Since it was revived in 2009, the Chevrolet Camaro has been a solid hit for General Motors (NYSE:GM). The Camaro's combination of style and performance has proved to be an enduring success -- and the current model, updated with more fuel-efficent engines and a sophisticated suspension, has continued that success.
In fact, the Camaro has recently out-sold its ancient arch-rival, Ford's (NYSE:F) Mustang. But an all-new Mustang will arrive at Ford dealers later this year. How will GM respond?
GM hasn't said anything officially, but rumors are starting to emerge. As you can see in the photo above, Ford took an evolutionary approach with their new Mustang. Reports are suggesting that GM is planning to take a similar approach with the next Camaro. As Fool contributor John Rosevear explains in this video, the new Camaro will be on a completely different platform -- but it's expected to be quite similar to the current model.
A transcript of the video is below.
John Rosevear: Hey Fools, it's John Rosevear. We're starting to get some hints about the upcoming all-new 2016 Chevy Camaro.
We've known for a while that the next-generation Camaro will be built on GM's Alpha platform, that's an advanced rear wheel drive platform that underpins the Cadillac ATS and CTS sedans. It's a great platform, the new CTS is Motor Trend's Car of the Year in part because its handling is outstanding and because it's lighter in weight than a lot of its rivals. Both of those things would be good news for the Camaro.
We also know that the next Camaro will be built at GM's Lansing Grand River factory, which is where the CTS and ATS are built, and we think it'll probably debut at next year's North American International Auto Show, in Detroit next January, and it'll arrive at Chevy dealers probably in the fall of 2015.
We don't know what it'll look like, but Edmunds.com had a report this week where they said they have learned that it'll look quite a bit like the current car. Just as the all-new 2015 Ford Mustang looks different from the current car but looks a lot like it, GM is going to make the same kind of move with the Camaro. Edmunds quoted a source who has seen the new Camaro, who said "It looks like a worked-over current-model Camaro. It is on a different platform, so that is a significant difference, but when they modified it to be on a different platform, the styling did not change that much."
So we should probably explain what a platform is, it's not actually a chassis or a physical thing, it's a set of measurements and engineering decisions that allow different vehicles to be built with common parts on the same assembly line. It's things like where the dashboard goes and the angle of the windshield, how big the engine bay is, that kind of thing. It doesn't mean that the new Camaro will look like a Cadillac. Think about this: The Ford Focus and the Ford Escape are on the same platform.
What the Camaro gets from being on this platform is rear wheel drive, room for V6 and V8 engines, automatic and manual transmissions, and the benefit of a lot of the engineering development and under-the-skin parts like gas tanks and brackets and so forth that can be shared with the Cadillacs. I expect the new Camaro to be standard with a V6, optional V8, just like now, and maybe they'll follow Ford's lead with the Mustang and offer a turbo four cylinder, the 2.0 liter turbo four cylinder that they're using in the ATS Coupe would be a nice choice in a Camaro, 295 foot pounds of torque.
So probably quite a bit lighter, more sophisticated suspension, probably faster, probably more fuel efficient, but not a radical change for the next Camaro, just making it better. We look forward to seeing it. Thanks for watching, and Fool on.
John Rosevear owns shares of Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool recommends Ford and General Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.