Is this the end of the Chevrolet Camaro?
Why GM's pony car is doomed.
As I write this article, the fate of the Chevrolet Camaro is unconfirmed. There is no word if GM's Mustang and Challenger competitor will live on when the current generation finishes its run in 2023. However, there are a number of factors that, in concert, may kill off the Camaro.
When the Camaro was introduced at the beginning of the last decade, it was a hit. According to GM Authority, first-year (2010) sales were more than 81,000, peaking at 88,249 in 2011. However, sales have been tanking since the 6th generation was introduced in 2016, with a measly 48,265 units moved in 2019. Figures in 2020 have been even worse, with only 13,860 sold through June, while more than 33,000 Mustangs have been sold in the same period. Click here for more details. And whatever in GM's lineup doesn't sell...
GM's Car-Killing Spree
Everyone knows this already, but American car manufacturers are dropping non-SUVs from their lineups like hot potatoes, especially slow-selling ones. GM is no stranger to this, killing off even the Chevrolet Impala and Buick Lacrosse. In fact, only 2 sedans remain: The Cadillac CT4 and CT5. Whatever sedans you see for sale are leftovers that are being dropped like hot potatoes, with discounts and incentives acting as steroids. With the exception of the legendary Corvette (which itself has narrowly avoided cancellation in the past) , no car is immune to GM's crossover-itis, so the Camaro may be next on the list. Even Ford knows how important the Mustang is, and so does Dodge with its Challenger.
Lack of new variants or excitement
Car and Driver
Part of the reason (in my opinion) of why the Camaro was so popular at its 2010 launch was because it rode on the back of its appearance as Bumblebee in the Transformers franchise, which got the hype up considerably. Then there was the supercharged ZL1, and eventually the track-focused Z/28. However, when the 6th-gen Camaro came along, there wasn't that much in terms of special editions. There was the ZL1 and Z/28-like 1LE variant in 2017, and... besides for a hideous 2019 restyle (more on that below), nothing much has been happening. Meanwhile, the Mustang introduced 4 high-performance models, and got a refresh for 2018 that was a lot better looking than the Camaro's. Dodge too, kept the Challenger exciting by heaping on more and more power, and the Demon certainly played a part.
Ugly 2019 restyle
In my opinion, the mid-cycle refresh for the Camaro, especially the SS, turned would-be buyers away. Just look at it, the front end looks like it died or something. It was so awful, in fact, that Chevrolet had to rush and fix it up for the 2020 model year. However, I don't know how many people even realized that they fixed the styling, which may still be keeping sales down.
One of the chief complaints for the reborn Camaro was that it was kinda tight and uncomfortable inside, even compared to its rivals. The 2016 redesign made it worse. The infotainment screen, for instance, points downwards and likely reflects your passenger's legs (hope they're not wearing shorts). Visibility is awful, and the two protrusions sticking out of the instrument cluster impedes forward vision. Not to mention that the rear seats are mainly for decoration. All of these have been complaints from automotive publications, and they probably turn away would-be buyers with the exception of hardcore Camaro fans.
If they did it before, they could do it again
The reasoning behind this is rather simple. GM discontinued the Camaro, and its Pontiac Firebird running mate, in 2002 due to disappointing sales. Even this time around, there is nothing protecting the current Camaro from being discontinued from GM's lineup due to slow sales, just like in 2002.
So, factoring in all the above reasons, it's safe to say that the Camaro may be on the chopping block, but for now its future remains uncertain. The current Alpha-platform generation will last until 2023, but the question remains: will the Camaro live to see another Generation?