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Chevrolet Confirms Plans for New Camaro Convertible

Ragtop redux should follow in short order.

by on Oct.20, 2015

The new Camaro convertible should reach showrooms early next year.

Breaking news? Well, sort of. Chevrolet is all but formally confirming what most everyone had already expected: it will be adding a ragtop version of the new, sixth-generation Camaro.

“One of these days, we may add this beautiful looking convertible,” Al Oppenheiser said, referring to the concept Camaro al fresco that was unveiled last June.

Clearing the Air!

Oppenheiser was one of several senior General Motors executives on hand for a dinner kicking off the unusual launch of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, about 50 automotive journalists heading out on a cross-country tour that is expected to collectively clock about 160,000 miles.


Chrysler Dropping Convertible 200 – But Ragtops Live On

Ragtops shift to sporty, high-line model segments.

by on Mar.18, 2014

Chrysler has no plans to add a convertible version of the new 2015 200 sedan.

Convertibles have been part of the model mix at Chrysler ever since the mid-1980s when then-Chairman Lee Iacocca re-introduced the Chrysler LeBaron. And it lived on in the later Sebring model — which itself was renamed the Chrysler 200 a few years back. But as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles gets ready to launch its new Chrysler 200, the “D-segment” convertible is going away, with no plans to replace it, the maker confirms.

“We built the last (Chrysler 200 convertible) in October,” Andy Love, senior manager for the Chrysler brand and the Chrysler 200, told “Dealers still have some stock so we’re still going to be selling them,” he added, but once the old model runs out there’ll be no 200 convertible to follow.

Clear the Air!

Love explained that the ragtop segment is steadily shrinking.  The days when manufacturers automatically included a convertible version of their midsize and compact models is rapidly coming to an end.  That doesn’t mean the convertible is going away, it’s just shifting to sportier and more luxurious product segments.


Convertibles Facing a Cloudy Future

Demand shrinks despite new offerings.

by on Jul.22, 2011

Despite sluggish ragtop sales, the buyers are lining up for the new Chevy Camaro Convertible.

With the temperature nudging 100 in much of the country, even the most diehard convertible fans have folded up the top and turned on the air conditioning.  But the ongoing heat wave doesn’t explain why convertible sales have gone cold.

Now, drop-tops will never again match the numbers of yester-year, when they were as common as station wagons parked in the driveways of ‘50s-era suburbs.  But even as recently as 2006, convertibles accounted for about 2.0% of the U.S. auto market, according to data from R.L. Polk.  Last year, that plunged to an even 1.0% and the question is whether there’s a sunny future ahead.

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“Will this market be able to rebound?” asks Polk analyst Mark Pauze.  “We are seeing a slight uptick” in sales this year, but the increase in convertible sales isn’t keeping pace with the overall improvement in the U.S. new car market, he adds.

There are some exceptions.  Audi can barely keep up with demand for models like the A5 Cabriolet, many customers waiting for backorders to be filled from the factory in Germany.  The new Chrysler 200 Convertible appears to be making up for the declines suffered by the unloved Sebring drop-top.


Ragtop Renaissance Threatened by Fuel Economy Concerns

Assortment of new drop-tops debut in New York.

by on Apr.27, 2011

Bentley adds the Supersports Convertible to its line-up.

Spend some time wandering New York’s Jacob Javits Convention Center and you might think there’s a ragtop renaissance underway.  There are a score of new and more familiar convertibles on display at this year’s New York Auto Show.

But despite their seeming abundance, convertibles are barely making a dent in U.S. automotive sales charts, and some analysts warn that demand for al fresco driving machines may continue to slide as consumers shift focus to more fuel efficient products.

“We think there’s a small but viable market for a convertible like the CrossCabriolet,” suggests Mike Drongowski, senior product planning manager for Nissan, which is just launching sales of the new model, which shares the basic platform of the maker’s hardtop Murano – making it the world’s first crossover-based convertible.

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The New York Auto Show served as the backdrop for the introduction of both the Fiat 500C convertible (Click Here for more), and the Bentley Supersports Convertible.  But there are plenty of other new models on display, including the BMW 6-Series Convertible and Chevrolet Camaro Convertible, as well as more familiar offerings, such as the Mazda Miata, Volkswagen Eos, Mini convertible and Audi’s R8 Spyder and A5 convertibles.

Prices range from $23,905 for the Miata to $280,400 for the new Bentley, which goes on sale this coming summer.


First Look: 45th Anniversary Chevy Camaro

2012 to bring special anniversary edition muscle car.

by on Apr.13, 2011

The 2012 Chevy Camaro 45th Anniversary Edition gets unique details -- and 11 more horsepower.

It’s apparently not enough to be king-of-the-hill for the first time in decades.  To celebrate its 45th birthday, Chevrolet wants to give Camaro some more muscle.

The maker is unveiling a special 45th anniversary edition for 2012, featuring an array of distinguishing touches, including unique red stripes, silver-trimmed fog and taillight bezels and special 20-inch wheels.

The special package will boast a jet-black leather interior, with a special 45th anniversary logo framed in patriotic red, white and blue, as well as distinctive white gauges.

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But what should make a real splash is the upgrade in the 45th Anniversary Chevy Camaro’s drivetrain.  The new 3.6-liter V6 engine, a direct injection powerplant dubbed the LFX, is set to be rated at 323 horsepower.  That’s up 11 from the current version – but perhaps more importantly, it’s also 18 hp over the V6 Ford Mustang.  Notably, Chevy promises fuel economy will remain the same for 2012, with a 30 mpg highway rating.

The automotive equivalent of the Hatfields v McCoys feud took an unexpected turn, last year, with Camaro taking down Mustang for the first time since 1985.  That’s all the more impressive when you consider Chevy only had the Camaro Coupe – in various trim – to challenge Ford with.


Camaro Z28 Likely Returning, GM’s Reuss Hints

Others confirm the performance pony car set for 2012 revival.

by on Dec.03, 2010

A hint of what's to come? The Camaro Red Flash Concept appeared at this year's SEMA show.

With a new Camaro Convertible on the way, can a true performance version of Chevrolet’s pony car be far behind?  For the fans who’ve been eagerly awaiting the return of the Camaro Z28 there appears to be good news, hints General Motors President Mark Reuss.

In an exclusive conversation with, Reuss noted that a close look at “spy shots” of a performance-based Camaro “shows my head behind the wheel.”  While he declined to officially confirm what the camouflaged vehicle was, Reuss said, “yeah,” when asked if a Z28 might be considered a good guess.

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Other sources confirmed that the Chevrolet Camaro Z28 is set to debut late next year, and that it will go into production most likely carrying a 2012 model-year designation.

A variant of the current Camaro V8, bored out to 6.2 liters, is expected to provide the power – which will almost certainly exceed 500 horsepower.  Using modern measurements, it would be the most powerful car ever to wear the Chevrolet Camaro badge.


Neiman Marcus Camaro Sells Out In 3 Minutes

Back to the showroom for everyone else.

by on Oct.20, 2010

It took three minutes for Neiman Marcus to sell out the 100 Camaro Convertibles.

Looking for that special holiday gift for your family gearhead?  You might want to check out the annual Neiman Marcus holiday catalog for their special-edition 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible.

Whoops, never mind.  After getting a big send off on the NBC network’s Today Show, all 100 of the pony cars reserved for the highline retailer sold out three minutes after the order line was opened.

And that’s despite a stiff premium.  The Neiman Marcus Camaro Convertible carried a list price of $75,000.

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The limited-edition model was offered in an exclusive Deep Bordeaux paint with subtle, “ghosted” rally stripes.  The canvas top was done in a complimentary color, with the windshield framed in a special silver matte finish.

Inside, the Neiman Marcus edition featured two-tone black and orange upholstery.


Chevy Sets $30,000 Price For Camaro Convertible

Aiming for a “greater range of drivers.”

by on Oct.04, 2010

Chevy will finally get its Camaro Convertible to market by next February.

After a delay of more than a year, the Chevrolet Camaro Convertible is finally making it to market – although some might question the timing of a February launch for the ragtop muscle car.

Then again, Chevy will put the focus on the Sunbelt first, revealing a production version of the Camaro Convertible at next month’s Los Angeles Motor Show.

But Chevrolet officials have jumped the gun, at least on pricing, revealing that the convertible pony car will carry a base price of $30,000 plus another $850 for destination and delivery.  That adds up to about a $7,000 premium over the Camaro coupe.

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By the time the convertible hits the road the reborn Camaro will have been on sale for nearly two years.  It’s a matter of debate whether that’s unfortunate or fortuitous timing.


GM Jettisons Another Japanese Partner

First, Toyota and NUMMI. Now, Suzuki and CAMI.

by on Dec.04, 2009

The first 2005 Chevy Equinox rolls off the line at the CAMI Assembly Plant in Ingersoll, Ontario on February 20, 2004.

First Chevy Equinox off the line at the CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ontario, February 2004.

General Motors of Canada today announced that it would acquire 100% ownership of CAMI Automotive Incorporated through a transaction to buy shares currently owned by long-time 50% partner Suzuki Motor Corporation.

GM previously ended a link with Suzuki in Asia during November 2008.

No financial details of the latest transaction were released, and it should have no effect on potential customers.

Last June, GM abandoned its pioneering joint venture, NUMMI, with Toyota Motor Corporation in Fremont, California. Toyota has since decided to close the plant located in its largest U.S. market.

GM’s latest move is in keeping with employment agreements with the federal and provincial Canadian governments that were part of the taxpayer financing agreements necessary to bring GM out of bankruptcy in July.


First Drive: 2010 Chevrolet Camaro

If timing is everything, does 4.7 seconds, 0 - 60, count?

by on Mar.20, 2009

If timing is everything, does a 0 - 60 time of 4.7 seconds count?

If timing is everything, does a 0 - 60 time of 4.7 seconds count? Okay fuel economy might help.

Timing is everything – especially when it comes to muscle cars. It’s hard to argue against 0 to 60 times, of course. This is a class that embraces the hare, not the tortoise. But timing matters in another sense.  The original Ford Mustang hit the streets at precisely the right time to launch the pony car craze, and enthusiasm seemed even stronger when the first Chevrolet Camaro followed, two years later.

Ford hit it right, once again, with the 2002 Mustang, which launched the short-lived retro craze. Dodge, however, couldn’t have planned it worse with the introduction of the resurrected Challenger, which hit market just as oil prices started soaring to record levels. So what to make of the reborn, 2010 Camaro, which went into production this week?

There’s no question it’s long overdue. The concept version made its debut at the 2006 North American Auto Show, and was unquestionably the star of that event. But a lot has changed in those three years.  While fuel prices have settled back from their mid-’08 peak, everyone expects they’ll shoot back up when the recession ends.  And that pesky economic downturn has resulted in the lowest demand for new cars since, well, not long after the original Chevy Camaro rolled into showrooms, more than four decades ago. (more…)