From 2010 to 2014, the Chevrolet Camaro was undisputed sales champion of the U.S. sports cars. But since 2015, the Camaro has been falling behind the likes of the Ford Mustang. At the time, Chevrolet officials were okay with giving up some volume to boost profitability. Unlike Ford which started focusing on lower-end models, Chevrolet decided to target performance-oriented models with high price tags.
But this year, the Camaro has been outsold by both the Mustang and Dodge Challenger - the latter using a platform that is over a decade old. Chevrolet is now planning to fight back by focusing on the lower-end of the market, a place where Ford and Dodge have been making big inroads.
"Frankly, they've been eating our lunch. The low [transaction prices] of a four-cylinder ... that's where the bulk of the sales are and that's where our pricing strategy needed improvement. We plan to go head to head — and win," said Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer of the Camaro to Automotive News.
Chevrolet has cut prices on the Camaro 1LS, 1LT, and 2LT as part of the 2019 refresh. They have also introduced a 1LE version for the 2.0L turbo-four to better compete with the Mustang EcoBoost. The 1LE brings a chassis package from the 1LE V6, 20-inch wheels, and a six-speed manual for only $30,995 (includes shipping).
"What's happening in the sport car segment, there's a lot more volume in the low-to-mid part of the market. We do a phenomenal job with our loaded SS's, and it's great business for us, but the reality is there's an awful lot of people who just want a great looking sports car somewhere in that $30,000 range, and that's what we're going to deliver," said Steve Majoros, Chevy's marketing director for cars and crossovers.
Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelley Blue Book said Chevrolet adding the 1LE package for the turbo-four Camaro will allow it to be better compete with the Mustang. But he also questioned whether Chevrolet went far enough with the 2019 refresh to address some of styling issues that have turned off some buyers.
"It doesn't hurt to have a lot of value for the money. I just wonder if that alone is the real stumbling block," said Brauer.
"It just doesn't have the personality that the other two cars offer."
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)