It's a Go: GM Dealers Will Have the New Camaro by Early 2009


TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — In GM Chairman Rick Wagoner's own words from an interview earlier this year, if the company didn't build the Chevy Camaro it would be essentially brain dead.

Consider this a sign of life: Production of the new Camaro will start in late 2008, with sales beginning in the first quarter of 2009.

Wagoner said the production Camaro will be virtually identical to the concept car. By the time it arrives in showrooms, the retro-look Camaro will be competing against several other latter-day muscle cars, including the reincarnated Dodge Challenger and the Ford Mustang, including at least two Shelby variants.

In making the announcement at a management seminar here, Wagoner got positively gushy: "The overwhelmingly enthusiastic response to the Camaro Concept continues to remind me of the uniquely iconic place our products can have in customers' hearts. Camaro is much more than a car; it symbolizes America's spirit and its love affair with the automobile."

But as for a possible Pontiac Firebird sibling, Wagoner told IL, "Everybody is just going to have to drive Chevys this time."

The 2009 Camaro will feature a traditional front-engine, rear-drive layout, with all-independent suspension. A variety of trim levels will be available, with a choice of V6 and V8 engines as well as six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

The new Camaro will ride on GM's corporate Zeta platform and is expected to be assembled at the company's Oshawa, Ontario plant.

As previously reported, much of the engineering for the Camaro will come from Holden, GM's Australian arm.

Holden is responsible for developing the next rear-wheel-drive platform, called the Zeta. GM also has key design staff in Australia helping to make sure the production Camaro looks as good as the concept.

What this means to you: Muscle car fans, rejoice! Your dreams of a return to 1970 have come true: Production Mustangs, Challengers and Camaros will soon challenge each other at stop lights across the country.

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