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1LE Designed To Beat GT350: Al Oppenheiser


El Kabong

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Al Oppenheiser finally states what many of us have suspected: a Camaro SS variant will suffice to take down a Shelby Mustang.

"During our time to chat with Al Oppenheiser, chief Camaro engineer, we got right down to business and asked what everyone wants to know: will the 2017 Camaro SS 1LE outperform the Shelby GT350?

"'That’s obviously our intent. I have the answer, but I’ll let the rest of you decide how we did. Our goal is to up the game with our competitor, just like they upped the game with the GT350. Everyone had to expect we would punch back. I will tell you this car is three seconds faster than the previous 1LE. Your readers can go out and make their own conclusions,' Oppenheiser stated in utmost confidence.

"'We’re plowing new ground with the V6 1LE, and for the SS 1LE, our initial target benchmark was the fifth-generation 1LE. But, obviously, Ford came out with their GT350 and we changed our sights. We’re not worried.'"

More at the link:

http://gmauthority.com/blog/2016/02/2017-chevrolet-camaro-1le-expected-to-outperform-the-shelby-gt350/

Edited by El Kabong
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Oppenheiser claims the new 1LE is three seconds a lap faster than the old one. Unfortunately, he doesn't specify what track he's referring to (Milford?). If it's on any track shorter than Virginia International though, that's an enormous improvement.

It also makes me wonder what an LT4 version could do.

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Now the car is creating a lot of value for the track enthusiast who wants a track focused sports car. 

 

Now why won't Chevy charge more for it? I mean, I expect the SS 1LE to beat the GT350 and most likely match and exceed the 350R?

 

If the value is there, the car should be priced higher than what I think we all expect. An SS 1LE should be priced above a GT350 in that case. Even close to the Z/28.

 

Because seriously, you'd be getting more than the Z/28 in every aspect. Better interior quality, better power to weight, better braking performance (other than the lack of CC brakes standard), better fuel economy (no gas guzzler tax), the option of an automatic... better infotainment, everything is improved. So charge more for it.

 

Because the 1LE is going to go after the same cars that the GT350/R also beat recently. It's assured that it has moved the performance needle higher, then my only nag is that GM should milk the car for the profits they deserve to earn.

 

And the LT4 version might crush even the Z06, because the cooling potential of a larger frontal with bigger intakes is there... So why not charge more?

 

I mean, like it's coming to the point that it's performing even better than the V, and all it lacks is the interior quality of Cadillac - and lack of CUE is something I'd take any day.

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GMI interviewed Oppenheiser. He swore that they were trying to get the V8 1LE to come in under forty grand. If you figure that the 1SS starts at 37 and the Recaros can kinda be regarded as an upgrade as opposed to a standalone deal...

But the thing is: the Camaro isn't underpriced. The Shelby is overpriced. Part of this is just performance metrics and bang for the buck: the Shelby isn't all that quick for all that horsepower. Additionally, the Track Pack goodies are, again, optional. But beyond that, the Camaro must give some consideration to the Corvette and Cadillac ATS-V in the performance pecking order. It can't to TOO high in price, or it will cease to exist.

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I wholehartedly disagree. The Mustang GT350/R is not overpriced in terms of MSRP - the sound it makes is worth a $10,000 ALONE. And again, overpriced is such a dubious term. If the company is milking the profit potential, then it doesn't really matter. Besides, I don't think the Mustang variants really cover their costs anyhow. The dealer markup is a different story. The Camaro could be making more more money if they charged more for it.

 

I mean, either we're going to see the Camaro increase in price, or see the the dealers start selling GT350 at MSRP. Even then the Chevy SS 1LE lose on transaction pricing.

 

If the donor Cadillac or higher up Chevy loses to a lower positioned Chevy, then that's Cadillac's problem.

 

Certainly it makes no sense to sell a performance car for less money that offers more performance than the dedicated performance version of the ATS.

 

I don't see the $20,000 price gap being an issue of cost. It's a question of brand identity. And if the Camaro is superior, it should be priced to be superior. Because there's always the guys who say, first we'll get the market, and then we'll decide to raise the price. We had the whole thread about how the base Camaro costs more than the base Mustang because you get more for your money. So I'll make the same stand. Excellent product. Now price it according to the value proposition you are delivering, otherwise the customer will be trained to only buy your product if you sell it at a low price.

 

Even if economies of Alpha scale make the product affordable - then even double the reason to get more profits.

 

Besides, that's what I would do. A Camaro that performs better - yes, more performance, and then priced higher - yes, more desirable, more aspirational.

 

Anyways, regardless... Armchair marketing....

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Its all well and good to say that the Shelby's engine note is worth 10 grand all by itself.

The problem is that you potentially still have another ten grand to make up. Lest we forget, the C/D Shelby rang in at nearly 60 grand.

It's entirely possible that Ford sales guys will find folks who will belly up and pay over sticker for a car whose main selling points are a Honda-esque redline and being named after a dead guy.

But the smart money is on the Bowtie. It's a survival-of-the-fittest game, and right now Al Oppenheiser has the Darwin meter turned up to 11.

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I assume there will also be a higher power Shelby as well, since they named the current car the GT-350, that leaves room for a GT-500..

I'm pretty sure that Ford will have a GT500-type car coming. The big question will be how many cylinders it will have. If Ford decides to take the powertrain-saving thing to the extreme then the best way for them to avoid the cost issues they have with the GT350 is to use an EcoBoost V6. The only other vehicle they have that could theoretically use that power is the F-150 and guess what kind of engine the new Raptor is going to have?

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Well, I think the problem with that is how does any automaker make CAFE compliant vehicles?

 

As we are told, Hellcats will not get a second generation.

 

Ford can sell the Voodoo because it is such a low volume engine, that the hit to CAFE isn't big.

 

But we've seen Mopar sell their pony cars having more power than their exotic.

 

The BMW i8 runs on a 3 cylinder engine, all the latest CF tech, and a rich man's Prius FWD drive-train, weighs more than, costs double of a Corvette, has less power and that absurd cylinder count in a supposed performance car certainly isn't "doing them in."

 

Again, even Porsche is going to put in four cylinders in their cars - and sells hi-po variants with 6 cylinders.

 

Right now is the time between massive CAFE neutering. We shall enjoy the high fuel consuming and powerful engines for the last time...

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If Ford was showing any real mileage improvement with their engines it would be a different story, maybe. But I suspect that going down the TT engine path was more a matter of One Ford having little room for engines with more than six cylinders-not FWD-friendly. Problem is, ponycars and pickups are all about the eights. And as long as at least one automaker does right by the segment they will probably reap the rewards.

Mullaly's decisions while he was the big boss at Ford will probably mean a steady erosion of sales in these segments. The fact that GM is fully focused and engaged in these segments will accelerate the process.

Edited by El Kabong
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They already have a V8, for their track focused car as it is.

 

I suspect it'll be a factory supercharged 5.0

 

You could not be more wrong about pony car sales - the Mustang has had a big boost on top of good sales from being a globally marketed car, unlike the Camaro. 

 

While I do envision the Camaro selling more pretty soon in America, in the rest of the world it's quite another story.

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My good friend that works at my local Ford dealer just sold their GT350 at MSRP. He told me they sold it to some guy from New Hampshire for just under 58k with whatever options it had but it was right at sticker price. He said they(the other salesmen) were disappointed because the store GM made the sale so none of them got to get a fat commission check.

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They already have a V8, for their track focused car as it is.

I suspect it'll be a factory supercharged 5.0

You could not be more wrong about pony car sales - the Mustang has had a big boost on top of good sales from being a globally marketed car, unlike the Camaro.

While I do envision the Camaro selling more pretty soon in America, in the rest of the world it's quite another story.

Yes, it has that specialty V8... which helps drive the price of the car unacceptably high. We have been through this already. You can match the Camaro's price points or its performance. But not both. Another specialty V8 will not alleviate the problem, unless it produces about 700hp and can come in at, say, 65 grand. I am deeply skeptical.

I believe that globally Mustang gains somewhere in the four-figure range over and above NA sales. Which is not that good really. GM's Alpha platform moves more units, and at much higher price points. This is the kind of thing that can happen when your company's product strategy includes taking RWD seriously. Ford's didn't.

Edited by El Kabong
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My good friend that works at my local Ford dealer just sold their GT350 at MSRP. He told me they sold it to some guy from New Hampshire for just under 58k with whatever options it had but it was right at sticker price. He said they(the other salesmen) were disappointed because the store GM made the sale so none of them got to get a fat commission check.

I really don't expect to read about any more Shelbys going for over sticker. It's just not the kind of car that justifies such things.

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GMI interviewed Oppenheiser. He swore that they were trying to get the V8 1LE to come in under forty grand. If you figure that the 1SS starts at 37 and the Recaros can kinda be regarded as an upgrade as opposed to a standalone deal...

But the thing is: the Camaro isn't underpriced. The Shelby is overpriced. Part of this is just performance metrics and bang for the buck: the Shelby isn't all that quick for all that horsepower. Additionally, the Track Pack goodies are, again, optional. But beyond that, the Camaro must give some consideration to the Corvette and Cadillac ATS-V in the performance pecking order. It can't to TOO high in price, or it will cease to exist.

What constitutes as under or over priced? A base GT350 is what 50k? You get a completely redone suspension, the whole front end body work is different, obviously the engine is an exotic, and a transmission to match. It isn't like it is a GT with a 5.2 slapped under the hood. It's basically a different car because the GT is much softer designed to sell to a broader spectrum of people. 

 

The biggest difference between the 1LE and GT350 is the engine, and bodywork. Both have redone suspensions to make them more track capable.

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So, what I would say here is: if the GT350 needs to be completely different forward of the A-pillar (engine, suspension, and all), and on a brand-new chassis no less...

Why not design it that way across the board and keep it from becoming nearly 60 grand? Because that's the strategy GM went with on the Camaro, and now they're talking up the possibility of a forty-grand Camaro that will do the same thing as that Shelby!

We can discuss this eight ways till Sunday. But the reality is that GM is just much better at leveraging its assets in this segment than Ford, because Ford has far fewer assets to leverage for RWD applications anymore. Even Mopar has better RWD options than Ford.

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You already have that answer.  It's a freaking got dang global car for f's sake.

 

You are as stubborn and blind as Wings was at times. You both compare Ford and GM like your own preference is God and everything else is junk, old, misplaced, poorly executed, and overpriced.

 

Mopar does not have better RWD applications than Ford. Mopar's RWD vehicles are 10 years old. And they have as many chassis as Ford, 1. Charger/Challenger/300. 

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You already have that answer.  It's a freaking got dang global car for f's sake.

 

You are as stubborn and blind as Wings was at times. You both compare Ford and GM like your own preference is God and everything else is junk, old, misplaced, poorly executed, and overpriced.

 

Mopar does not have better RWD applications than Ford. Mopar's RWD vehicles are 10 years old. And they have as many chassis as Ford, 1. Charger/Challenger/300.

Nonsense.

The Mustang is no more a global car than the Camaro is. Just because Ford sells a few thousand RHD versions we are supposed to ignore the face that the Camaro probably sells an (equally paltry) numbers of RHD Camaros on the Continent?

And yes: Mopar's RWD options are better than Ford's. MOPAR, like GM, was smart in making sure that is has multiple brand lines on a common chassis. Dearborn, on the other hand, essentially has multiple platforms for a single car line!

It's not me being a fanboy. It's Ford being stupid.

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