Heh heh... you read that article as well! Canada's National Post is delivered to my front door every morning... and his email addy shows up at the end of the article. At least the guy likes the idea of these cars being produced!Yankee said:Found this on another site - guess EVERYONE couldn't have been happy about the new Camaro and Challenger...
Winnipeg Free Press
Challenger, Camaro face uphill climb to market
Behind the auto show glitz lie real challenges
Fri Feb 24 2006
By John LeBlanc
AFTER seeing Dodge's Challenger concept from the Detroit auto show last month, have you started putting away your pennies in hopes of a production version?
Or what about Chevrolet's similarly mind-blowing Camaro concept? Bet all you longtime Chevy faithful can't wait until the real thing is available so you can go kick some Mustang butt, right?
The Challenger seemed to make its way onto every auto magazine cover, and pre-Detroit show spy shots of the Camaro were hot tickets. You have to think these two concepts have earned their respective companies their weight in modelling clay in free publicity.
But the question still remains: Will these two modern-day pony car concepts make it into production?
The Challenger seems like a no-brainer. Chrysler's SRT gang has a history of doing modern performance cars right. So the production Challenger -- as a respectful interpretation of the 1970 original two-door coupe, draped over the very modern Chrysler/Mercedes-Benz rear-drive LX platform stuffed with Hemi power -- would not only be cool to be seen in but also a guaranteed blast to drive. And with no Plymouth Barracuda to contend with this time, the Challenger would be a singularly unique car in Chrysler's lineup. And what about the Corvette Lite Camaro?
More modern street fighter than all-out retro-mobile, the Camaro brings some serious hardware to the fight courtesy of big-brother Corvette. Right now, the next rung down Chevy's performance ladder from said Vette is the Monte Carlo SS. That doesn't seem right. And doesn't Ford's wildly successful Mustang deserve some natural competition?
If you're a fan of the pony car genre, then it has to be thumbs way up for both of these auto show stars to graduate to showroom status.
But before you put your entire Star Wars action figure collection on EBay to raise the deposit for your new 2009 Challenger/Camaro, think about this: Recent history is littered with cars that generated a lot of auto show excitement, only to be euthanized after being put through the grinding process of attempting to make them not only production ready but also production profitable.
Ford's Forty-Nine, Jaguar's R-Coupe, or Chrysler's ME4-12 quickly come to mind.
If you're a DaimlerChrysler or General Motors bean counter, there's plenty of evidence the chance of these two new concepts making it to the next step -- production -- are slimmer than the return of the Edsel.
Understandable. Because no carmaker wants another Pontiac Aztek, Lincoln Blackwood, Ford Thunderbird, Chevrolet SSR, or Plymouth Prowler -- cars that looked good under the glare of the auto show lights but were production busts.
So, to make it more than a show car one-off, Dodge's Challenger concept has a few, er, challenges before you'll see it on sale.
Like wasn't it Dodge that argued at the launch of its four-door Charger last year that the coupe market is dead? Also, DaimlerChrysler is at full capacity building as many LX cars (300, Magnum, Charger) at its Brampton, Ont., plant as it possibly can. The Challenger's fiscal numbers would have to look pretty good for extra manufacturing facilities to be committed.
The Camaro concept is even less likely to end up in a showroom near you.
At least the Challenger has a platform ready to go. But The General canned a North American version of its new global rear-drive chassis that would have included a Chevrolet Impala, a Buick sedan and the next Pontiac GTO. Unless GM has changed its mind on this decision or it does a Solstice/Sky and puts something together from borrowed parts, you won't be driving a new Camaro any time soon.
Looking at it from more than an enthusiast's perspective, maybe the question isn't will these two pony car concepts make it into production but should they make it into production?
--CanWest News Service
I thought you might be interested in our exchange...
----- Original Message -----
To: Elie Garfinkel
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2006 12:16 PM
Subject: Re: Your Pony Car Article in Today's Post
Thanks for your kind words about my writing. I attempt to remove the BS and hype found in most car writing, something I was trying to do with this article.
As an enthusiast, I would like nothing more than to have a 425 h.p. Challenger with a six-speed stick at my disposal. And if they let the same guys who produced the new Corvette work on the next Camro, that will be a blast to drive as well.
The only question I raise is from a business standpoint. From my perspective, a company like GM makes great niche vehicles (Solstice/Sky, Corvette, Cadillac V-Series, Hummer). But the problem is, unless GM (and Chrysler, to a lesser degree) starts pumping out some mass market cars that people want to buy without having to be heavily discounted, then the General will end up being a niche manufacturer.
Thanks for your interest in my article.
Member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada
2/18/06 10:48 AM, Elie Garfinkel at [email protected] wrote:
First off, I'd just like to say that I admire your work and always look forward to reading your articles in the National Post's Driving section. I may not agree with you all the time, but I certainly respect your efforts to present your thoughts and opinions in a manner that is logical and justified. I am a Camaro enthusiast/owner.
The reason for my writing this note to you is that I feel you have "missed the boat" to a degree, in your Pony Car article that appeared in Friday's paper. I'd like to offer a couple of thoughts for your consideration... since the answer to your question, "Will these two modern-day pony car concepts make it into production?" is a resounding "Yes!"
You must know that this Camaro will be produced. I understand completely that the company line right now is that "it's a concept and we're still evaluating the business case to see if production is feasible." The car is in fact, quite a bit further along at this point than GM is prepared to cop to.
Your suggestion that the chances of these cars making it into production are "slimmer than the return of the Edsel" is very misleading. I must admit to knowing very little about the Challenger's chances, but I'm pretty well up to speed with respect to what's happening with the circumstances involving Camaro.
I feel that your drawing a comparison to other concept vehicles that never made it into production is an unfair one. There are concept vehicles and then there are concept vehicles... Chevrolet itself has produced a couple of them in the last few years that certainly raised some eyebrows (in a positive way) - those being the SS Concept and more recently, the Bel Air Concept. Both were basically styling exercises and never meant for production. Such is not the case for the Camaro concept. GM did not spend $15 million on it in order to not have it produced. Tom Peters, (designer of the C6 Corvette) who headed up the design team for the Camaro concept has stated that the car is producible as it stands. Sangyup Lee, who was the lead designer on the team has mentioned as well that it was designed from the outset to be producible and that it wouldn't need many changes. After the very emotional unveiling of this car in Detroit, I found myself standing beside Jim Perkins (former Chevrolet GM) and he was waxing on as to how he had a signed commitment from one of the designers that he would get the 100th car off the line. I turned and asked him if we could take that to mean the car would see production and his response was, "Oh hell, yeah!!" (FWIW)
I will try and update your comment that "The General canned a North American version of its new global rear-drive chassis that would have included a Chevrolet Impala, a Buick sedan and the next Pontiac GTO. Unless GM has changed its mind on this decision or it does a Solstice/Sky and puts something together from borrowed parts, you won't be driving a new Camaro any time soon."
Yes, the original N.A. version of Zeta was officially cancelled last year by GM, but at the same time, a decision (unpublicized) was made by GM to move forward on a successor to that platform which would be designed and engineered by Holden in Australia, but built in N.A. The Camaro Concept drove into Cobo Hall on that new Australian engineered and designed RWD chassis.Call it what you will (Sigma Lite, Zeta Lite), but it is different than the original Zeta chassis that was cancelled. Far be it for me to understand why GM chose to announce the death of one platform and not announce the evolution of the new one, which has a strong basis in the original Zeta platform.
I met many members of the Camaro concept's design team at a dinner and reception given by GM at their Heritage Museum and it was announced that evening that the team was packing their bags and flying to Australia in order to work with Holden on the fine tuning aspects of this chassis. This is the same chassis that as you suggest, will carry GM's new 4 door RWD vehicles as well. That chassis is in the last stages of development.
As far as the idea that Chrysler has suggested that the "2 door coupe market is dead", I guess that both GM and DCX both owe a round of thanks to Ford for disproving that theory with the wildly successful new retro Mustang. I'm here to tell you that neither GM nor DCX is prepared to stand by and watch Ford grab 100% of that market for domestic cars! The Challenger concept was received almost as positively in Detroit by the press and public as the Camaro concept.
I believe that GM has internally given the green light for this car to be produced and I believe that the speed in which it will be brought to market will surprise many people. This is another reason that GM has not yet given an official "go" to the car and has not indicated how far along in its development it really is. Can you picture the smiles on the faces of GM shareholders when they see how quickly GM can respond to the demands of the market by putting a "must-have" car into showrooms within 18 months of being given the "official go-ahead"? I'll go out on a limb here and predict that official approval will be given for this car's production at some point between April and the end of June this year. I've also heard that the car has been put on a "fast-track" as a result of the overwhelming response to the concept. Production has been bumped up and slated to begin before the end of the '07 calendar year, most likely at the Boxwood Road assembly plant in Wilmington, Delaware which has a capacity of 200,000 cars annually and currently is producing only the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Skye. This is a "flex-plant" and would be able to produce the 4 door variant there as well. As much as I'd like to see it (especially with the engines being made in St. Kitts), Oshawa #2 has little or no chance of being awarded production of these cars, despite Michael Grimaldi's and Buzz Hargrove's appeals in today's Globe!
If I'm wrong and I'm the one who's missing the boat here, then dinner's on me!