Will Chevrolet Camaro Return? Camaro Concept at Detroit
Detroit Show Car Hints at Potential Camaro Revival
Ever since the Chevrolet Camaro was dropped for 2002 model year, die-hard Camaro fans have insisted that it will return, regardless of the business case or lack of an approved programs. Many “Camaro” photosketches found their way from someone’s daydream post to other sites labeled as “the NEXT CAMARO.” There are certainly those within General Motors who would like to revive the nameplate, feeding the fire.
The 2006 concept is said by Automotive News to be based on the Kappa platform and due for production as a 2009MY vehicle. Other sources, however, indicate that the business plan has not been approved, and it remains to be seen if the project arrives on market. The Kappa platform is the basis for the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky sports cars. There was also a Chevrolet Nomad concept car a few years ago that was absolutely gorgeous.
Should GM approve the long-rumored and internally oft-discussed Camaro revival, the stakes would be even higher than they were for the Pontiac GTO. Whatever remaining credibility GM in terms of sporty, affordable muscle-type cars may have would be lost should a modern Camaro miss the mark. Camaro must not repeat these mistakes.
If General Motors can find the way to make a competitive Camaro – meaning it can take on Mustang with no apologies – then GM could have a car capable of selling good volumes.
Kappa-Based Camaro Would be an Engineering Challenge
Looking to the Kappa platform could prove more expensive than one may think at first glance, unless GM went a cheaper route and put a Camaro-looking-body on the current 95-inch wheelbase of the Solstice and used the same engines. Creating a Solstice coupe, putting the Camaro name on it, and selling it through Chevy dealers does not make a credible Mustang-fighter, whatever the badge. This would be tantamount to General Motors launching a 21st Century Ford Mustang II – the most negatively acclaimed Mustang ever.
Though the first Kappa concepts of 2003 included a long-wheelbase variant (about 107 inches), GM developed short-wheelbase variants for production and optimized them for the small, four-cylinder-engined Solstice and Sky sports cars. Some say that among the reasons for not developing a long-wheelbase Kappa product was that the extra mass of the longer car (more sheetmetal, more people, bigger engine, larger gas tank) requires a completely re-engineered suspension and supports. Just because Kappa is rear-drive does not mean it is suitable or ready to take on the extra girth a competitive muscle-car-type entry would demand.
Though Ford has consistently offered a Mustang since 1964 and kept it alive (even if some iterations were less memorable than others), both GM and Chrysler Group abandoned the product formula. Mustang has the edge and success at GM, Chrysler Group, or for any other contenders requires that they establish modern-day credibility with the consumer. A half-hearted attempt is more likely to generate criticism than sales.