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William Maley

Chevrolet News:Chevrolet Readies A New Strategy To Stop Ford and Dodge From Eating Camaro's "Lunch"

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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)


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I so totally agree with this story and the thoughts of Kelley Blue Book's executive publisher. I think Camaro does need to be in the bottom entry level segment, but I still do not think they have gone far enough in fixing the image issues and value.

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12 minutes ago, dfelt said:

I so totally agree with this story and the thoughts of Kelley Blue Book's executive publisher. I think Camaro does need to be in the bottom entry level segment, but I still do not think they have gone far enough in fixing the image issues and value.

I am a Mustang fan but I am not a hardcore fan, I actually was considering Camaro somewhat because of its performance but was not a fan of exterior.  However, after I sat in one it sealed it for me - it was night and day compared to the Mustang, not even close.  I am not sure the pricing is the biggest issue.

Edited by ykX

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Maybe they do a quick MCE and give it a new front end for '20.  The big problem they can't change w/ this generation, though, is the chop top and micro windows. 

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10 minutes ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Maybe they do a quick MCE and give it a new front end for '20.  The big problem they can't change w/ this generation, though, is the chop top and micro windows. 

Also the trunk opening that can barely fit a bag of marshmallows through it. 

The Mustang trunk opening isn't massive by any means but my god they've made the Camaro hardly livable for anybody who wants to daily it.

Camaro Trunk.jpg

Mustang Trunk.jpg

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I haven't sat in or looked too closely at the 6th gen interior, have they improved over the Fisher Price plastics of the 5th gen? 

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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I think the interior was a major improvement over the 5th gen. At least looks-wise. It was too long ago to really remember what anything felt or sounded like. 

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Of the 3, I'd go with the Challenger--bigger, bigger interior, bigger trunk and a sunroof available (the Mustang hasn't had a sunroof option in decades).   

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1 hour ago, ccap41 said:

Also the trunk opening that can barely fit a bag of marshmallows through it. 

The Mustang trunk opening isn't massive by any means but my god they've made the Camaro hardly livable for anybody who wants to daily it.

Camaro Trunk.jpg

Mustang Trunk.jpg

WOW, Been awhile since I looked at them, then again, I love my SUVs. Yet thank you for posting the pics, that is a pathetic trunk.

So ya made me go look and WTF, Mustang has just as crappy a trunk. Looks like GM and Ford joined forces in the crappy trunk area.

See the source image

Clearly Challenger wins here for a trunk opening but also seems to have the same failed trunk design. Why is it so hard to have a proper opening. No wonder people love the CUV / SUV for hauling stuff. 

See the source image

These trunks make it very hard to have as a daily driver, I give the win to Challenger for space access.

 

2 hours ago, ykX said:

I am a Mustang fan but I am not a hardcore fan, I actually was considering Camaro somewhat because of its performance but was not a fan of exterior.  However, after I sat in one it sealed it for me - it was night and day compared to the Mustang, not even close.  I am not sure the pricing is the biggest issue.

Cool to hear, what all did you like about the interior of the Camaro over the Ford?

So the interior is that much better than the Ford?

1 hour ago, Cubical-aka-Moltar said:

Maybe they do a quick MCE and give it a new front end for '20.  The big problem they can't change w/ this generation, though, is the chop top and micro windows. 

I agree, like the Honda Mess, I think GM needs to roll out a MCE on the Camaro to fix the exterior style issues. Trunk issue, Window issues, etc.  will have to be fixed in an all new model.

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On the subject of tiny pony car trunks, my favorite Mustang of the ones I've had was a hatchback.  A bit shallow, but w/ the backseat folded down, quite a bit of space. 

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43 minutes ago, dfelt said:

 

Cool to hear, what all did you like about the interior of the Camaro over the Ford?

So the interior is that much better than the Ford?

 

I maybe was not clear, I dislike the exterior of the Camaro but I really hated the interior, not even close to Mustang's interior.  Visibility is horrendous, claustrophobic feeling, just didn't feel right from the first moment.   Didn't like how interior looks as well.  

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1 hour ago, dfelt said:

, Mustang has just as crappy a trunk.

Are you drinking that Chevy Kool-Aid or something? The Mustang's isn't good but it definitely isn't as small of an opening as the Camaro's.

Yes, the Challenger clearly has the advantage in any competition that involves more space to the user. 

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Current Camaro has a convertible like cargo capacity.. like less than 10 cubic feet IIRC.  It is really bad.  The Mustang is pretty much what I would expect, probably 12-14 cubic feet.

 

 

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33 minutes ago, frogger said:

Current Camaro has a convertible like cargo capacity.. like less than 10 cubic feet IIRC.  It is really bad.  The Mustang is pretty much what I would expect, probably 12-14 cubic feet.

 

 

Yup, pretty spot on. 

 

Camaro Trunk Cap..PNG

Mustang Trunk Cap..PNG

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Sounds like the Camaro needs a brand new model rather than just an MCE, just on looks and trunk space alone.  As for the 4cyl, that is the reality that we live in if they want higher Camaro sales. 

Back in the F-body days, the majority of Camaro and Firebird sales were V6 models, not the faster and hairier V8 models.  The Mustang had the exact same sales mix.  Apparently, not much as changed in 50 years.

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"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

Yeah, no sh!t sherlock.  The Camaro used to be about being an affordable sports car, then they wanted it to be about putting 500-600 hp V8s in there and charging $70,000 for it, but that is what the Corvette is for.  The Camaro's focus should have always been $25-50k price range, they lost focus.  

Nothing they do will help Camaro sales unless they totally redesign the car to give it more interior room and windows you can see out of.  The Camaro has a disproportionate number of male buyers )or potential buyers), mostly older male buyers, which means you have a lot of larger people trying to fit in this car.  Every year at the auto show I see guys in their 50s and 60s saying the Cadillac CTS is too small, not enough head room, too hard to get in and out of, etc.  Compare that to a Camaro.  If people can't fit in it or can't see out of it, doesn't matter what the price is.

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1 hour ago, riviera74 said:

Back in the F-body days, the majority of Camaro and Firebird sales were V6 models, not the faster and hairier V8 models.  The Mustang had the exact same sales mix.  Apparently, not much as changed in 50 years.

Hmmm; what's the 'F-Body days'?
'67 :: 17K 6's  /  65K 8's
'73 :: 14K 6's  /  32K 8's
'83 :: 32K 4's  /  11K 6's  /  32K 8's
'91 :: Firebird, Formula, T/A & GTA. F-bird had the 6 standard, but had 2 optional V8s. I don't have the engine breakdown handy. 24K Firebirds, 6,343 T/As.
'99 :: 18K Firebird 6's  /  1,602 Formula 8's  /  16K T/A 8's


Firebird V8s was always a strong seller, and by the above, was usually the majority of sales.

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9 hours ago, balthazar said:

Hmmm; what's the 'F-Body days'?
'67 :: 17K 6's  /  65K 8's
'73 :: 14K 6's  /  32K 8's
'83 :: 32K 4's  /  11K 6's  /  32K 8's
'91 :: Firebird, Formula, T/A & GTA. F-bird had the 6 standard, but had 2 optional V8s. I don't have the engine breakdown handy. 24K Firebirds, 6,343 T/As.
'99 :: 18K Firebird 6's  /  1,602 Formula 8's  /  16K T/A 8's


Firebird V8s was always a strong seller, and by the above, was usually the majority of sales.

OK. Does that apply to the Camaro?  I agree that this does NOT apply to the Firebird.

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I suspect it might be even more lop-sided at Chevy- found these numbers~
Camaro :
'67 :: 58K 6's  /  162K 8's
'73 :: 3K 6's  /  93K 8's
'77 :: 31K 6's  /  187K 8's

'83 :: 63K 4's  /  28K 6's  /  63K 8's
'91 :: 31K 6's  /  69K 8's

Edited by balthazar

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In the 70s-90s V8’s were rather common though.  The V8 of then also made in the 250-305 hp range for a lot of those years.  Those are V6 numbers now, or even turbo 4 numbers now.

V8’s today are not that common, mostly only in high dollar luxury sedans or sports cars and full size trucks which is changing quickly.  Back in the 80s every Cadillac (minus the Cimarron) had a V8, now most Cadillacs are V6 and they sell more 4’s than 8’s.  

Times changed and the Camaro is stuck in the past trying to be a V8 car but a V8 car of today is super expensive which is not what the Camaro should be.

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V8s were common in the '70s, but 6s were quite common too. In '70, the Biscayne, Bel Air, Impala, Chevelle, Nova & Camaro all came standard with a 6. Actually, the Nova came with a base 4. ElCamino, 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton & 1-ton trucks and vans were also all standard 6s. Only the Monte, Caprice & Corvette came with a standard 8.

How is the Camaro 'stuck trying to be a V8 car' when it comes standard with a 4 and also offers a 6?
 

Quote

The V8 of then also made in the 250-305 hp range for a lot of those years.

Camaro V8s ran up to 450 HP in '69. But power levels in the '70s were not overly impressive worldwide- the top-shelf MB 6.9L only made 250 HP in the '70s.

Edited by balthazar

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The HP numbers switched from SAE gross to SAE net in 1972.  That explains the drop in HP numbers.

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      Mercedes-Benz
      Passenger Vehicles
      Nov-19
      Nov-18
      Monthly %
      YTD 2019
      YTD 2018
      Yearly %
      A-CLASS
      1,544
      -
      -
      16,475
      -
      -
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      B-CLASS*
      0
      0
      0.0%
      9
      134
      -93.3%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      CLA
      1,641
      1,832
      -10.4%
      11,056
      20,848
      -47.0%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      C-CLASS
      4,469
      5,777
      -22.6%
      45,740
      53,610
      -14.7%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      E-CLASS/CLS
      3,689
      5,181
      -28.8%
      36,770
      41,380
      -11.1%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      S-CLASS
      1,452
      1,672
      -13.2%
      11,441
      13,492
      -15.2%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      SLC
      62
      149
      -58.4%
      1,693
      1,841
      -8.0%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      SL
      100
      181
      -44.8%
      1,550
      1,968
      -21.2%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      AMG GT
      534
      103
      418.4%
      3,763
      1,389
      170.9%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      GLA
      2,461
      2,411
      2.1%
      20,041
      21,739
      -7.8%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      GLC
      7,515
      6,199
      21.2%
      67,214
      62,433
      7.7%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      GLE
      6,052
      3,988
      51.8%
      44,193
      42,276
      4.5%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      GLS
      2,893
      2,761
      4.8%
      19,323
      19,308
      0.1%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      G-CLASS
      1,309
      768
      70.4%
      6,532
      3,525
      85.3%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      TOTAL
      33,721
      31,022
      8.7%
      285,800
      283,943
      0.7%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      Vans1
      3,542
      1,857
      90.7%
      36,650
      34,062
      7.6%
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      MBUSA
      Combined Total
      Nov-19
      Nov-18
      Monthly %
      YTD 2019
      YTD 2018
      Yearly %
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
      GRAND TOTAL
      37,263
      32,879
      13.3%
      322,450
      318,005
      1.4%
      *Model has been discontinued in the U.S. market.
      1 Mercedes-Benz, Freightliner Sprinter and Metris Vans are sold and marketed in the U.S. by Mercedes-Benz USA and Daimler Vans USA, respectively.
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