GM ponders how to replicate success of Camaro in redesign
March 13, 2012
by Rick Kranz
General Motors is wrestling with development of the next-generation Chevrolet Camaro.
GM views the current car as a big success, and the automaker is cautiously taking steps to avoid — well, let's call it screwing up the redesigned Camaro. The car is due in the fall of 2015.
What's the issue? Well, there are several, says Al Oppenheiser, Camaro's chief engineer.
Weight reduction is one.
"We always get hammered for mass, and that's not going to be getting easier going forward" with the upcoming CAFE regulations, Oppenheiser said.
"Displacement, number of cylinders, all of these things you need to think about."
Then there's styling.
"This is a very successful car," he said during an interview this month at a Chevrolet press event. "In some ways it is actually going to be tougher" to create the redesigned car, which will be the Camaro's sixth generation.
"Do you make it look like a second-gen?" he said, refering to the 1970-1981 Camaro. Or "do you make it look like the first gen?" -- a reference to the 1967-1969 model.
Oppenheiser won't say which direction the team is leaning, but you can understand the concern.
Camaro held 42 percent of the rear-drive performance coupe market in 2011, composed of the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger and a recent newcomer, the Hyundai Genesis coupe.
Chevrolet sold 88,249 Camaros last year, followed by Mustang, 70,438, and the Challenger, 39,534.
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