Camaro’s Crisis

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It’s 1975 all over again – for the Chevy Camaro.

That year, there was no Z28 and the next year there was almost no Camaro. Chevy – GM management – came very close to cancelling both the Camaro and its sister car, the Pontiac Firebird, because of wilting sales.

Things are much worse now than they were back in ’75.

So far this year, Chevy has sold 29,551 Camaros.

In ’75 – a bad year for Camaro – 145,770 were sold.  The more relevant figure to GM’s current predicament may be last year’s sales – which were more than twice this year’s – 67,940 cars sold.

There are still four months left in this year, so it will  probably not be that bad by the end of the year, but it is still bad enough. GM is publicly worried enough that it has announced it will be cutting the 2019 Camaro’s price by $1,000 to $25,995 and offering a new and lower-cost 1LE Turbo performance package to go with the four cylinder engine that is the current Camaro’s standard engine. GM believes this will make the Camaro more competitive with the Ford Mustang, which also offers a turbo four – and outsells the Camaro dramatically.

So far this year, Ford has found homes for 48,362 Mustangs. That’s a difference of almost 20,000 cars so far and no small thing.

Dodge is also selling more Challengers than Chevy is Camaros – and the 2018 Challenger is the same car, more or less, as the 2008 Challenger. It hasn’t been significantly updated in a decade while Camaro has been radically updated just recently.

But that brings us to the Camaro’s problem – which isn’t really a sales problem.

It is a Camaro problem.

Back in ’75, the problem wasn’t Camaro. It was the government. Like the Iron Sheik, Uncle had put cars like the Camaro in the camel clutch and made them humble. Emissions regs and the introduction of low-octane unleaded gas – necessary for the catalytic converters which had come online that year – were strangling the power of the muscle cars’ formerly muscular V8s.

In 1975, the Camaro’s strongest V8 made 175 horsepower, almost 200 horsepower less than the 1970 Z28 Camaro’s V8 produced.

And in ’70, there was a Z28; by ’75, it had been withdrawn out of respect for its lineage.

Federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety mandates had also uglified the Camaro’s formerly beautiful face.

The exterior shape of the ’70 model (first year for the series which lasted through to 1981) had been designed by Bill Mitchell, who took his inspiration from the Ferraris of the mid-late 1960s – which were cars designed by men who appreciated beauty. Who were not men like Ralph Nader and the like whose feminine obsession with saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety took precedence, not because people were clamoring for it but because people like Nader controlled the government, which was forcing it down people’s throats.

Chevy had to replace both the front and rear clips with a blunted design and hung heavy and hideous full-length bumpers across them both in order to comply with the recently passed 5 MPH bumper-impact mandate.

The ’75 cars were much slower – and much less  attractive – than the earlier cars. People were turned off – sales were down – and it seemed certain The End was near.

It had already come for all the other muscle cars. By ’75, there was no more Challenger, no more GTO, no more much of anything worth being interested in. The Mustang survived as a downsized shadow of its former self, sharing a platform with the Pinto. Initially, the Mustang II didn’t even offer a V8.

But GM – smarter back then than it is today – understood that the issue wasn’t Camaro; it was the external forces just described. They knew the car was sound and that what was needed was what was lacking on account of the government – power and looks.

They got to work on both.

By ’77, the Z28 had returned. It wasn’t as powerful as previous Z28s – just 185 hp out of its 350 cubic inch V8 – but it had style and was fun. GM worked near miracles with the Ugly Betty front and rear clips, first with the Firebird – which got body-colored Enduro front and rear clips in ’76 that hid the Ugly Betty bumpers under those covers and gave the cars back the streamlined and graceful look the government had taken away.

Camaro got the same treatment in ’78.

A sales tsunami ensued. In 1987, total production was up to 272,631 cars. The next year – 1979 – it would approach 300,000. Which for perspective is about the same number of Camrys Toyota sells today in a market with twice the buying-age population.

Fast forward to 2018 and today’s sales. The problem now is Camaro.

The times are fine. Witness the sales of Mustang – and Challenger. 

It is definitely not a horsepower problem, either. The 2019 Camaro comes standard with a 295 horsepower engine – 100-plus horsepower more than the hot-selling ’77 Z28 offered – and it is very quick: zero to 60 in 5.4 seconds. That’s quicker than the top-of-the-line 1970 Z28, which had a V8 – not a turbo four.

So what is the problem, specifically?

The current Camaro is a styling and ergonomic mess. It has an unusable back seat (there’s so little legroom that GM doesn’t even publish the legroom number) that it is effectively a two-seater and a trunk so tiny (9.1 cubic feet – smaller than a Miata’s) as to make the car useless, except as a Speed Car. 

But that’s what people buy Corvettes for.

And the Corvette has a 15 cubic foot cargo area – despite being a much smaller car (177.9 inches long vs. 188.3 inches long for the Camaro) and so is a more useful car as well as an easier to park car.

It also easier to drive.

Because you can see.

In the current Camaro, it’s hard to see anything because of the car’s cat-slit side glass and chopped roofline. It is also disproportionately long and wide. The thing feels enormous and oafish even though it is light and powerful.

It is profoundly a car for young – and single – guys. Who can overlook its deficits for the sake of its performance.

The problem with that is there are only so many of those – and most of them have been buying Mustangs or Challengers instead. Probably because their girlfriends and wives will still talk to them afterward.

So cutting the price probably isn’t going to cut it. Camaro needs a redesign that will make it more like the successful Camaros of the past and a lot less like the Camaro being sold – sort of – today.

GM has lost sight of the fact that horsepower and performance – while obviously important things to people who buy cars like Camaro – are not the only things.

. . .

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82 COMMENTS

  1. Like Eric has said many times – the idea of owning a “performance” car with jack booted local nazis salivating at every turn doesn’t make a lot of sense. It never really did in higher traffic city locations. Do I still own some – yep! Still turns girls on ha.

  2. “The Mustang survived as a downsized shadow of its former self, sharing a platform with the Pinto. Initially, the Mustang II didn’t even offer a V8.”

    And when it did, it was a Pinto with an anemic 140 HP engine. Damn gubmint!

  3. American auto makers better hope that Google or Amazon don’t start making cars. They are already making noises about that I think, though mostly centered on the “self driving” type. Probably they would want all electric, another big problem if they try. But they are already quasi monopolies and who’s to stop them?

    If and when the Chinese get their internal roads built and finished, so they have tens of thousands of miles to drive like we do, we are likely to see an explosion of vehicles from there. Not just cheap econoboxes, but even sport vehicles. Millions of young Chinese may well spark a revival of muscle cars. They can’t stay in those tiny apartments forever. Once they get room to drive, hot wheels (and hot babes) may well revive the entire vehicle segment from there. But not in Camaros.

    • Hi Muggles,

      Google and Amazon building cars isn’t going to happen for the same reason Musk can’t make cars (well, he can make them) but you’re right about the Chinese – and because China is a freer country than this one.

      I wish more Americans would stop to think about this.

      China – and Russia – are freer places, in terms of myriad everyday liberties to do as people please, than the the United States has become.

  4. OK, you guys are over-thinking this. The Camaro doesn’t sell because it’s associated with a really crappy CBS television show – Hawaii Five-O. If you want to be a super big tough police state thug who beats the crap out of everybody, doesn’t bother reading rights, or shows the least concern For civil liberties or the law, well this is the car for you! 😉

    • Hi Bill,

      You may be on to something! The Camaro used to be an outlaw car… hell, I owned several back in my youth (including a memorable ’80 Z28 with a built 350).

      Damn. I miss that car.

  5. Problem is, if I had to do it again, I’d of gotten a Camaro.

    Mustangs nice, but after driving both (Had a ’16 SS Convertible when I went to San Diego last year), would of gotten the Camaro if the 6th gen was available at the time

    Now though, if I wanted to replace my Audi and Mustang, I’d get a Challenger, since it’s got the power and despite being a big girl, way more practical (Back row, trunk big enough for a body or two).

    Camaro’s a fun toy, but that’s just it. Not as practical as either, and while the Challenger does have blindspots as well, at least it compensates with a usable back row and retro presence, plus I hear the clutch is better for DD as well

  6. Some time back I drove up to a dealership in my 2005 GTO and test drove the 2016 Camaro SS. Drove back home in the 2005 GTO. The old Pontiac is still a drivers car: great visibility, solid predictable handling, and of course a real hand brake. About the only thing that seemed better on the Chevy was the gear box: a lot shorter/tighter throw (which I prefer) vs than the Pontiac. Apparently the 2016 Chevy has 55 more HP vs the old Pontiac as well, but, I couldn’t notice it.

    Maybe I just wasn’t used to the Chevy on the test drive and didn’t get the most out of it, but, I don’t think I could get ever enjoy the ‘drive by instruments’ (believe me you’ll need those blind spot monitors) of the new Camaro.

    Incidentally, a some time later I bought the ‘Chevrolet SS’ (not the Camaro, but the 4 door sedan). It actually seems a better ‘drivers car’ (aside for the asinine e-brake, which the Camaro has anyway).

  7. I’m surprised to hear all the hate towards what is arguably the best handling most attractive car in it’s class. I wouldn’t touch a Mustang (aka shitstang) with someone else’s hands and the the Dodge alternative is a land yacht. Sure the Camaro has a small back seat but it’s not a Camry. People buying sports cars don’t seem to care as much about utility as they do about performance and looks. I’d actually consider buying a new Camaro if I didn’t live in the rocky mountain region.

    • The tiny windows are just ludicrous. It takes what has been an unfortunate industry tend in recent years to a ridiculous extreme.

      • Hi Jason,

        The current Camaro is unlivable for a guy my height (6ft 3). My head brushed up against the left side headliner, uber annoying and claustrophobic-feeling. Sight lines are terrible. And yet, despite an interior that’s much more cramped than a Miata’s, you are driving this blunderbuss of a car that feels as though it’s wider than most travel lanes.

        I’ve owned give older F cars and they were all much better designed, if not as well put together as the new one.

        • Dear Eric,

          So true.

          When the Corvair was unfairly maligned GM was a victim of Naderite political persecution.

          The current Camaro damage, on the other hand, is primarily self-inflicted. Just plain bad design and bad decision making.

          The current Camaro puts me in mind of online images of grossly overweight shoppers at Walmart.

    • Hi AMS,

      You miss the point. While you like the current Camaro, obviously, most buyers prefer the Mustang and the Challenger. Why? It’s not “hate.” It’s because they consider the Mustang and Challenger to be better-designed cars.

      If, as you claim, Camaro were the “most attractive” car in its class, it would sell better than it does.

      As far as “handling”: It’s a non sequitur. By which I mean an irrelevance. Maybe, on a race track, with a race car driver behind the wheel, a Camaro is a few tenths quicker around a road course than a Mustang. But on the street, in the hands of 99 percent of drivers, the car’s limits will never be tested – either the Camaro’s or the Mustang’s. Both cars are far more capable than the majority of drivers and so their “handling” – if you mean their cornering threshold and so on – is an irrelevance.

      What is relevant is the way they feel when driving. And the Camaro feels enormous. It is an awkward car to drive. I state this as a guy who test drives new cars every week and who has driven every version of Camaro (and Mustang) made since the mid-’90s.

      The useless trunk and back seats are just the straws that broke the camel’s back.

      Keep in mind that Camaro is not a sports car. A Miata is a sports car.

      And it has a more useful trunk and much better ergos.

        • Roger that, AMS!

          PS: I am a big F car guy. I own a second gen (’76 TA) and have owned several Camaros, including two Z28s. But the current car doesn’t light my fire, even though it is a very quick car, for all the reasons listed in the article. The current car is trying too hard to be a husky Corvette. It needs a major redesign. It has many of the same problems the last gen. cars had… and we know what happened to them… I don’t say this with relish.

          Quite the opposite.

    • The Dodge Challenger is strictly speaking not in the same category as the Camaro and Mustang.

      it’s a muscle car that ought to be compared to the Pontiac GTO or Olds 442, not pony cars.

      That said, if money was burning a hole in my pocket, the Challenger is what I would buy. it’s the most sensible vehicle of the three in terms of utility by far. Lateral acceleration on the skidpad be damned.

      • Yeah bevin, but it IS made by Chrysler. The wife rented one a couple years ago, not because she wanted it but was late getting there and it was the only thing left. Judging by the mileage, I’d guess it was the only thing left every day.

        I was standing at the drivers door after we’d put her luggage in. Doors open inside lights will be on so I just wondered out loud what sort of godawful light that could possibly be at the bottom of the passenger door. It would knock your eyes out. Closer examination turned out to be the sun reflected between the door and the gasket……oh well. Oh, and it was a gas hog too. It was a close race in mpg between it and that school bus Toyota mini(sic)van. I got in that van and folded down every seat except the drivers so she could have a bit more vision which mainly just helped to the side since nothing but sky was visible through the rear window.

        • Dear 8,

          You have a point. Lol!

          I guess the only alternative is “Azian” then. Mazda and Subaru for example. Both these companies make cars meant to be driven by serious car guys.

          • Sounds good on the surface bevin but I can no longer afford multiple vehicles so when I have money to upgrade it has to be a pickup and since only the Big 3 make pickups that can do what I need……….it’ll be a Chevy, Dodge or Ford since GMC’s are so loaded they have options I can’t even pronounce and don’t have a clue as to what they are….and don’t need.

            I used to drive performance cars and super-bikes….and have sex many times a week. Distant memories……

              • bevin, my take on them is simple, they lack strength in the frame, in suspension including their steel wheels. 10 years ago when Toyota offered their first 3/4 ton models a lot of farmers and ranchers bought them like my neighbor did and used or tried to use them like a Big 3 unit. It was a bust and Toyota even went so far as to discourage gooseneck use since pickups tend to be overloaded according to factory ratings, something everyone including the manufacturer turned a blind eye to.

                It was a non issue for the big 3 since they were overbuilt.

                A couple years ago I was waiting to load at a big quarry. Life is tough at those places and pickups have to be tough just to drive around them.

                A couple company pickups drove near my truck and stopped waiting for something I no longer recall.

                One was a 2005 Duramax 3/4 ton ext cab 4wd and the other a 10 year newer Toyota of the same flavor but gasoline.

                I noticed the Toy had a small light workbed with only a toolbox and no gooseneck hitch.

                I asked the driver about it and he told me it was a lightweight POS. I had already noted the small springs and axle housings. He pointed to the Duramax the other employee was driving and said That old Duramax has had no problem with any thing out here including having a couple big toolboxes, a compressor and a welder mounted on it and being tasked for heavy gooseneck work and pulling these big loaders around when they breakdown.

                The loaders were all in the range of 980 H Cat’s, 12 yard bucket machines that only require 2 buckets to load a semi..or even way overload it.

                He went on to say the Toy drove the same roads as the Duramax but had had 3 right front wheels bent where the Chevy had no problems.

                He went on to say they were about to get a new fleet and were going back to Chevrolet.

                I’ve worked around thousands if not tens of thousands of pickups in the oilfield. While you saw Toyotas to some degree and a few Nissans, they were never the workhorse pickups. They’d have factory beds and not heavy workbeds. People used them like the Ford half ton pickups with the tiny beds, just mainly for one person to drive who actually did no real work, the point and look crowd.

                All real truck work was done with 3/4 and 1 ton Big 3 pickups.

                A couple years ago a friend’s wife bought herself a Toyota crew cab tiny bed SS with the 5.7 L engine. To this day that pickup that never carries a load larger than 2 grandchildren and diaper bags gets 13 mpg….since day one.

                I was cussing my 2000 Z 71 recently to her husband because it gets 13.5 to 14 mpg at 75 to 80mph. He laughed and pointed out that Toyota had always gotten 13 mpg.

                I’m not one to make excuses for a vehicle, it is what it is. My 2000 Z 71 is a raving POS upside my old 93 Chevy that had better everything including every handle on it being steel and the same handles on the Z being plastic. Nice, durable, comfortable Captains chairs on the 93 and junky uncomfortable seats on the Z.

                Every thing including fuel mileage on the 93 was better. It was solid, quiet as a vault and handled worlds above the Z.

                Few people I know who work pickups wouldn’t rather have their old early 90s pickup than a new one and that includes Chevy, Dodge and Ford owners.

                Everything that screwed and bolted together on the old trucks, snaps and pops together on new ones. Plastic pieces of shit with sorry seats, plastic body parts and one piece throw away mechanical units. No inner and outer bearings on a hub, just a single dry bearing that’s simply a throwaway part.

                Bearings loose? Replace the entire hub assembly.

                The neighbor has a 2017 Chevrolet 3/4 ton crew cab 4 wd with no redeeming qualities except a decent ride and handling. An 11 mpg gasoline pickup.

                Japanese pickups included, none are getting better. You see 2 year old pickups with seats that are worn out.

                • Dear Nunz,

                  I’m recuperating after surgery to remove a tumor pressing on my spinal chord nerves in the neck region, which has led to partial paralysis in my hand.

                  Bummer.

                  Sounds like the Japanese PUs have the quality control okay, but simply made their trucks way too light and thin. Not enough steel where there needed to be more steel.

                  Pity.

                  • Ah, dear Bevin, I wish you a complete and speedy recovery!

                    Yes, what you say is indeed the case with the Japanese trucks. They’re just not beefy enough where they need to be.

                    It would probably be quite an undertaking for the Japanese to make the heavier-duty frames and other components needed, since they have never really made pick-ups as big and heavy as the Big 3. Their current manufacturing facilities are probably just not geared to cope with such specs.

                    If they ever wanted to invest in doing so though, I’d imagine now would be the time, what with trucks being so popular here, and the quality of the American ones declining.

                    • Nun, 10 years go it was supposed to be a mileage thing since shrubco allowed the oil cartel to push fuel prices sky high(I’ll never forget having to pay $5.26/gallon for #2 fuel in ’08) saying the price was based on “futures”. WS can conjure up any price for anything for “futures” but that doesn’t mean that’s the real market price.

                      This is another one of those corporate things(and none, except banking is bigger than oil)where we get fucked at will. I like to truck in the patch since it’s much more interesting and pays better but I won’t try to tell you oil companies are not govt. supported since Harry Truman made that plain in ’43 at a summit of “US allies” saying “the US is committed to do anything it takes to protect the oil in the middle east”. And so it’s been ever since. But there’s a lot of small guys in the patch and I prefer to work for them.

                      Back in 09 I came across a group of independents in Midland Tx. who had a “summit” every morning over coffeee and had “manuveurs” every week-end. They were committed oilfield people but had no illusions about XOM and the like nor the fatwas handed down by the fed govt to oil companies and support companies.

                      These wildcatters had a distinctly Texas view of it all that didn’t jive with federal “regulations”.

                      You’ll find this goes back to the first part of the 20th century when govt. would make all sorts of “laws” regarding price, production and every other aspect.

                      Between 1900 and 1938 or so there was a “war” between govt. regulators and independent oil producers in Tx. It was lethal at times.

                      During prohibition, the feds had a hard time getting “revenuers” to go to Tx. since they seemed to “disappear”.

                      Some of the most famous/infamous bootleggers were originally sent to Tx. as prohibitionist law enforcers. There were 2 ways this could work. You could become part of the local production or you could disappear.

                    • 8, wasn’t it Obozo The Clown (as opposed to Shrub The Clown) who said the “futures” thing?

                      That was the most ABSURD thing i had ever heard in my life. How could someone in such a position, and heard by so many people, get away with such an ignorant or dishonest statement?!

                      ….but the sheer number of people I’ve encountered who actually believe that it is so, I guess explains.

                      It’s like saying that roulette players determine where the ball will stop!

                  • bevin, glad to hear you’re recuperating. The hand thing really is a bummer.

                    Japanese pickups don’t have quality control as I see it. I have run one into the ground engine and transmission-wise along with a/c and even had the bed rot out while I could grow a wheat crop every winter with my 82 Chevy that had a galvanized bed.

                    They don’t make em like that anymore for sure. Plain old chrome factory front bumper made mincemeat out of mesquite trees and had pushbars that worked quite well to boot.

                    I came on a 6′ round bale of hay in the middle of US 180 one day and there’s this guy standing there with his family in a car motioning me around it. I stopped and backed up to it so he came over and did his hut hut thing telling me he was a deputy sheriff in a county over 100 miles east of me and blah blah blah. I could have cared less and his instructions seemed to bounce off me….hmmmm. I shoved the bale off the highway and nailed it pointed the way I had been going leaving him to think whatever he liked.

                    They just don’t get it for whatever reason. He didn’t even seem to realize Roy, the 75 lb pit bull was drilling holes in him. Roy didn’t take kindly to anyone getting too near “his” pickup. I had his back.

              • Hello Bevin,

                How are you doing?

                Eight took the words out of my mouth!

                The frames are most obvious weak points that one can notice right away just by looking. The Toyota trucks may be good cars- for the suburbanite who wants to carry an occasional sheet of plywood (Well, it won’t fit in the bed) or sports gear and what-not….but for something to do any work, like a real pick-up should- i.e. around construction sites; towing; farm stuff, etc. they’re just not in the running (And sadly, the American trucks are going the same way).

                When it comes to cars though, Toyota is probably the last great car company.

                My dopey sister has an old Fox-body 4cyl. Mustang, and I keep telling her that she whould sell it before it falls apart (Until recently, people would come up to her in parking lots and make offers! Darn good offers!), and that she could use the proceeds to get an old (newer than the 92 ‘Stang) Corolla or Camry that’ll last her the rest of her life…but of course, she always does the stupid thing….

                I wish Toyota would make a “real” truck!

                Nissan? Meh…they’ve been going downhill for a long time now- and now that they are partnered with Renault & Mitsubishit… 🙁

                But how the American manufucturers can even sell one of their crappy cars, when any American can buy a Toyota, just defies logic.

                Or that someone would spend tens of thousands more to buy a stupid Tesla….when they could have a much better Toyota for far less…..

  8. I think price is part of the reason still. I bought a 2010 1SS with a few options and a $1300 automatic transmission. The car stickerd for $33K and change. Today I see new SS’s in the fourties and fifties! That’s a whole different/older/richer demographic.

    • Hi Anonymous,

      I agree. $40k-plus for a Camaro? However quick it is, it’s a . . . Camaro. Not an insult. But a statement. It’s not a Porsche – and should not be trying. There are already Porsches. Camaro was cool because it gave regular guys access to Porsche-slaying performance for a third the cost of the Porsche.

      Not anymore.

      • Have you checked Porsche prices lately?
        The Porsche range is roughly 2.5-3X the Camaro range. You can get a 300-400hp Porsche for 60-90K. If you want more than 400hp you’re looking at 6 figures. I suppose the lowest end of both ranges comes in around 2X. But it always pretty much did.

  9. What everybody else says Way too expensive, iferior product), plus the same reason very few bright colored cars are sold any more. In a police state like USSA 2018, anything that attracts the attention of the gestapo is to be avoided. So all the “sporty” cars will die. A future of beige Prius clones awaits. But I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free(tm)…

  10. I think they effectively killed it when it went to the Alpha (and smaller) platform in ’16, for all the reasons you stated Eric. It is really a great car, just too fricken small.
    The Alpha platform is also under the ATS and a lengthened version in the CTS.
    I’ve owned an ATS and while it was fun, it just ended up being way to small for anything in life other than sporty drives by myself. I traded it in one year and got a 300.

  11. i really wanted one because on paper the SS is a discount corvette and i could tell my wife that it has back seats. it also beats the mustang on paper for handling and acceleration. What scares me the most is the universally agreed upon blind spots and poor visibility. It looks like i’ll have to work and save until im middle aged and buy a corvette like every other middle aged guy who likes sports cars. I might like the automatic by the time im that age too.

  12. I drove one of the convertibles earlier this year. What a P.O.S.
    Windows are tiny. All around. I had a newer Challenger and those had small windows but holy crap, this thing is pathetic.
    The back corners are like 2-foot walls; you can’t see a damned thing so you have this massive blindspot.
    It’s cramped. While the backseat is worthless, the entire thing is small. I’ve driven Mustangs as well and while they’re smaller than the Challenger (that thing was a yacht), there was still room. The Camaro just felt so tiny. I’m not a tall man and my head was almost bumping the roof. Getting in I had to find my inner contortionist to work my way in.
    Trunk. With the roof up, it’s small. My suitcase and backpack barely fit in this thing. Heaven forbid if I had a travel companion as their stuff would be in the backseat, which is all the backseat is good for.. Roof down – there is no trunk. You have to pop up this little divider to even lower the roof and it takes over the trunk. You not have enough space for maybe a 12-pack; that’s it.
    Style – It looks like a fattened Corvette. And then GM is hyping up all these other cars they’re possibly releasing which do nothing but change the grill or the trunk. The thing just looks ‘meh’.
    When GM announced the Camaro returning, I thought it could be cool to see the original or even gen2 design coming back, as Chrysler did with the Challenger (shorter than the gen1’s, but maintained some of that look) and they produced a turd.

  13. They managed to make it uglier and look more like that woman in Walmart with the stretch pants on that looks like a litter of pigs is trying to get out. It looks like the huge catfish that’s looking to eat the other catfish. And so it goes, not a whit of originality to be found. They deserve the whipping Mustang(and they’re too damned big and that big pointy nose is ugly from the side but they still look like a Mustang)is no doubt going to put on them.

    I don’t care if it comes with a 100 HP engine you’d still have to look at it and the high-end jobs cost as much as a ‘Vette. We’ve seen this before but not to this extent.

  14. What? The world isn’t riding to GM’s rescue after all the diversity? For shame, for shame…

    Perhaps they just go the wrong combination of genitalia (take that any way you want – GM does).

  15. In all honesty, as sad as it may sound, if you ask me the only hope for the pony car in the future is out in Asia or the developing world. Out there, still are less regulations, less taxes, people are more and risk taking, incomes are rising, and most importantly cars are still considered cool and everything that they were once considered in America….. The first thing a young guy does when he gets a real job is gets the best car he can afford, and then he drives it to the best of his ability, as far as he can….. Priced correctly, I think a pony car would fit in perfectly in that culture…. Just hope the American car manufacturers realise this before its too late….

    • Morning, Nasir!

      I agree with your evaluation 100 percent. The current Camaro is a middle-aged guy’s car. It is much to expensive to buy – and insure – for most guys under 30. And even if you can, what’s the point? It’s almost a capital offense to drive 80 MPH in my state (and others) or “break traction” (i.e., do a burnout).

      You have to be prepared to run from armed government workers and you must have countermeasures (such as radar detectors) to even consider driving more than slightly faster than the speeeeeeeeeeed limit.

      So why buy a car such as this? Even if you can afford to buy – and insure – it?

      • I do have to say this– a couple years ago i rented a ’16 SS and had a blast with it.. BUT the greatest sense of relief I felt was once I returned the Camaro and knew I could go back to driving my bland 10-year old car. With the Camaro, I had it for 3 days, and got pulled over TWICE (in my community). I had no prior offenses for nearly a decade but that Camaro, which was SILVER in color, caused me so much grief and stress (with that blindspot and unwanted law enforcement attention) that I was euphoric upon return. The harassment and being pulled-over for 10 mph over the limit made me realize how much I prefer to just blend in with everybody else.

        • This is why virtually every time you see a Corvette, it is doing the speed limit or less. Think about it- when’s the last time you saw a ‘Vette flying by?

          • Hi Nunz,

            I hate getting cars like the Corvette to drive (when GM used to send them to me). You feel a constant pervasive sense of imminent Doom … that around that next blind curve, there will be an armed government worker.. and if you are doing 49 and the speed limit is 45… you are going to get harassed and collected…

            I’d rather drive my slow truck fast.

  16. A car for “young and single guys” is its problem…. young and single guys in the west, as far as I see these days dont care to buy cars anymore…….

      • Hi Rich,

        My protege – the kid I’ve been helping with the VW – pays $250/month for insurance. He just turned 16; has never had a ticket or an accident. If this is typical, not wonder teenagers have soured on cars. When I was 16 – ’80s – kids could still afford to drive, both the car and the insurance (which it was possible to just skip in those days) and so we did.

        Today?

        Forget about it.

        • Dear goodness, Eric!

          That’s $3,000.00 a year….to drive an old VW…for damage he might cause…. (How much damage could one cause in an old VW Beetle? Probably couldn’t even get a speeding ticket if he tried to on a bet!)

          Imagine what he could do with that money if it weren’t be wasted on essentially nothing?! -Like starting a small bidness (Which is what I did around his age)….or saving it toward another vehicle or a house…I mean, when you look at it for what it is: $3K a year- that is a significant amount of money- and more so for a 16 year-old.

          And this crap is never going to go away in first world countries…. it is just being used to drag people at younger and younger ages into “the system” and into debt. Don’t have a 25 year mortgage? That’s O-K, you’ll have a lifetime of insurance payments, from age 16 till you die- which will not only be the biggest debt in most people’s lives, -unavoidable by even those of us who exchew indebtedness- but a debt for nothing! A debt for something that you will never own; something you can not have and hold; and something which you well may never need.

          Now add health cost-sharing -errr….I mean “insurance”…errr…I mean Obammydontcare to the list of mandatory life-long debts…

          What is next?

          See where this is going? [As if it’s not bad enough where it is already!]

          It’s only going to get worse…and the only way to escape it is to physically extricate oneself from their jurisdiction.

        • Off topic but I would love to know what it would be for something like a 08 Accord or comparable as well as what the cheapest car for a 16yo (in VA) to insure would be.

          • Hi Devin,

            It seems to be the case that it’s not so much the car that matters as the teenager. The kid I mentioned is probably a best-case scenario. He hasn’t had any tickets or accidents; he took the additional “defensive driving” classes. His ride is an old VW. The mafia simply decrees You Will Pay (through the nose) and what choice is there?

            Well, there is one choice. To not bother with it at all and skip driving – which is what many teens are choosing (understandably) to do.

            • you’ll love this one Eric… I have my Maverick insured with probably the biggest classic auto insurer. Been dirt cheap for years. This year it goes up $25. Which is a huge percentage. So I call them. Turns out the state of Illinois told them they couldn’t charge as little as they were charging me and this is the new minimum the state would allow. Talk about a racket.

              • Sheez.. if that happens to me, I will just cancel and “ride dirty.”

                I’m really done with all of this. Just tired and had it. The wheel turned for me. Let them come.

        • Wow, I remember croaking when my 64 Studebaker insurer was asking for $280 per year for base coverage back in 1976 and I was in college, working, studying and only driving to and from work and school. I eventually found another company that charged $180 and took that policy.

          • In that year GEICO left my state because the percentage increases were capped. I went from $200 a year to $400 a year with Allstate. I was more than willing to pay the increase.

  17. Camaro production was discontinued in 2002 and a new Camaro (fifth-generation) wasn’t in production until 2009.

    Prediction: The Camaro will die, as should have GM, when Eric, and the rest of us, were forced to fund their incompetence (bailout). Today, they’re the “Diversity Company” – producing vehicles is secondary.

    • Hi Libertyx,

      I didn’t include this in my article, but: I am a big Camaro fan. Old Camaros. The ones that sold six figures annually. Second and third generation models. They were brilliant designs. They current Camaro is an obscene parody of the ’67-’69 cars, bloated to preposterous proportions. It is like a bad cartoon come to life.

      Someone deserves a beating.

      • You could say that about the Mustang too. It “pays homage” to the old 1965 car because nostalgia is a powerful sales tool. I’m pretty sick and tired of hearing the same “hits from the ’60s, ’70’s and ’80s” in the background all the time and look-alike vehicles are just as bad.

        • Hi RK,

          Yes, true – but the Mustang’s ergonomics are vastly better. It doesn’t feel oafish and you can see out of the thing. It also has a viable back seat and trunk.

          Camaro has become an almost-Corvette that lacks the Corvette’s admirable aspects.

        • Hi Mark,

          Agreed! Even though I am loopy for the second-generation (’70-81) Trans-Am, the first generation (’67-’69) Camaros were – in my opinion – the better looking cars. I’ve also owned several second-generation Camaros and two third generation cars as well.

          It’s sad what’s happened to the current model.

  18. Pony car – affordable, compact, highly styled car with a sporty or performance-oriented image.

    The affordability part is what made this segment thrive before the government and the insurance mafia got involved. I could never justify purchasing a Mustang GT because it was too expensive to insure.

    • Hi Handler,

      Amen.

      As a point of reference, my ’76 TA – top-of-the-line when it was new, with almost every option available – stickered for about $5,800 – which is about what you’d pay in today’s money to get a base-trim Camaro; forget a V8 SS.

      Granted the new car has a lot of power and is very quick – even the base car. But it also has all the crap that people like me don’t want and which young guys – the only real market for cars like this – can’t afford.

  19. GM completely missed the mark and embraced every government fatwa to the detriment of the car.

    It’s designed around regulations and we all know that form following function is a great way to destroy art. It’s heavier than it needs to be.

    Even the base engine only goes 0-60 in 5.4. It’s heavy and as you noted unwieldy. Almost 300 HP and a healthy dose of torque should make an almost 12 second car. But it doesn’t. This car is fat.

    It’s also packaged poorly as you noted, it’s barely holding it’s own against the price and liveability of the base Corvette.

    The Charger and Challenger are not far behind for other reasons (cough *CAFE* cough).

    Doesn’t ultimately matter to me, I like my cars not new (no depreciation).

    But in 5 years there won’t be a proper pony car for me to buy when it’s 15 years old. Good thing I already have a few to enjoy.

    • Ditto all that, Jim!

      I am glad I still have my ’76 TA… which isn’t a bloated monstrosity and doesn’t have air bags or any of the saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety crap I don’t want in a car, especially a performance car. What kind of geek thinks about saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety and shops for cars like this?

  20. I read a review of the Camaro 1LE Turbo at another website, and the comment section was full of people saying how they dislike the new look (the reviewer wasn’t a fan of it either, though its not the focus of the article). GM better get the mid cycle refresh in as soon as they can.

    Can’t say I have seen the new design in person yet.

    • Hi Rich,

      It’s monstrous. I say this as a guy who loves these kinds of cars and who has owned a half dozen over the years. But I would sell this one immediately if GM gave me one. Horrible ergonomics. Terrible visibility. A not-fun car to drive due to these factors and the bloated feel of the thing.

      Drive one – then drive a Mustang.

      You’ll see why the Ford outsells it almost two to one.

      • The Mustang has always outsold the Camaro by 2-1 for decades. The market for both cars is declining. No one can afford a $45-50k “Pony” car. In addition, because cars are in general, so expensive, impractical cars like this will continue to expereince the sales collapse. If you are going to spend $30-50k on a car, it better be able to “do it all.”

        • No shit, swamp. It’s a matter of cost more than anything. Having said that, I can’t tolerate the look of the “new” Camaro. It’s just another “catfish” in a sea of catfishes.

          It’s way too heavy and huge. When GM began making Camaros I was put off by the sheer size of the things. I pulled up beside a new one in the wife’s 95 Cutlass and looked “up” to the driver. From the rear it was obvious with the rear opened up(take saw and cut) I could have driven the Cutlass inside it. This is just madness.

          The styling sucks.

  21. GM made the same mistake before. In the several years leading up to the previous cancellation they kept adding more power for a car people weren’t buying because of its chassis, dated styling (getting covered up with more and more body kit essentially) and interior.

  22. The marketing department is probably hoping for yet another Transformers sequel too. The thing is a movie set piece, not a realistic daily driver. Back when you’d trade in every 3-4 years that’s not as much of a problem as it is today. Can you even see anything out of the back window?

  23. Just another colossal blunder by GM.

    This small market niche is totally partisan. So I don’t think many chevvy boys are “crossing the line” to buy Ford or Mopar. They’d normally buy a performance competitive Camaro, even if it were quite a bit inferior in all other regards. The fact that they are avoiding this very fast car indicates that it must really stink, in all the ways you mentioned, and other ways too.

    Be that as it may, this Golden Age of “affordable” high performance cars will end pretty soon, even for the best of this breed. If you want one, better get it now!

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