Is Chevy’s resident muscle car about to meet its maker...again?

The Chevrolet Camaro has been a staple in the American muscle car scene since it returned in 2009 from a seven-year absence in the first decade of the century. But just as it came back with a vengeance earlier this decade, the Camaro could once again go away, quiet as a mouse, in 2023 when the current sixth-generation model ends its run. General Motors has refused to comment on the Camaro’s fate beyond this generation, but a report from Muscle Cars and Trucks alleges that the iconic nameplate will once again be shelved in light of the model’s recent struggles to generate the kind of sales traction that justifies its existence. Is the General’s warhorse about to be put to pasture again? Only time will tell, but the next few years will likely determine whether the muscle car lives to see another generation or closes the chapter on what has become a rough couple of years.

The Chevy Camaro Should Probably Die

This is one of those times when there’s an initial shocked reaction to a piece of news, but the more you start to think about it, the more it starts making sense. The Chevrolet Camaro is a great car. It’s probably one of America’s most recognizable home-born models. But just because it’s a household name, that doesn’t mean it’s going to sell well. That’s the predicament Chevrolet has found itself with the Camaro. Sales of the muscle car have been on a steady decline since the sixth- and current-generation Camaro arrived in 2016.

In that first year, Chevrolet sold 72,705 units of the Camaro, a disappointing number for what was supposed to be the next ground-breaking version of the model.

2017 turned out worse for the ‘Maro when only 67,940 units found new owners in the U.S. Then 2018 came, and the wheels started to fall off. Chevrolet sold only 50,963 units of the Camaro, the lowest total since General Motors brought the model back to life in 2009.

We Don't Care - It's Time for the Chevy Camaro to Die
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Consider this, too. Ford sold 75,842 units of the Mustang in 2018 while Dodge sold 66,716 units of the Challenger in the same year. Put all three sales figures together, and you end up, not with a three-horse race, but with a two-horse race and another horse lagging so far behind you can’t see it anymore. The Camaro is that third horse.

To be fair, the Camaro’s woes isn’t exclusive to the model.

Sales of the Ford Mustang have dropped in recent years, too, while sales of the Dodge Challenger has remained entrenched in the 64,000 to 67,000 mark in the last four years with no signs of sales spikes anytime soon.

This could point to a bigger and far more wide-reaching problem related to the decline in popularity of muscle cars in general. You don’t need to look very far to find a reason for that. Hybrid and electric cars are gaining in popularity these days, and every American household seems to have a crossover and SUV in its garage. The people who used to buy muscle cars are buying something else, and of the three models that occupy what already is a niche segment, the Camaro has been hit the hardest.

Chevy Camaro Specifications
Engine 2.0L I-4 DOHC VVT DI Turbocharged 3.6L V-6 DOHC VVT DI (includes cylinder deactivation with automatic transmission) 6.2L LT1 V-8, VVT with Direct Injection (cylinder deactivation with automatic transmission)
Bore & stroke (in. / mm): 3.39 x 3.39 / 86 x 86 3.74 x 3.37 / 95 x 85.6 4.06 x 3.62 / 103.25 x 92
Block material: Cast aluminum Cast aluminum Cast aluminum
Cylinder head material: Cast aluminum Cast aluminum Cast aluminum
Valvetrain: Dual-overhead camshafts, four-valves per cylinder, continuously variable valve timing Dual-overhead camshafts; four valves per cylinder; continuously variable valve timing Overhead-valve, two valves per cylinder
Fuel delivery: High-pressure direct injection and electronic throttle control Direct, high-pressure fuel injection Direct, high-pressure fuel injection
Horsepower (hp / kW @ rpm): 275 / 205 @ 5600 (SAE certified) 335 / 250 @ 6800 (SAE certified) 455 / 339 @ 6000 (SAE certified)
Torque (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm): 295 / 400 @ 3000-4500 (SAE certified) 284 / 383 @ 5300 (SAE certified) 455 / 614 @ 4400 (SAE certified)

That said, as big of an issue as the Camaro’s faltering sales is, it’s not the only reason why the muscle car appears to be on borrowed time. Chevrolet is as culpable as anybody, in part because it has released sub-standard products in recent years. Take the 2019 facelifted Camaro, for example. It was completely ill-received, largely because Chevy decided to give a new face that fell way short of the aesthetic standards customers have had for the Camaro.

The 2020 model brought some normalcy back to the proceedings, but it’s still worth asking if the damage has already been done.

Has it come to a point of no return for the Bowtie’s once mighty muscle car?

We Don't Care - It's Time for the Chevy Camaro to Die
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Chevrolet, not surprisingly, shot down the rumor quickly in a statement released to Motor1. “While we will not engage in speculation, we will remind you of our recently announced updates coming to the Camaro lineup this fall,” the statement said. “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.”

You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that Chevrolet had to make that statement. The automaker still has three years of the Camaro in its product plan. What else is there to say other than douse Muscle Cars and Trucks’ claims about the muscle car’s impending doom?

We Don't Care - It's Time for the Chevy Camaro to Die Exterior
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Maybe there is a grain of truth in the report.

It certainly wouldn’t come as a shock if Chevrolet did actually axe the Camaro.

It’s done it before, and it was more than content keeping the nameplate shelved for the better part of the 2000s. Clearly, Chevrolet — or General Motors — has no issue cutting out the Camaro if it thinks that there’s no sound business case to be made in keeping it around. The industry’s growing focus on crossovers, SUVs, hybrids, and electric cars are pushing niche segments like the muscle car lot into the sidelines, and, remember; these muscle cars aren’t cheap to develop and build.

We Don't Care - It's Time for the Chevy Camaro to Die
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Look at the current Camaro, for example. It shares its chassis with two models — the Cadillac ATS and the Cadillac CTS — that are no longer around. Granted, there are ways for Chevrolet to circumvent this, especially if it’s absolutely determined to keep the Camaro beyond the sixth-generation model’s expected 2023 expiration date.

But that’s not the question anymore as much as it is about Chevrolet’s actual plans knowing how the Camaro has fared in recent years. Honestly, the automaker has a case to drop the Camaro from its lineup if the model’s sales continue to erode in the coming years. That’s not to say that it will, but if there was a time to cut bait on the Camaro, it might be in the coming years. Who knows, history might repeat itself more than once. Maybe a prolonged absence is what the Camaro needs to regain its lost luster. That proved to be the case when the fifth-generation model arrived in 2009 after the fourth-generation model ended seven years earlier. That could happen again, though for that scenario to remain possible, Chevrolet must ax the Camaro first.

We Don't Care - It's Time for the Chevy Camaro to Die
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From the looks of things, that’s probably where we’re heading.

Further reading

We Don't Care - It's Time for the Chevy Camaro to Die
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Read our full review on the 2019-2020 Chevrolet Camaro.

2016 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro.

2016 - 2017 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Read our full review on the 2018 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

Source: Muscle Cars and Trucks

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