Chevrolet to Discontinue the Camaro After 2023?

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2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on the road
2019 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 - Source: Chevrolet

Word is the sixth-generation Camaro may be the last one for the foreseeable future. Multiple undisclosed GM sources have told Muscle Cars and Trucks that development of the next generation pony is canceled.

Generation six was introduced in 2016 and it will remain in production until 2023. It’s not clear what will happen after that, but there are some indications the Camaro is headed for the chopping block.

2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1 closeup
2020 Chevrolet Camaro LT1 – Source: Chevrolet

Motor1 probed GM for more information and received the following reply:

“While we will not engage in speculation, we will remind you of our recently announced updates coming to the Camaro lineup this fall. An all-new LT1 model will provide customers V8 power with the design and affordability of our LT trim. The award-winning SS model will feature a new front fascia from the Camaro Shock concept. All of our updates are customer-driven to improve the car and its driving experience.”

The statement neither confirms nor denies the claims. However, these updates mostly fix the poorly-received front end of the 2019 Camaro SS and prohibitive price of the V8-powered models.

2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS drivng
2020 Chevrolet Camaro SS – Source: Chevrolet

It’s easily perceivable to roll out such changes mid-cycle in an effort to improve sales. So, let’s review some of the facts which point towards the Camaro’s demise.

It’s not the first time the Camaro will go out of production

At the dawn of the new millennium, the market for sports and performance cars was stagnant. After selling just 29,009 Camaros in 2001, Chevrolet decided to cancel F-body platform the following year.

With the F platform, GM also killed the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, both of which had been in continuous production since 1967.

In 2006 and 2007, Chevrolet unveiled new concepts for the Coupe and Convertible, respectively. Those were welcomed heartily by Camaro fans and GM revived the car in 2009.

They redesigned the Camaro completely, using the Zeta platform, which was shared by a number of RWD vehicles in GM’s portfolio. The SS model used a 6.2-liter, supercharged engine producing 426 horsepower.

By 2012, the Camaro ZL1 received an all-powerful 580 hp engine, taken from Cadillac CTS-V. The same year, Americans bought twice as many Camaros as they did Challengers.

Between 2010 and 2014, Chevrolet Camaro was the best selling car of the bunch. This was also in part thanks to the blockbuster Transformer series, where the Camaro played Bumblebee.

2010 Chevrolet Camaro
2010 Chevrolet Camaro from “Transformers” and “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” – Source: Barrett-Jackson
Sale Year Chevrolet Camaro Ford Mustang Dodge Challenger
2009 61,648 66,623 25,852
2010 81,299 73,716 36,791
2011 88,249 70,438 39,534
2012 91,314 90,706 46,788
2013 80,294 77,186 51,462
2014 86,297 82,635 51,611
2015 77,502 122,349 66,365
2016 72,705 105,932 64,478
2017 67,940 81,866 64,537
2018 50,963 75,842 66,716
2019 12,084 16,917 23,601
2016 Chevrolet Camaro
2016 Chevrolet Camaro – “Transformers: The Last Knight” – Source: Barrett-Jackson

Camaro sales have steadily declined in recent years

Despite the fifth-gen Camaro’s commercial success, in 2015 Ford launched the new Mustang and threw the market on its head.

With its new, long-awaited, independent rear suspension, the Mustang gained improved cornering and handling abilities.

2015 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R - front side view
2015 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350R – Source: Barrett-Jackson

The technology of the V8 Coyote engine gave it comparable power while using much smaller displacement. The introduction of a variable cam timing resulted in reduced emissions and improved fuel economy.

In 2016, Chevrolet launched the sixth-generation Camaro, which was significantly superior to its predecessor.

2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS
2016 Chevrolet Camaro SS – Source: Car Throttle

GM built the new Camaro on the agile and lighter Alpha platform, also shared by Cadillac CTS and ATS. The ZL1 model got the supercharged LT4 engine from the Corvette Z06 with 650 horsepower on tap.

And even though it’s unanimously proclaimed the best handling pony car on the market, it wasn’t enough to pull the Camaro through.

Sales have continuously declined year on year, going below 51,000 in 2018 – the lowest they have been since its introduction.

In all fairness, Mustang sales have also declined in the same period, however, Ford shoved significantly more vehicles every year. Challenger sales have remained relatively stable and even increased in 2018, perhaps thanks to the SRT Demon, which received incredible reception.

Low sales hardly justify developing a new generation car

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The sixth-generation Camaro borrowed a lot of core components from other GM cars which will be discontinued in due time.

The Alpha platform will be replaced by the A2XX underpinning the new Cadillac CT4-V and CT5-V. Sources at GM claim the Camaro will not transition to the same platform.

Furthermore, the LT1 engine is only used by the Corvette and the Camaro, while the LT4 engine is also used by the Cadillac CTS-V.

2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE - front view
2019 Chevrolet Camaro Turbo 1LE – Source: Chevrolet

The C8 Corvette will be mid-engined and its engine may not be compatible in a front-engine layout. On the other hand, the new twin-turbo Blackwing V8 engine is reserved specifically for Cadillac and will not go with any other brand.

So, there are few options left for the Camaro to borrow and it’s highly unlikely GM will develop an entirely new engine and chassis for a car that doesn’t sell.

The final nail on the cophin may be the fact that GM has already pulled the Camaro’s Chief Engineer – Al Oppenheiser – away from the program and into their new electrification projects.

Right now, the situation looks grim. Unless the 2020 updates convince a bunch of people to buy, the beloved Camaro may go out of production again.