General Motors showed off the widely anticipated 2010 Chevrolet Camaro to the media on Monday, telling reporters it will beat competitors fuel economy.
Well 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 GMs 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 companys biggest challenge will be to attract buyers who arent 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 Camaros competitors as the Ford Mustang, Nissans 350-Z and the Dodge Challenger, Cheryl Pilcher, product manager for the Camaro, said during the vehicles unveiling in Los Angeles.
As for volumes, we will build as many as we can sell, says Pilcher.
The production version of the Camaro doesnt 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 GMs 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 mans Corvette.
Craig Trudell contributed to this report