GM wants to copy Camaro’s success, gives more thought to next model

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 16, 2012

General Motors is carefully pondering on the development of the successor to the renowned Chevrolet Camaro, which the automaker sees as a big success. It is now taking careful steps in redesigning the sixth-generation Camaro, which is due in the fall of 2015. According to Camaro's chief engineer Al Oppenheiser during an interview at a Chevrolet press event this month, there were several issues to tackle, one of which is the weight reduction.

He related that they "always get hammered for mass" and that it is "not going to be getting easier going forward" with the forthcoming CAFÉ regulations.

Oppenheiser also shared that styling is another issue. He noted that the Camaro is a "very successful" automobile. He further explained that in some ways, it is "actually going to be tougher" to develop the redesigned vehicle. He shared the dilemma of determining from which generation (such as first-generation 1967-1969 Camaro model or second-generation 1970-1981 units) the sixth-generation model will look like.

The chief engineer of Camaro has not disclosed which direction the team is leaning, but one can understand where the pressure is coming from. Last year, Camaro held 42% of the rear-drive performance coupe market, which is composed of the Dodge Challenger, Ford Mustang as well as the latest Hyundai Genesis coupe.

In the same year, Chevrolet sold 88,249 units of the Camaro, followed by the Mustang with 70,438 units, and the Challenger with 39,534 units sold. Also during 2011, Hyundai achieved sales of 32,998 Genesis units, but the figure includes the sedan and the coupe.

In designing the new Camaro, Chevrolet made sure to draw attention to the openings of the wheel arch. Specifically, the relationship between the bottom of the fender and the top section of the tire is constant no matter what the model is. This is true whether the new Camaro is fitted with the standard 18-inch wheels or even the 19-inch wheels and the 20-inch versions, with the latter two being offered as an option.

In addition, all of the models will have the “V” design motif on the nose. There is of course the power dome, measuring 2.5 in. (63.5 mm), which brings to mind the high-performance Camaro range. For the SS models in particular, lower air intake is now larger with a simulated air intake being placed on the front fascia’s upper portion. Looking at the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, the design is clearly almost the same as that of the first generation. This is a way for the brand to honor the first models that were manufactured beginning in 1967 and all the way to 1969.

The dimensions of this two-door sports coupe are the same as those of the classic version with a length of 190.4 in. (4,836 mm), width of 75.5 in. (1,918 mm), and height of 54.2 in. (1,376 mm).

These are then placed on top of the wheelbase measuring 112.3 in. (2,852 mm). Further, both the short deck and the long hood have been positioned to the fender forms’ far corners. Looking at the windshield, it can be seen that it has a 67-degree rake. With these two features combined, aerodynamic drag is improved with coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.37 for the V6 models. Cd for the V8 SS variants is better at 0.35.

The design team took inspiration from the Corvette and installed sculpted twin cockpits on its roof, giving it that unique Chevrolet presence. While the B-pillar may not be obvious to the naked eye especially when looked from the outside, it remains to have an appearance much like a hardtop coupe. In addition, the B-pillar has been designed to ensure that the structural rigidity of this model is enhanced.

Further, the brand made sure that quality would be present during the manufacturing phase. To make this possible, Chevrolet utilized a one-piece body stamping, resulting in the side having a cleaner look as there are no plastic appliqués, gaps, or even seams. On the quarter panel in the rear, the front part has “gills,” which is another design cue that Chevrolet has long shown.

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