Camaro meets the press, GM execs tout mpg

Unveilings take place in Detroit, Los Angeles

The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro Photo credit: RICK KRANZ
UPDATED: 7/21/08 8:11 pm EDT General Motors showed off the widely anticipated 2010 Chevrolet Camaro to the media on Monday, telling reporters it will beat competitors’ fuel economy.

“We’ll be promoting the fuel economy story very much,” Chevrolet Vice President Ed Peper told reporters. “We are 2 or 3 mpg ahead of the competition.”

The Camaro is scheduled to be built at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, plant beginning Feb. 16, 2009.

Peper said the 304-hp V-6 version will get an estimated 26 mpg, and the 422-hp V-8 version will get an estimated 23 mpg.

“And we are still working on it,” Peper said. He hinted that a turbo four-cylinder version could be in the works.

Sales will begin in the first quarter of 2009. Peper said more than 6,000 hand-raisers are interested in the car. The early-year launch will help spur sales, he said, because spring tends to be a popular time for consumers buying sports cars.

GM will disclose a price when the vehicle is closer to production, Peper said, adding that the Camaro will be the “best value in the sports car segment.”

The company plans to launch a convertible version in 2010.

At the launch, GM expects heavy demand from baby boomers, Peper said. The company’s biggest challenge will be to attract buyers who aren’t traditional enthusiasts.

Initially, Peper expects demand for the V-6 and V-8 versions will be split about 50-50, as enthusiasts will want the V-8. Long term, he expects the V-6 version to be the sales leader.

Taking on the competition

GM views the Camaro’s competitors as the Ford Mustang, Nissan’s 350-Z and the Dodge Challenger, Cheryl Pilcher, product manager for the Camaro, said during the vehicle’s unveiling in Los Angeles.

As for volumes, “we will build as many as we can sell,” says Pilcher.

The production version of the Camaro doesn’t stray much from the concept car GM showed in Detroit in 2006, though the chassis is different, says Vince Muniga, engineering spokesman for GM. The new Camaro is built on the GM’s global rear wheel drive platform.

Says Tom Peters, design director for the Camaro exterior: “Our main goal was to get as close to the concept as possible.”

The same is true for the interior, says John Zelenak, design manager for the Camaro interior.

Dealers are excited about the new Camaro.

“We have lots of lots of people waiting,” to see the car, says Rusty Bunstead, sales manager at the Courtesy Chevrolet dealership in Morgan Hill, Calif., a city south of San Francisco.

Courtesy added a Camaro button on its Web site where customers could see a video and sign up to receive updates on the model long before the launch.

Courtesy Chevrolet is one of the largest Corvette dealers in the United States. It has two dealerships, one in Morgan Hill and one in San Jose, Calif.

Says Bunstead: “The Camaro is the poor man’s Corvette.”

Craig Trudell contributed to this report

Ed Welburn, GM design vice president, and Ed Peper, vice president of Chevrolet, show off the 2010 Camaro in suburban Detroit today. Photo credit: RICK KRANZ

PRESS RELEASE: Chevrolet Unveils the 2010 Camaro – A Fun, Efficient Sports Car for the 21st Century

Oshawa, Ontario (July 21, 2008) – Chevrolet today introduced the production 2010 Camaro being built at GM’s Oshawa Car Assembly Plant. It is a heritage-inspired sports car for the 21st century, combining great looks and performance; advanced technology and surprising efficiency – including 9.0 L/100km estimated highway fuel consumption on the high volume V6 models. Sales begin in the first quarter of 2009.

“The new Chevrolet Camaro delivers the best of both worlds – great heritage and a thoroughly modern, advanced package of sporty driving, comfort and technology,” said Marc Comeau, vice president sales, service and marketing for GM of Canada. “And it does so with styling, fuel economy and value our competitors simply can’t match.”

Built on GM’s new, global rear-wheel-drive architecture, the Camaro is offered in V-6-powered LS and LT models, as well as the V-8-powered SS. All models and powertrain combinations include fuel-saving six-speed transmissions.

Product highlights include:

o Sleek, heritage-inspired interior and exterior styling with contemporary cues

o Robust body structure, exceptional build quality and suite of safety features including 6 standard airbags

o Advanced powertrain technologies, including engines with direct injection and Active Fuel Management, enabling a balance of performance and fuel economy

o Four-wheel independent suspension system tuned to match the performance capabilities of the respective powertrains

o Variable-rate power steering with the rack mounted forward of the front axle for better weight balance and greater driver feel

o Four-wheel disc brake systems standard on all models, including four-piston Brembo calipers on SS models

o StabiliTrak stability control system and traction control standard on all models

o Family of 18-, 19- and 20-inch wheels

The new Camaro also has technologies that enhance comfort and convenience, including:

o Bluetooth phone connectivity

o Premium Boston Acoustics audio system

o USB connectivity

o Ultrasonic rear parking assist (late introduction)

o Remote vehicle starting system

o OnStar

o XM Satellite Radio

Powertrains

An advanced, efficient 3.6L direct-injected V-6 with variable valve timing is standard on LS and LT models, which are expected to comprise at least 70% of Camaro sales in Canada. Direct injection technology helps the engine deliver more power through increased efficiency, while maintaining fuel economy and lowering emissions. That means less fuel is consumed and lower emissions generated – including a 25-percent drop in cold-start hydrocarbon emissions.

The Camaro’s 3.6L engine also employs variable valve timing to optimize performance and fuel economy across the rpm range. It is rated at an estimated 300 horsepower (224 kW) and 273 lb.-ft. of torque (370 Nm). A six-speed manual transmission is standard with the 3.6L engine; a Hydra-Matic 6L50 electronically controlled six-speed automatic, with TAPshift control, is available.

The high-performance Camaro SS is equipped with a powerful 6.2L V-8, with a choice of a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Manual-equipped models receive the LS3 engine, estimated at 422 horsepower (315 kW) and 408 lb.-ft. of torque (553 Nm) and is paired with a TR6060 six-speed transmission.

A new, L99 engine, based on the LS3, is used on automatic transmission-equipped SS models and also includes GM’s fuel-saving Active Fuel Management feature to improve fuel economy. The L99 is estimated at 400 horsepower (299 kW) and 395 lb.-ft. of torque (535 Nm); and it is matched with a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed transmission. This combination delivers an estimated 10.2 L/100km of fuel consumption on the highway.

The 2010 Camaro exemplifies GM’s global development process. The design concept originated in the United States; engineering was directed by GM’s global rear-wheel-drive team in Australia; validation was conducted on roads around the world and assembly will take place at GM’s award-winning Oshawa Car Assembly Plant in Canada.

General Motors of Canada (GMCL) is engineering and manufacturing advanced environmental technologies ranging from Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and hybrid systems to E85 biofuel and fuel cell vehicles – more than any other auto company right here in Canada. Headquartered in Oshawa Ontario, GMCL employs more than 15,000 people nationwide. GM of Canada manufactures vehicles, vehicle powertrains, and markets the full range of General Motors vehicles and related services through 732 dealerships and retailers across Canada. Vehicles sold through this network include Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, Saturn, Hummer, Saab and Cadillac.

You can reach Jamie LaReau at jlareau@crain.com

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