What are those old sayings? Nothing last forever? What goes up must come down? Those and more must be running through General Motors’ product development department as it contemplates the next iteration of its Chevrolet Camaro.
The current fifth-generation Chevy Camaro has been a spectacular success for GM since the production version went on sale in 2009 as a 2010 model. Automotive News reports Chevy sold around 88,000 Camaros last year, followed by the Ford Mustang (71,438), Dodge Challenger (39,534) and newcomer Hyundai Genesis coupe (est. 13,199). AN estimates the Chevrolet Camaro held 42-percent of the rear-wheel drive sports ca/muscle car segment during 2011. That figure has since dropped slightly below 40-percent in 2012, which is causing no end of concern to Chevy Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser. “We always have to stay fresh and ahead,” he says. “[But] we do not want to lose the fact that we have nearly 40 percent of the market.”
You think, well, just generate more sales by making a better Camaro. Well, it’s not quite that simple. Oppenheiser and design director Tom Peters, whose performance car team is actually tasked with designing the sixth-generation Camaro, says there are many issues involved in redesigning the next-gen Chevy Camaro, including engine power, fuel economy, and emission standards. Even the Chevrolet Camaro’s looks are being debated. Oppenheiser emphasizes the last point when he asks if the next Chevy Camaro will be based off, for example, the 1967 first-generation Camaro design or the second generation, which sold between 1970 through 1981. GM is being cautious in affecting its “Golden egg” in any way, shape, or form and losing fans and customers alike.
The all-new Chevrolet Camaro is tentatively scheduled to debut in 2015.
Automotive.com’s take: We can see Chevrolet’s dilemma and don’t envy being in parent company GM’s shoes, especially the design team. Still, an all-new Chevy Camaro will make a debut in 2015. So how would you redesign the sports car? Based on an older design? Scrape the old and come in with the new (design, that is)? Or does it really matter how the Chevrolet Camaro looks just as long as it looks good? As always, leave a comment below.