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Old 08-23-2006, 05:15 PM   #7
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GM: The zoomer is a sipper

Automotive News / August 14, 2006 - 6:00 am

How do you justify a new muscle car in an era of $3-and-rising gasoline?

You call it a fuel-sipper.

To the surprise of exactly no one, General Motors announced last week that it's reviving the Camaro name in 2009, on a Chevrolet coupe engineered by its Australian Holden subsidiary.

And if you're fretting about fuel, suggested Chevrolet General Manager Ed Peper, you can order Camaro Lite - with a V-6 and perhaps cylinder de-activation, which boosts fuel economy by letting the engine loaf along on fewer cylinders at cruising speeds.

"We will offer V-6 and V-8 engine variants," Peper said at a press event in suburban Detroit. "We may well have active fuel management (cylinder de-activation) on the V-6, if that's what somebody wants."

He also pointed out that the Chevrolet Corvette with a V-8 has a 28-mpg highway rating (the city rating is 18 mpg).

"We're not at all concerned," Peper said.

The Camaro is the latest entry in the muscle car segment, which grows as gasoline prices continue to rise and Asian brands continue to gain market share with fuel-efficient vehicles. The segment includes the Ford Mustang-based Shelby GT500 and the Dodge Challenger, which is scheduled to reach showrooms in 2008 with a Hemi engine.

GM CEO Rick Wagoner said at the Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich., that the Camaro coupe that arrives in 2009 might be followed by a convertible. "It will come in many shapes and sizes," Wagoner said of the Camaro.

GM first showed a concept version of the Camaro at the Detroit auto show in January. Wagoner said he agreed with GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz's assessment that GM could sell 100,000 Camaros per year.
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