article: Why the New Camaro Will Fail
Why the New Camaro Will Fail
The war on macho takes its toll.
BY ERIC PETERS
Wednesday, June 21, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
Watching Ford bathe in the glory of its resurgent, retro-style Mustang has surely been agonizing for General Motors--as well as deja vu all over again.
Back in 1964, when the first Mustang appeared, GM also had to stand there empty handed, with nothing to offer customers but fumbling excuses--and promises that something was in the works. Three years later, in 1967, the first Camaro finally appeared. It was a good-looking car and did well. But the Mustang had a critical three-year head start. Camaro was caught playing catch-up. It had some good years--especially in the mid-late 1970s and through the 1980s, when Tuned Port Injection IROC-Zs were as common as Ocean Pacific shorts and boom boxes as street performers--but faltered badly in the 1990s after a not-so-hot restyle.
Sales drooped to unsustainable levels within a few years and GM eventually cancelled the Camaro (and its sheetmetal sister, the Pontiac Firebird) after the 2002 model year.
Now GM is frantically rushing an all-new Camaro to market, perhaps as soon as 2007. The news has been accompanied by great fanfare and hagiographical commentary in the motor press--the same way news that Pontiac would be bringing back the GTO ginned up much tub-thumping and happy scribbling back in 2003. (Much of this rah-rahing issued from the pens and laptops of over-40 guys who could remember the good old days when obstreperous V-8 muscle cars prowled the streets--and pined for their youthful days-gone-by returning.)
But the revived GTO died quickly and quietly--despite heroic horsepower numbers and better performance than any classic-era GTO ever delivered. Some of us saw it coming from the get-go.
The new Camaro will probably die on the vine for the same reasons--and a couple of new ones, too.
And again, it's not all that hard to understand why. Or to see the iceberg dead ahead.
Unlike the Mustang--which has always managed to appeal to a broad base of buyers ranging from young women to old men and everyone in between--the Camaro is and always has been a strutting muscle machine. A car for drive-throughs, Friday night cruising, and teenage boys.
That works fine when it's 1969--and young, single guys can still afford to buy (and insure) such a car. It doesn't work so well in today's hamstrung, hyper-regulated and cost-inflated world. Part of what killed the latter-day GTO was its $30k price point. The young (under 30) guys who might want such a car couldn't afford it--and the older guys who could had grown up. They wanted something less goofy. So did their wives. The same problem will surely beset the coming Camaro--unless GM, by some miracle of Enron-esque accounting, figures out a way to sell the thing for less than $25,000.
And that still leaves the insurance issue. (Will GM offer to cover the nut?) And the reality that the market slice for cars of this type has become narrower than Paris Hilton's waistline. Ford has already vacuumed up a goodly chunk of the prospective buyers. Import sport compacts will prove stiff competition for the remainder. How many new Camaros must GM sell to make the project economically viable? And how hard will that be given the late start, limited buyer pool--and the very real danger of $3 per gallon (or more) fuel? A 15 mpg V-8 muscle car in a world of $70 fill-ups is apt to be about as popular as Hummers and Navigators and Excursions--sheetmetal Brontosauri that face extinction (or at least, massive discounting just to get them off dealers' lots).
These are daunting challenges.
But the thing that will drive a stake through the new Camaro's hood, deep into its small-block heart, is the polarizing, hyper-macho cod piece styling. If the production car ends up looking like the show car that's been in every buff magazine and all over the news, it will be the belly flop heard 'round the world.
The enduring genius of Ford's Mustang is that it transcends testosterone--and the muscle car era. Fitted with a hi-po engine and stripes, it's a car that guys absolutely love. But it doesn't alienate women--and women are half the market, don't forget (and most guys have a woman in their lives who they'd prefer not to annoy with their choice of car). The previous generation (1994-2002) Camaro was an "in your face" kind of car--and so is this new one. You either love it--or you hate it. And the question is, can GM afford such a confrontational machine with inherently limited appeal--one that's already hobbled by being late to the game, fighting for a relatively small subset of prospective buyers and which will likely arrive just in time for the next ugly uptick in gas prices?
The smart money (or mine, at least) says don't bet the farm on it.
It's 2007--not 1967.
Like a botox'd, aerobicized, fish-netted Cher crooning on the mothballed battleship "Iowa," you can sing longingly about turning back time all you like. Actually doing it, of course, is a tougher thing to engineer.
I disagree, I think GM, being the last to announce production of its new generation muscle-car will benefit from seeing how well the Mustang has sold at certain price points and will price the Camaro accordingly. GM must realize that the Camaro is far too important a car to have fail, especially with the competition it'll face from Ford and now Dodge in the musclecar arena.
The author of this article is obviously very good at analyzing facts and spitting out a presumption, but he missed one point.. a critical point, especially when it comes to cars. Enthusiasm/Desire. He doesnt take into account that nomatter what engine or pricerange the camaro ends up being in, it has that cool factor to it, that makes most of us really lust after this car. Thats enough to turn fans into buyers. The GTO died, because yea i've heard the name, and I know its got a great engine, but I have otherwise no care about it. The camaro evokes a different response from most ppl I know, ppl genuinly will stare at it on the screen, or even ask how to get one of these cars, or if it will really look like the concept car, etc etc. THis is what makes a good car great, the enthusiast culture that will easily embrace this car.
TO be honest, the author of this article sounds like a typical detroit beancounter that is reponsible for the demise of most good american cars.
GM has the ability to make the Camaro a huge success. The two most important factors I think they will be facing is 1. Price vs. Cost (of building), and 2. Time (to get them to dealers)...with style following third. Can GM price it to compete with the Mustang? They MUST...and yes, I think they will. I do agree with others that showing us this beauty and then saying we can't have it for another 3 years is rediculous. I understand GM is testing the waters though...see the publics reaction and possibly change this or that in style. But you can't hold off too long or GM will lose lots of potential buyers. With style...there's always aftermarket if you really don't like the brake lights, or the grill, or bla bla bla. But the main point here is that we are talking about the CAMARO. Everyone knows the name Camaro and what it's about. GM is counting on selling this car in a big way. They won't let themselves screw it up.
i read that article about Lutz saying they need to sell 100,000 of these. with GM shooting for such a high # they'll definitely have to make a V6 version of it. as long as they have a v6 version of this car and don't overprice it theres no way the 5th gen camaro fails.
The author left out a few vital details.
The market for musclecars is huge. People want Style. many of them do not LIKE the style of the mustang and they don't want one. in the 60's GM cars had WAY more style than everyone else. Just look at a 67 GTO, 67-69 camaro/firebird.
The newest mustang opened up people's eyes, but there are still people who don't like the style (so they didn't buy it in hopes someone ELSE will make the musclecar they really wanted).
that's my 2 cents
It won't fail.
#1 where did u come up with 15 MPG get a grip.
#2 My employees will build the Motors (except the 427).
# 3 Camaro people don't buy Mustangs.
# 4 young people have money (your right it's not 1967).
#5 Imports are overated.
#6 Dale Jr will help market it
I hate to do it, but I agree.
This camaro is deffinately a Howard Stern of cars, completely love or hate situation. And in my opinon not even slightly geared towards wemen. They MUST be able to produce a V8 for $25,000 to appeal to young buyers, with a top of the line optioned out V8 no more than 32-33k.
One aspect that they missed is that this car will also appeal to 35+ year old men who are looking for a weekend car that is affordable. Think about a Corvette that has 4 seats, and costs about 20,000 less. Sounds perfect to me, escpecially with the tops up.
I'm just glad there making the car, and hope it's better than the new BMW 335i coupe .
Things wrong with this article:
1) Late 4th gens still have great resale value; apparently someone liked the styling.
2) The GTO died because of poor marketing and family car styling.
3) Camaro's and Mustangs both have V-6 models and powerful V-8's. How do you say that the Camaro doesn't appeal to women or that it's only a "strutting muscle machine".
4) If the Mustang is doing well then how is there a smaller market for cars like this, obviously people want in on this action.
5) If insurance is an issue, get a V-6. Simple solution. People who want the muscle will sacrifice for it, especially if it means destroying a new Mustang GT in style.
6) 15mpg? The LS7 in the Vette gets more than that, the LS1 got 26mpg on the highway. Nice research...
7) Gas has broken the $2 mark in some areas just this week, there's an entire dollar gap in what you wrote in your article.
8) I guess those new Suburbans and Tahoes that GM made and are "Brontosauri" are disapprearing? I guess seeing so many BRAND NEW ones around town means nobody likes them? :rolleyes:
9) People really enjoy the new styling, nothing more "out there" than what Ford did when they re-did the Mustang and most certainly not as bizarre as a 4-door Charger, which still seems to be doing rather well for DaimChr.
10) 'The enduring genius of Ford's Mustang is that it transcends testosterone--and the muscle car era. Fitted with a hi-po engine and stripes, it's a car that guys absolutely love. But it doesn't alienate women--and women are half the market, don't forget (and most guys have a woman in their lives who they'd prefer not to annoy with their choice of car). The previous generation (1994-2002) Camaro was an "in your face" kind of car--and so is this new one. You either love it--or you hate it.'
What were you on when you wrote that. How does a pony car with a v-6 model transcend testosterone but another one with similar options doesn't? Pull your head out of your butt. Women like Camaros just as much as they like Mustangs. The Ram Air Trans Am was in your face with the aggressive scoops. A Z28 Camaro or even SS with the small scoop were not really in your face. The styling isn't really that aggressive, instead more elegant. It's like going home with a classy girl and finding out she's a freak in bed. And people love or hate any car they see, how is it really different for the Camaro?
11) Cher shot that video on the U.S.S Missouri, not Iowa.
:clap: Thanks for all the accurate worth-while info in your article.
I liked your comments, bassist. Very valid points.
A quick comment about #3. Women and these musclecars...
1. How many females vs males do you see driving 4th gen Camaros?
My answer. 1 in about 30, if not fewer...and it's usually a V6.
2. How many females vs males do you see driving Mustangs?
My answer. It's about half and half.
The wife says she loves the look of my SS. But she also says she'd never own one because she can't see the front end. She wouldn't feel comfortable driving it (THANK GOD) is what she's said over and over. Therefore, she would never purchase one for herself. I don't know why, but the Mustang has always seemed to appeal to the female gender more than the Camaro. Now this is in my opinion. But think about it. Which vehicle do you see women driving in more? OH, and guess what...my wifes last car was a '00 Mustang.
that guys full of shit. excuse my language. he doesnt know what hes tlaking about. hes just another gay mustang driver. i hate those guys with a passion. just becasue there cars are slower and built worse than the camaro they have to rag on it before it even comes out just to get a hype going. i cant wait for the camaro mustang shoot outs. you know ill be there waiting to hand out some pony ass
I didn't know the gto completely died? when did they announce that it wasn't coming back? seriously. . .am I behind the power curve on that info? and what's this about 15 mpg. what kind of two driving are you doing? sheesh. sounds like he doesn't want it to succeed. like he's a ricer in sheeps clothing. or he loves ford. . .something like that. whatever. totally bogas read.
here's what the author needs to do :bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk:
Last anyone heard is that the GTO isn't dead. It's just been put on the back burner. Supposedly, it's gonna be redesigned and reintroduced in 08. All new bodystyle. Remember Pontiac saying they are going to introduce an all new rear wheel drive sportscar? ... They have a few options for what that could be.
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