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Mr. Wyndham 04-02-2013 10:20 AM

Camaro5 NYIAS Interview Series (5/7): Russ Clark on the Camaro

Interview 5/7...Feel free to ask any questions - and I may be able to elaborate. :thumbsup:


Russ Clark – Director of Marketing, Performance Cars
by J. Bella,

I’d like your thoughts on what kind of buyer you expect the Z/28 might attract.

It’s a vehicle that’s really for the track enthusiast. You can drive it on the street, but it’s really focused on folks who really enjoy driving the car and want the best track experience you can get.

When the ZL1 came out we were told that since it was built for the track, the warranty would reflect that. Do expect the Z/28 will be treated the same way?

I don’t think we’ve said anything about that, yet. I would anticipate something along those lines. But when we say a car is street-ready, we stand behind it.

When you look at the broader spectrum of all the cars and manufacturers out there, would you say the Z/28 is meant to compete with anybody in particular?

A lot of times when we do stuff like this, we’re looking to improve our own breed. And obviously, with Camaro, there’s an awful lot to build on. Folks can say, well I’m not going to race on Sunday in Daytona prototypes, but when I can have a Camaro that’s about as close as possible to that. And you know, it is a case of “hey, I’m a racing enthusiast, and I can do that”, and go get it. Are there other cars? I don’t know, maybe somebody will look at this and say “I think we need something like that”.

Is this a limited-run car?

I think it’ll go through the end of the 5th generation.

What took so long to develop and offer a Z/28?

It’s just how the whole Camaro line evolved from when we launched it. The second year in we worked on the interiors, and then the new radios later. You can see with the Z/28 that it’s not going to be a high-volume car by any means, so you can put your focus where you need to put it to build the brand and build the car.

Is something like the Z/28, an enthusiast-focused product supported within the company?

Clearly from an image standpoint, bringing out a car with the Z/28 name – true to it’s heritage, being track-focused is reinforcing the image and heritage of all the Camaros that we have…as well as all the Chevrolets and represents the enthusiasm and passion that we put into all our cars. So obviously there has to be a business case, but we can have a lot of fun doing it.

How do you think people might compare this car to a higher-performance Corvette in the future?

The C6 Z06 was our most track-capable Corvette, closest to what people might use it for. The difference is that the Z/28 is for the track-racing enthusiast who follows the GT class where the Camaros are racing. They can say, “I can get something, like what’s being raced.” Of course Corvette guys can do the same. I think the cars have coexisted in whatever avenue we’ve put them in, and I think there’s room for both.

Anything you’d like to point out for people that aren’t here today, or might not be able to make it to this auto show to focus on? A detail, or even over-arching idea?

I think the over-arching idea is an appreciation for the passion of the people who work on Camaro, and making the ultimate vehicle that we can with it. And that enthusiasm goes into all the Camaros we build. You can see that passion in all the details that are in the car…and even the details that aren’t in the car, like a whole set of speakers, or the back seat that’s constructed differently so we could keep it but make it lighter.

Was there any major hurdles that had to be overcome to build something like this in the factory?

There’s a lot of effort that needed to be put in, and everything we do is collaboration. If we all get along behind the goal to make the car, we’ll find ways to do things. That’s usually the way things work.
Full interview list:

Interview 1: Mark Stielow (Chief Engineer of Z/28)
Interview 2: John Fitzpatrick (Marketing Manager for Chevrolet Performance Cars)
Interview 3: Helen Emsley (Director of Interior Design for Performance Cars)
Interview 4: Mary Barra (GM Senior Vice President, Global Product Development)
Interview 5: Russ Clark (Director of Marketing, Performance Cars)
Interview 6: Tom Peters (Director, Exterior Design)
Interview 7: Ed Welburn (Vice President of Global Design)

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