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TinotopiaLog → Camaro Production to End (11 Mar 2002)
Monday 11 March 2002

Camaro Production to End

CNN has picked up an AP story about GM’s announcement that production of the Chevrolet Camaro will end after the 2002 model year.

The story is written by a Camaro fan, and it reads, in part:

GM blames the demise of the vehicles on a 53-percent decline in the sports car market since 1990. The world is now a place of low-horsepower, high-mileage economy cars and huge GMC Suburbans and Ford Expeditions. Maybe Camaros just aren’t necessary in a country where the government requires cars to attain an average of 27.5 mpg.

This would explain, of course, why Porsche and BMW are on the rocks, and why Ford has recently not re-introduced the Thunderbird and GT40. Nobody wants cars like that any more.

Oh, wait. Porsche and BMW are making money hand-over-fist, and Ford has re-introduced the Thunderbird and GT40. And the V8 Camaro gets 28 mpg anyway — better than the Honda Prelude.

A more likely explanation is that GM can’t sell the Camaro to anyone but die-hard Camaro fans, because the thing’s a piece of crap. The driveline is hard to beat, but the suspension is sloppy, the interior is plasticky, and the whole thing rattles like only a GM product can.

To be fair, the Camaro is an incredibly cheap car. The 2002 Z28, with a 310-horsepower V8 engine and a 6-speed transmission, goes for $23,000. Nowhere else can you get so much power for such a low price.

And that’s precisely the problem. The Camaro says to the world: “I can afford no more car than this.” If you’re thrifty, you’re not going buy the somewhat impractical Camaro; and if you’re after a good sports car, you’re not going to buy the somewhat brutish Camaro. And since the purchase of a car like this is partly about image, few people with a choice are going to choose a Camaro.

Chevrolet will re-introduce the Camaro, to great fanfare, in a few years. It will be a modern muscle car, with the driveline that Chevy’s done right since 1955, but hopefully with better styling and build quality. In the meantime, don’t try to blame on a non-existent cultural shift what is clearly due to GM management myopia.

Posted by tino at 19:21 11.03.02
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