DETROIT May 16 General Motors Co
unveiled the sixth generation of its Chevrolet Camaro on
Saturday, upping the ante as Detroit’s muscle cars enjoy a
renaissance fueled by cheap oil.
Chevrolet marketers staged the official debut of the
redesigned Camaro on Belle Isle in downtown Detroit less than a
year after Ford Motor Co launched the latest version of
its rival Mustang sports car.
The Camaro, Mustang and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’
Dodge Challenger, another two-door sports car with
styling rooted in the late 1960s, are getting a second wind
thanks to lower fuel prices and nostalgia among baby boomers for
the glory days of Detroit muscle.
Those days ended some 40 years ago when gas prices spiked
and federal fuel efficiency standards kicked in. Now the Detroit
companies are using advanced engine and transmission technology
to put the old names on cars that in many cases are more
powerful, and in all ways safer, than the originals.
The new Camaro, like the new Mustang, represents an
evolution in styling, sleeker inside and out, but with numerous
visual homages to their late 1960s ancestors. The Camaro is a
reminder that consumers in their 50s and older still buy most
new cars, even if Chevrolet marketers are increasingly focused
on the Millennial generation, people 18 to 34 years old who are
now the largest age cohort in the United States.
The 2016 Camaro is longer and wider than the outgoing car
but is 200 pounds lighter, GM said. A version of the car will be
offered with a 2.0 liter engine GM said should average more than
30 miles per gallon on the highway, better than the previous
model. A Camaro SS model will come with a 455 horsepower V-8.
GM has not released prices for the new Camaro, which goes on
sale later this year. The current model starts at $24,700.
Sales in the segment that includes the Camaro, Mustang and
Challenger have not recovered their pre-recession peak but have
been trending up since 2009, according to data from Ford.
Mustang sales are up 60 percent for the first four months of
this year, while sales of the Dodge Challenger are up nearly 41
percent for the year, according to figures compiled by Autodata.
Sales of the outgoing Camaro are down 15 percent so far this
year. A year ago, the Camaro was outselling the Mustang.
(Reporting By Joseph White; Editing by Ted Botha)