people to dial back their spending on certain items. Yes, there will always be a market for trucks, V-8s, performance cars, etc. But I think that the market will get much smaller because of the declining economic power (and confidence) of working and middle class Americans, the people who in the past sustained the mass market viability of cars like Camaro, Mustang – and big trucks/SUVs, etc.
Your reasoning conflicts between your statement that competition is stiffer today than it was back in the days of yore, and the fact that, by your own admission, Camaro has sold well compared to its rivals. If you out-sell your segment-leader, doesn’t that mean you’ve overcome the competition (for the time being)?
Personally, I feel that your entire article is a little bit short-sighted. The 2006 article predicting Camaro’s demise seemed to be specifically targeting the 5th generation Camaro: one generation of one model vehicle. Since it’s been doing well, your prediction appears to have altered its focus from the 5th generation Camaro specificially to its recently-resurrected Camaro nameplate.
I would concede that GM made some poor decisions regarding its sales/marketing/production philosophy; but, it’s a little early to assume that Chevrolet and GM are prepared to make the same mistake twice and allow the Camaro nameplate to die, rather than make it leaner, meaner and more fuel efficient in successive generations to adapt to the changing socio-economic environment.
We already see evidence that GM is moving in the right direction with the upcoming release of the lighter-weight alpha-platform. Until we see how the alpha-Cadillacs (the first alpha-platform vehicles slated for production) perform and sell, it’s very premature to start listening for the Camaro’s death-rattle.
Well, here’s the thing: Is it profitable? Yes, it has sold well relative to the Mustang and Challenger. But is it enough volume to be worth it for GM, in terms of the bottom line? There’s also the CAFE issue, which I’m sure you’re familiar with. Yes, the V-6 car is almost “there” (35 MPG) but not quite – and the V-8 version will be – is – a major drag on GM’s overall CAFE numbers. Bet your bippie the honchos in the Ren Cen are aware of this.. and thinking about this as we get closer to the 35 MPG “fleet average” requirement.
Bottom line: We’ll see.
I honestly do hope you are right and I am wrong. On a personal, emotional level, I love muscle cars. I own – and have owned – them all my adult life. I would hate to see them go way, or become toys for the rich only.
If you think that the overall sales enviornment is bad for all new cars, then why pick on the Camaro? This isn’t your first one sided article against the Camaro. Maybe you can correct me if I’m wrong but I doubt you’ve written a similar article about the beloved Mustang that has been outsold since the new Camaro’s release. That proof that you’re looking for in next years pudding is already right in front of your face in the form of higher than expected sales numbers and a very loyal passionate fanbase for the Camaro that is already in the process of putting you in your place. And assuming that Camaro owners will subject you to mass abuse is underestimating the kind of fans you are dealing with. The word Camaro means friend and if your stubborn nature allows you to learn anything, I hope it will at least absorb the fact that not all car enthusiasts share your negative sentiment. I wish you and your website the best of luck and I hope that you can find something useful to do with your talents. Maybe build a competitor for the Camaro? Bashing it should not be nearly as lucrative.
The article focused on Camaro because it’s a new model; there was no intent to target Camaro as such. I’ve mentioned I am a former Camaro owner several times over (and current Firebird owner). I love GM F cars; I love muscle cars. That’s not the point, though.
We’re barely into 2011; spring and summer (especially) sales will definitely give us an indication as to the future.
Eric I get what you are saying about Gas and all, but if gas hits 5 which there’s no chance in hell, then cars esp not just this segment won’t be the only thing thats not being brought but tons of other things would be going out of business as well. These so called people that predict $5 a gallon who know nothing about the industry, and those of us in the industry like myself know we are far off from having 5 dollar a gallon gas. Crude would need to hit 200 a barrel and its barley at 106 right now. Just think 2008 all over again when prices spiked at 147, once that happens oil pretty much stops moving as economies all over start to shut down. Once the speculators stop running the price up and have no more BS excuses to use such as Middle East unrest and things, oil will drop and so will gas.
Why do you think there’s no chance in hell gas will hit $5? It’s already over $4 in some areas. That’s for regular. Gas almost always goes up during the summer months, so there’s that… figure at least another 10-30 cents, which puts premium at or very near $5 by July.
The price of crude is continuing to go up and the various Chimpouts going on in Libya, etc., are not helping. Then there’s inflation – a very real deal that is also affecting the cost of fuel… I’m not making this stuff up. It’s happening, right now. And many people are – understandably – waiting to see what happens before they decide to buy a new car. Any new car…
Oh I know it’s happening what I’m saying is the people predicting $5 and crazy crude amounts have no more a clue then the anyone else. I run operations for a Petroleum company here in Michigan and deal with the markets and variable factors on a daily basis. We can’t even predict the future of three weeks let along a whole year worth. The market is a spot market, and it’s not 100% true that gas and oil prices always go up in the summertime, I have many years, graphs and trends of our company historical data that shows this as well.
As I said before it’s the speculators that cause the price of high prices, because the supply is actually less now then what it was at it’s peak in 2008 when crude was hard to come by. Yet we see high numbers because of the future trading of commodities and the Libya situtation is just an excuse and reason to use to justify moving the prices up. That country is less then 3% of the world’s oil supply so explain why whatever they do there should have a major impact? Really shouldn’t here in the states since we don’t import any oil from that country.
I agree that (to a great extent) the reasons for the upticks are BS (i.e., not the result of short supplies). But ultimately, the thing that matters to you and me and everyone else out there is the price on the pump, right? Not the reason for the price.
I hope you’re right that it’s a temporary fluke. But the situation is certainly ominous-looking, at least…
What’s arguably just as bad as – maybe even worse than – high prices is the uncertainty. $4 today; maybe $5 in a few months. Maybe not – but who knows? When you buy a car, you want to know at least approximately what it’s likely going to cost to feed it. It’s a disincentive to buy a car that might cost 20 (or 30) percent more to fuel a year from now.
Hell, it costs me almost $50 to fill up the tank of little POS four-cylinder truck at current prices! That’s harsh enough. And my tank’s only about 15 gallons and the truck is decent on gas. If you drive a car with a 20 gallon tank and gas goes to $5 per gallon that’s $100 to fill up. Once a week, that’s $400 a month… just for gas. That’s as much as many people’s car payment. For the car.
Maybe it’s just me – and maybe I’m po’ – but the situation seems to be getting outta hand…
I thought the major reason for the uptick in price is more demand from India, China, and other nations with expanding economies and auto industries. -like Obama said yesterday
I’am bit late to leave a reply, but at two hundred a barrel the price would be in the range of $6.50. When you say you work in the industry, can I expect to see you pumping my gas?
I’ve read your article back from 2006 predicting the demise of the 5th generation camaro. This article appears to have less sheer conjecture than your original article; but, it contains a fairly glib analysis of selectively obtained facts.
You’re comparing sales figures from today against sales figures from the 1970’s and 1980’s, a horribly flawed comparison to say the least. Today, there are hundreds of nameplates available to the consumer, leaving each individual brand with a smaller piece of the pie. You compare Camaro sales figures of the past with the present; but, you failed to compare sales figures of the present-day Camaro with its present-day counterparts. If you’d done that, you’d have found that, since it went on sale, the 5th generation Camaro has out-sold its primary competition, the Ford Mustang, in all but I believe two calendar months.
In addition, you write as if the V8 Camaro is the only configuration that exists. At roughly $23,000, the base V6 is good performance bargain and has proven to be an achievable price-point for all of the supposedly destitute 20-somethings you wrote about in this article and the previous one.
Finally, if you consider the full range of vehicles available to consumers today, the fuel economy of the V6 (and even the V8) Camaro is not bad. You’d be hard pressed to do better for the cost (which, again, isn’t bad either) and performance. Personally, the majority of people in my area of Southern California drive heavy trucks and SUV’s; a V6 Camaro is downright thrifty in comparison.
In conclusion, you have a vehicle that has popular styling (which you predicted would be the crux of its failure in your 2006 article), has out-sold all of its direct competitors since launch (which you intentionally failed to mention), and has relatively good fuel economy. Not exactly a recipe for early failure.
LOL at this guy that’s all you can do.
I second that LOL
Camaro has Japanese level quality and outsold ALL of its competition.
Any of you guys read my replies? Thoughts? Maybe I am completely off my gourd on this one…
WOW this guy was wrong in 2006 when he wrote how the camaro would fail and is wrong now. Forget that you fail to mention that the “ONLY” 81,xxx sales lead the market and was a killer of mustang sales that offered a vert and super GT500. LOL at this guy for only talking about the V-8 and failing to mention you can get into a Camaro for 23,000 and thats with 312hp and 29mpg, haha yeah thats not fuel efficent at all huh?
And to think 20-30 year olds aren’t buying this car up is dumb go over to camaro5.com and see just how many are, LOL I’m 28 and own a 2SS which I paid 38,000 for and yes it’s my second car and I could care less about gas prices. Oh yeah I also own a 2006 BMW M6, 2007 300 touring and have my own house. So to think 20-30 year olds can’t have money or live at home is dumb as well, as my circle of friends are making just as much if not more as I am. Get over yourself and give respect where it’s due. Good day sir, but please stop writing junk articles.
The Camaro’s a great car; I never said otherwise (see my review, also posted here). And – disclosure – I’ve owned four Camaros myself. So I don’t hate the car, or cars like it – quite the opposite. I’m glad that you enjoy your SS (and BMW) but the fact is you/your demographic (income wise) are not mass-market representative and Camaro is a mass-market kind of car (unlike, say Corvette). GM has to sell a lot of Camaros, consistently, over time, for the exercise to be viable. And as noted in the article, the numbers have been sagging – which I attribute to the obvious: Gas is creeping back to $4 a gallon and most people – working and middle class people – are either not in a position to buy or are reluctant to buy a not-cheap coupe that (for anyone under 35) is also expensive to insure and (if you get the V-8) expensive to feed, too.
Look, I’m with you in spirit. I like the car and wish it well. I’d like to see Camaros all over the place, like back in the ’80s. But gas isn’t $1.12 per gallon anymore and unemployment is three times what it was back then (at least).
Maybe things will get better. If they don’t, I don’t see how Camaro can survive.
You wrote a similar article to this back in 2006 and I found that article as full of conjecture and opinion if not wishful thinking as this one is.
If I say it is going to rain today eventually I will be right but I look like a fool every day until it does. None the less time is on my side and at some point my predictions will come true. It has been almost five years you have been predicting the demise of the fifth generation Camaro. Don’t stop now eventually it will happen. Time is on your side. Don’t mind if we chuckle at your expense in the interim and laugh out loud when we see the “see I told you so article”..
Well, a couple of points: The car has only been out on the market for two years now (barely). And while initial sales were good, there has been a downward trend since, especially over the past 3-6 months. But my broader argument isn’t with Camaro as such (as you seem to think it is). I like the car; I wrote a complimentary review of the car. But that doesn’t mean I think it – or cars like it – are long-term viable in an economy with a dying middle and working class, 10 percent unemployment and $4 gas. The latter, especially, is probably enough to kill it. And $5 gas may be just around the corner…
You do realize that Camaro sales have outpaced Mustang and Challenger sales since the car was re-released, right?
Yes – and that’s good. But, to go back to my main point – it’s not that the car is bad (it’s very good; I never said otherwise). It’s that the environment it must deal with – including gas back to $4 a gallon and very likely to go higher, soon; a precarious economy, generally – is not the ticket for new car sales, period. But for cars that are inherently impractical, expensive to buy and own (fuel and insurance), etc. it’s even more so. Do you disagree?
I hope the car survives – but I wouldn’t bet on it given the conditions out there.
That’s my assessment based on 20 years of covering the biz, incidentally. I understand you and other Camaro fans are emotionally invested and really love the car. But the factors I mention are just as real as your love for the Camaro.
For its sake – for all our sakes – I hope things turn around…
While perusing the local Ford dealer last weekend, I checked out the Mustang GT convertible in the showroom. With the aftermarket exhaust they had added, the sticker price was over $41K. That’s insane! I’m not in the poor house, but there is no way I’d pay that for a Mustang.
BTW: I came of age in the late 60s and had a few V-8 Chevys, etc.
One – two – things many people don’t take into account when buying a new car (any new car) is the annual property tax screwing and also the cost to insure. In my area (VA) the annual property tax bill on my ancient (’98) Nissan Frontier is still $150. I can only imagine what it’d be on a $30,000 new car. And insurance. Lawsee. If you are under 35 and own a new V-8 muscle car, that can be $2,000 or even more a year, depending on where you live. These two things can amp up the ownership cost of a car faster (and higher) than many people realize going into it. Let’s just hope gas doesn’t sail past $5 per gallon this summer!
Hey silly bird while you have annual propety tax on your cars not every state does that. Never even heard of it till you said something. If you are referring to license tag renewal that’s not anything to worry about. So let me tell you on my 38,000 2SS its 163 a year for my renewal hardly any money to worry about and my issurance is 1260 or so for a whole year to issure my car and I’m 28 years old. Also it’s a second car and I could care less about high gas prices. I can easily afford it.
You’re lucky you don’t have personal property taxes on motor vehicles; many of us have to deal with it. Just as an example, my county is about to jack up the rate, so that the owner of vehicle with a value of $25,000 would pay $860 a year in personal property tax on that vehicle. That’s in Virginia – and it’s a definite disincentive to buy a new car (any new car) even in good times…
As far as insurance: $1,260 a year isn’t cheap for most people; that’s $6,300 over five years – close to an additional 20 percent on top of the $38k you paid for the car itself. I’m glad you are doing well enough for that to be small change; I assure you that for many other people it isn’t. And consider yourself lucky. $1,260 is a deal for a full coverage policy for a 28-year-old on a $38k SS.
You must know someone … or maybe you have the negatives….
I just wanted to say sorry for the silly bird comment. That was not needed.
Dude – it’s cool! Look at my avatar!
For every overpriced Camaro I see 100 new Mustangs. The Camaro needs to visit Jenny Craig. It is tweaked for performance that it does not deliver. The interior is shall we say “A little strange”.
The Mustang on the other hand is de-tuned and you can double the horsepower for about 7 G’s – your Insurance agent won’t know anything and it will still be 5K less than a Camaro. For that kind of loot get a Vette and roll in style!
As a guy who knew both the Camaro and the Dodge Challenger in their heyday, the Camaro revamp is as stupid in concept as it is in appearance. The Challenger remake is at least respectful to it’s progenitor.
When I had a Camaro SS press car a few months back, I parked it next to my ’76 Trans-Am. It dwarfed the old Pontiac, which (in its time) was considered a pretty big car. The new Camaro is massive (and super heavy). Looks are in the eye of the beholder, so I wont slam the aesthetics, but the function is terrible. The car has poor ergonomics (difficult/awkward to get into; uncomfortable seats) and some terrible blind spots due to the roofline/glass. I’ve owned five second and third gen. Camaros and Firebirds, so I’m not saying this out of “hate” for GM or the Camaro. It just doesn’t have much appeal for me. It – and the Mustang/Challenger – are way to expensive, over-teched with safety crap and just not my bag, baby. Yes, a new Z28 or Mustang GT would clean my old Trans-Am’s clock. I don’t care. Mine makes me feel good just looking at it.
This generation of muscle car are freaking obnoxiously huge. I do like the styling, but don’t dig the size. They look like they’ve been inflated with air and expanded in all directions.
Part of the reason for that is safety (mandate) compliance costs – as well as the not-mandatory (but still very important in terms of public perception) crash test scores from outfits like Consumer Reports and so on. At least the Challenger has a people-friendly back seat and a huge trunk. Its quality control – from what I’ve seen, at least – is inferior to the Camaro, so I wouldn’t buy it myself for that reason. But I do like it and – to me – it feels/looks the most like the original-era muscle cars. I had a buddy in HS who had a 383 Challenger; also another friend who owned a ’71 GTX 440. Good times!