Chevy Figures the Secret to Winning the Pony Race is Better Cheap Camaros

The Camaro ZL1 1LE is a mighty impressive thing. So is the SS. Both are track weapons that deliver world-beating lap times and both are often compared favorably to supercars when it comes to driver engagement. And yet the Camaro keeps losing pony car market share.

“Frankly, they’ve been eating our lunch,” Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer of the Camaro, told Automotive News. And Oppenheiser figures that the real volume happens at the lower end of the spectrum.

“The low [transaction prices] of a four-cylinder … that’s where the bulk of the sales are and that’s where our pricing strategy needed improvement,” he said. “We plan to go head to head — and win.”

That’s why Chevy has lowered the price of the four-cylinder Camaro. It’s also why Chevy has introduced the Turbo 1LE (which recently received a rave review).

It’s all part of Chevy’s plan, not just to win the pony car race, but to steal the Kia Stinger’s customers and to win over the hot hatch crowd.

“We do a phenomenal job with our loaded SSs, and it’s great business for us, but the reality is there’s an awful lot of people who just want a great looking sports car somewhere in that $30,000 range, and that’s what we’re going to deliver,” Steve Majoros, marketing director for cars and crossovers, told AN.

And that extends beyond the Camaro, too. The Malibu RS (and Chevy’s attitude towards sedans, in general) is being led by a conviction that it should impress value-oriented customers. Giving more for less may not be as profitable, but it will help increase volume.

And “once there’s a groundswell that ‘Hey, it’s affordable performance,’ I think it will gain us back the momentum we need to take over,” says Oppenheiser. “That’s why I come to work every day — to take that crown.”

[source: Automotive News]

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