For those who’ve been wondering whether General Motors really can get its proverbial mojo back and deliver the sort of products that once propelled it to the head of the class, you only have to look at the new Chevrolet Camaro.
The reborn pony car has won plenty of kudos from the motoring press but, more importantly, it’s won over the hearts, minds and pocketbooks of pony car buyers – last year overwhelming its age-old rival, the Ford Mustang for the first time in a quarter century. That’s all the more impressive when you consider Camaro did it with a coupe alone.
But, just in time for spring, Chevy will be rolling an all-new Camaro Convertible into showrooms, a model the market has been anxiously awaiting since it made its debut, in concept form, at the 2007 Detroit Auto Show. The ragtop was delayed more than a year because of both General Motors’ financial woes and the collapse of the parts manufacturer originally tapped to deliver the foldaway roof.
Ironically, that may have worked out to Chevy’s advantage, laughs Russ Clark, Camaro’s marketing director. History shows that sporty coupes and pony cars tend to have an 18 to 24-month shelf life before buyers head off looking for the next big thing. Ford has wisely read the tea leaves and regularly rolls out significant updates to Mustang to keep demand hot. So, the unplanned delay may have wound up timing things perfectly for Camaro.