Sports car fans will like the new Camaro’s design, which more closely resembles the beloved 1969 vintage of the car, said Karl Brauer, senior analyst with Kelley Blue Book, which tracks auto pricing and sales trends. Brauer saw the car in an exclusive event held by Chevy.
“It should have appeal to older buyers who remember the ’69 Camaro and younger buyers who have no idea what that looks like,” Brauer said. “Good timeless design is good timeless design.”
GM first launched the Camaro in 1967 as a rival to the popular Mustang. It was a strong seller for many years but struggled in the 1990s. By 2001, sales in the U.S. weren’t even 40,000 a year, less than a fourth of Mustang’s business. GM stopped production of the Camaro and its sister car, the Pontiac Firebird, in 2002. Since Pontiac went away in GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, the Camaro is GM’s lone pony.
The car has been a fixture in pop culture for several generations. In the popular Transformers movie series, a Camaro was used as the basis for the character Bumblebee. Bruce Springsteen refers to the car in the 1978 tune “Racing in the Street” and in the ’80s, punk band The Dead Milkmen barked about driving through the neighbors yard in the tune “Bitchin’ Camaro,” to name a few.
When it reaches dealerships in the fourth quarter of this year, the new car will brag better driving performance. It was engineered using the same underpinnings at the Cadillac ATS compact luxury car. The new Camaro is a light car that’s fun to drive and promises better handling than the outgoing version, Brauer said.
Even with some Cadillac hardware, 70 percent of the parts are unique to the Camaro, Chevy said in a statement. The new car is more purpose-built to be a sports car, while the current model was built on the underpinnings of a sedan, Brauer said.
The new Camaro will be offered with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine. The V-8 in the current car delivers 426 horsepower.
Its muscle heritage makes the car a popular model with baby boomers, who remember the ’60s and ’70s Camaros of their youth. Millennials also respect the car, said Alexander Edwards, managing director of Strategic Vision Inc., a marketing research firm in San Diego.
“Millennials listen to their parents more than any other generation,” Edwards said. “Young people respect the Camaro for its performance and styling. It actually does help Chevy with those buyers.”
Bumblebee doesn’t hurt, either.