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Chevy 1LE Gives Performance Boost to Camaro

Package available for both V-6, V-8 models.

by on Feb.10, 2016

For the first time, the Camaro 1LE package will be available on V-6 and V-8 models.

For those hoping to squeeze even more performance out of the Chevrolet Camaro, the bowtie brand is bringing back its 1LE package.

Set to make a debut at the Chicago Auto Show this week, the Camaro 1LE option will be offered on both V-6 and V-8 versions of the muscle coupe. The package provides a combination of increased handling, extra performance and a more sporty appearance with a signature matte satin black hood.

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The 1LE is meant for “an owner who wants a daily driver and a weekend track car,” suggests Paul Edwards, U.S. vice president in charge of Chevrolet marketing.

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Chevy Pulls a Two-Fer, Takes Motor Trend Awards with New Camaro, Colorado Models

Two surprise winners in a crowd full of competitors.

by on Nov.17, 2015

Chevy has scored a string of victories with the Camaro since it was brought back in 2009.

Chevrolet pulled off a double upset, taking both car and truck-of-the-year honors from Motor Trend magazine with its Camaro muscle car and Chevrolet Colorado pickup.

The twin endorsement by the widely quoted magazine means Chevrolet bested such serious competitors as Honda, whose  all-new Civic was seen by many as a Car-of-the-Year shoe-in, while the new Nissan Titan and the refreshed Toyota Tacoma were strong contenders for the Truck-of-the-Year title.

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“I couldn’t be more proud of this team that delivered the Camaro,” said Mark Reuss, the head of global product development for General Motors, as he accepted one of the two awards during the first-ever televised version of the Motor Trend awards.

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Blast From the Past: Detroit Automakers Looking to Revive More Old Nameplates

Barracuda, Bronco, Ranger among models that could return from rust heap.

by on Aug.27, 2015

An original Plymouth Barracuda.

Coming up with an all-new name has become a major headache for automakers around the world. It can be difficult to find a name that hasn’t already been taken, and it then can be extremely costly to build consumer awareness.

So, it seems, a number of carmakers are looking back into their past to see if there are once-popular nameplates that can be revived. And with the successful revival of the Chevrolet Camaro, a few years back, it seems that even more manufacturers are going to take this route.

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Among the once-popular names we may soon see back in showrooms are the Grand Wagoneer, Barracuda, Ranger and Bronco, it seems. And still others may follow – though looking for a blast from the past does carry some risks, industry analysts warn.

As TheDetroitBureau.com reported this week, Ford Motor Co. is expected to bring back the Ranger pickup, a nameplate it abandoned in the U.S. in 2011, though it continued offering an all-new model overseas. The Ranger would fill a gap in Ford’s line-up now that there are signs American motorists are returning to the once-huge midsize truck segment.

(Click Here for more on the return of the Ford Ranger.)

Ford is now expected to offer a U.S. version of the midsize Ranger pickup, a model it dropped in 2010.

The revival of the Ranger would follow the return of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models that briefly went out of production while General Motors worked up a more modern and competitive redesign of the compact trucks.

Ford also is said to be toying with the return of another once-popular model, the Bronco SUV. It was once a leader in the sport-utility segment but was replaced by more car-like models, such as the Ford Explorer. A new Bronco, sources suggest, would be roughly the size of the latest Explorer, but instead of riding on a car-like crossover platform it would share the chassis of the new Ranger pickup.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has brought back a number of model names in recent years, including muscle car mainstays like the Dodge Charger and Challenger. And it may add one more old-is-now offering to that high-powered segment, a revived Barracuda. In its heyday, the ‘Cuda was marketed through the now-abandoned Plymouth brand. Going forward it also would be sold through Dodge.

The sibling Jeep brand is also expected to bring back an old model, this one the big Grand Wagoneer. Though often credited with creating the modern SUV boom, Jeep hasn’t kept up with some key rivals in filling every possible model niche. The revived Grand Wagoneer would be a full-size model to take on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GL, among others.

(Chevy, GMC hope to expand appeal of Colorado, Canyon twins with new diesel drivetrains. Click Herefor the latest.)

The return of the Chevy Camaro was one of the industry's most successful relaunches.

FCA reportedly is filling in dealers on its future product plans during a meeting in Las Vegas. Ford, meanwhile, has reportedly clued in the United Auto Workers Union on some of its plans as part of its ongoing contract negotiations. Formal public announcements could follow in the weeks or months ahead.

There are several reasons why manufacturers reach into their histories to revive old nameplates. For one thing, it is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with good names that aren’t already in use or at least registered by a competitor. That’s one reason many makers have gone the alphanumeric route. But they also know that it’s hard to get worked up about something called an ABC123.

Launching an all-new nameplate, meanwhile, is extremely expensive, a mainstream model often requiring a marketing investment of $100 million or more to establish in the market, notes analyst Joe Phillippi, of AutoTrends Consulting.

But when it comes to these blasts from the past, some of those old model names still carry a lot of positive heritage that automatically tell a story in the collective public mind. That was the case when General Motors brought back the Chevrolet Camaro in 2009. The muscle car went on to dominate the so-called pony car segment for the next five years.

The retro-styled Ford Thunderbird didn't deliver on the maker's high hopes.

On the other hand, GM’s effort to bring back the once-revered Pontiac GTO name flopped a decade ago. Unlike the retro-styled Camaro, the new “Goat” had a bland and largely forgettable design that failed to connect with consumers.

The same was the case with the Thunderbird, the two-seat roadster Ford tried to launch a decade ago. Over the decades, the T’bird went through a variety of incarnations, from the original 2-seater to a bloated coupe and then into a quirky but less-than-compelling 2-seater again. A variety of product weaknesses resulted in mixed reviews and weak sales, and the Thunderbird was again pulled from the market.

So, while a grand old name can give a new product a head start, it’s not enough to fix a bad vehicle design.

(New Jeeps, including next Grand Cherokee, Grand Wagoneer, delayed. Click Here for more.)

Woodward Dream Cruise Can Celebrate Past and Present

Forget the ‘60s; the best muscle cars ever are being built today.

by on Aug.10, 2015

The latest version of Chevy's Corvette Stingray can get up to 31 mpg while making 455-hp.

The roar is back. All this week, you can expect to see countless classic hot rods, muscle cars and other exotics cruising Detroit’s main drag as the Motor City gets ready for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

This will mark the 20th anniversary of an improbable event that took shape almost by accident when a small car club in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale decided to change things up. Rather than having its members park their cars for their annual gathering, organizers decided it would be more fun to cruise up and down Woodward Avenue. Word got out and almost 250,000 people lined the eight-lane boulevard to watch. In recent years, that has grown to as many as 1.5 million, with an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 classic cars cruising Woodward.

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“It gets bigger and bigger every year,” noted regular Dream Cruise fan Bob Wissman, who recalled spending plenty of time riding around with friends in their Corvettes, Camaros and Mustangs as a teenager back in the 1960s.

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Muscle Cars Rule Again

Why advertise a car that’s already sold out?

by on Jul.02, 2015

The Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models take center stage in the new Predators ad campaign.

At 707 horsepower, the Dodge Challenger and Charger Hellcat models are the most powerful muscle cars to ever roll off a Detroit assembly line, and the fastest. Just ask any dealer who has watched the two vehicles squeal out of showrooms faster than the factory can build them.

Even though Dodge is heavily promoting the Hellcat models in a series of new 30- and 90-second ads, the Hellcats are sold out for the rest of the 2015 model-year. But parent Fiat Chrysler isn’t the only one struggling to meet demand. Ford Motor Co. saw a roughly 40% jump in sales of its long-popular Mustang last month, and while sales are off a bit for the Camaro, Chevrolet expects a big surge of demand once it launches the all-new 2016 version in the months ahead.

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Only a few years ago, skeptics were predicting the demise of the muscle car, with the classic V-8 likely to be relegated to the automotive rust heap. Hybrids and battery-cars were expected to take their place. But as recent sales figures have demonstrated, Americans aren’t about to abandon their long-standing passion for performance. These days, manufacturers are being forced to pile on the incentives to get buyers to consider those alternative-power vehicles.

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Muscle Car Sales Charging Up in America

Buyers pony up cash despite challenges of ownership.

by on Jun.30, 2015

Muscle car sales, including those of the Dodge Challenger, are on the rise in the U.S.

If it appears that there are more Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers on the roads around town, it’s not a figment of your imagination: American muscle cars are big sellers these days.

According to Experian Automotive, muscle car sales are up more than 35% in the last nine years with the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro leading the charge. Through May Ford sold 56,571 Mustangs; Chevy sold 33,982 Camaros, according to Autodata Corp. The Dodge Challenger is in third place, with 30,166 sold.

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“The love of the Mustang combined with the reintroduction of the Camaro, Challenger and Charger has sparked a resurgence of the muscle car,” said Brad Smith, Experian’s director of automotive statistics. (more…)

First Drive: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro

Initial impressions suggest Chevy has pulled together a winner.

by on May.18, 2015

Still wearing camouflage, a handful of new 2016 Camaros launch down the Grand Prix track.

The early morning calm is shattered by the sound of the big V-8 firing up. Shifting into gear, I head out onto the winding road course that will, in two weeks’ time, play host to the annual Detroit Grand Prix. But on this particular Sunday morning it is serving as a test track for a first ride in the new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro.

To provide some perspective on the new car, Chevy starts me out on a lap of the 2.35 mile circuit in the outgoing, fifth-generation pony car. If anything, they’ve set the bar high, however, using as comparison the high-end 2015 Camaro Z28. As I blast out of the pits and onto the straight, its raw torque sinks me deep into the car’s sports seats. I slam through the gears, accompanied by the sound of squealing tires and squeaking brakes, hammering through a series of tight corners before finally pulling back into the pits.

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Sweating more than you’d imagine on this cool Detroit morning, I jump out of the old car and into a new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro – all the while, wondering what they could have had in mind putting that Z28, with its 6.2-liter V-8, up against a “base” car with a far more modest, 3.6-liter V-6. But my questions are quickly answered as I head out for a second run on the Grand Prix course on.

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First Official Look: 2016 Chevrolet Camaro

New pony car aims to remain king-of-the-hill.

by on May.16, 2015

Smaller yet roomier, lighter and more fuel-efficient but also more powerful, the 2016 Camaro.

After a steady build-up of leaks and teases, Chevrolet has finally pulled the wraps off the sixth-generation Camaro, a model that it claims is lighter, faster, more nimble and more fuel-efficient than the “pony car” it replaces.

The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is also more technologically sophisticated, introducing a number of new features – such as a first-ever turbocharged engine — and expanding the availability of others, including a magnetic ride control suspension. And even more high-tech features and variants are set to follow, senior General Motors officials confided.

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The short-term goal is to keep the Camaro at the top of the muscle car heap. Despite the launch of an all-new version of the Ford Mustang last year, the Chevy coupe has been the segment’s number one seller for five consecutive years, though it has lost its lead during the first four months of 2015.

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Chevrolet Offers Revealing New Tease of 2016 Camaro

It’s “all about the aero.”

by on May.11, 2015

Chevrolet will stage the official debut of the 2016 Camaro in Detroit next weekend.

They may be called muscle cars, but it takes more than a big engine to make a car like the Camaro go fast. And with the new model set to debut next weekend, Chevy says it has put a premium on aerodynamic enhancements, as well as lightweighting.

As this shot – the most revealing teaser image yet– shows — the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro has spent a lot of time in the wind tunnel to both reduce aerodynamic drag and improve the cooling of its big 6.2-liter V-8.

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“The importance of aerodynamics increases exponentially as we increase vehicle performance,” said Kirk Bennion, Exterior Design manager. “As engine output increases, we need more engine cooling. As acceleration and top speeds climb, we need to reduce lift for better high-speed stability. However, we cannot make any changes at the expense of increasing drag, which can hurt fuel economy.”

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Chevy Sets May 16 Debut for Gen-6 Camaro

Public invited for unveiling of new pony car.

by on Mar.16, 2015

Camaro invites up to 1,000 fans to come to Detroit's Belle Isle for the 2016 Camaro preview.

Chevrolet plans to give about 1,000 lucky muscle car fans the chance to get a first look at the next-generation Camaro.

The Detroit maker has been dropping lots of hints about the sixth-generation Camaro in recent weeks and today confirmed it will unveil the new pony car on May 16th during an unusual, day-long celebration on Belle Isle, the 982-acre island park a couple miles from parent General Motors’ downtown Detroit headquarters.

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“This will be an event Camaro fans will not want to miss,” proclaimed Todd Christensen, Camaro marketing manager. “This is only the sixth time we have introduced an all-new Camaro. We wanted to share the moment with the customers and fans who have helped make Camaro both America’s favorite performance car for the past five years, and a cultural icon since 1967.”

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