Is Chevrolet pulling the plug or adding a new seventh-generation Camaro? Rumor has it the sixth-generation Camaro will bow out in 2024 and be gone with the wind, maybe to be resurrected later as a crossover utility vehicle (CUV). And whoo boy, that’s not good news.
The current car, which debuted in 2015, is based on GM’s excellent Alpha architecture and is the best performance automotive platform available in North America, in our humble opinion. That might be hyperbole to anyone who hasn’t driven one, but the current Camaro is one hell of a performance car and one of the reasons Corvette was bumped up to a mid-engine design. The only difference remaining between the Camaro and its seventh-gen sibling was the number of seats. We thought the Camaro would be the new, old-school Corvette, but so much for that theory.
The Camaro has sold about 50,000 units over the last few years, down from around 80,000 at the height of its popularity. The problem with the car is it’s hard to see out of the darn thing. There I said it. I got used to the armored car slot windows in five minutes, but it would take my sister the same amount of time to nix it off her shopping list, and let’s face it, half of pony car sales are “secretary specials.” Ford understands this implicitly, Dodge does too and isn’t afraid to offer sub-prime financing if that’s what it takes to bolster the bottom line. The current Camaro is not user-friendly with females, and that is why it is languishing in third place in the pony car wars. Sorry to break it to you.
The good news is the guy who brought us the fifth- and sixth-generation Camaro, Al Oppenheiser, has been moved over to EVs at General Motors, and the first fruits of his labor are the new Hummer EV. If there were ever a guy who would know how to re-invent the Camaro, it’s Mr. Oppenheiser. We think the talk of a Mustang Mach-E like EV is a possibility but not etched in stone. Chevy has umpteen SUVs and crossovers, and the Blazer is on the ground and is, for all intents and purposes, a four-door Camaro. The last thing they need is another crossover.
Whatever iteration the next Camaro morphs into, it will be based on GM’s Ultium architecture. As a result, all future internal combustion engine (ICE) development is over at GM. That’s a bitter pill to swallow for many, but there’s no turning back. A new generation Camaro with a bigger greenhouse and easy sightlines from behind the driver’s seat would be the first thing to shore up. But, then, how about a 10-second quarter-mile from the factory with no $100 trips to the gas station? It might be a whole new lease on life for our beloved mullet mobile.
If all this makes you throw up in your mouth, the current ICE car will live on for 36 more months. After that, we speculate the final Camaro might get the Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing engine, which would bump the Zl1’s power output from 650 horsepower to 668 horsepower with equal torque. Both powerplants are produced at the same plant, so it would be an easy swap, but we’ll see if GM will spend the dough certifying it for emission standards to gain an extra 18 horsepower. Another rumor has that a “Collector Edition” of the Camaro ZL1 will get 670 hp as a sendoff power number, but that’s just speculation at this point. In the meantime, you’ve got three years to get your end-of-the-line ICE Camaro or forever hold your peace.