The 2008 Dodge Challenger is proof and so is the upcoming Chevrolet Camaro. Yes, baby boomers still have huge sway in the car business and that's why coupes are making such a comeback.
Sure, the Challenger and Camaro are pure homage to the tire-burning, gas-guzzling muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s. But you won't hear auto executives go on the record with the term "muscle car." They all prefer to say "high-performance vehicles" and "sporty coupes."
And they're not kidding. The Dodge Challenger SRT8 "is not a straight-line fast car," says Frank Klegon, Chrysler's executive vice-president of product development. "It's designed and engineered to be a really great car." Period. And with side curtain airbags and antilock brakes, to boot.
The Camaro? Ed Peper, general manager of the Chevrolet brand, says it is much more refined than any muscle car. "This is a sleek, aerodynamic, futuristic sports car," he says.
Both General Motors and Chrysler will offer relatively fuel-efficient versions of the Camaro and Challenger, and GM is toying with the idea of making a Camaro that runs on an ethanol blend. So there is a green piece in all this.
Auto executives say there is strong demand for two-door cars like the Camaro and Challenger. Chrysler received 4,300 orders the first day it said it would make the Challenger SRT8 — the first 6,400 are reportedly all sold out.
GM, for its part, has a list of 500,000 people who have raised their hand, saying they're interested in the Camaro. There is no shortage of demand.
That's true even as the market is being flooded with a wave of interesting and stylish coupes. The 2008 Nissan Altima Coupe? Gorgeous. The Infiniti G37? Stunning. Audi's potent S5? Breathtaking. There's also the Ford Mustang, which was reinvented in 2005, and even Honda launched a coupe model of its newest version of the Accord.