For months, Chevrolet has hinted that the remake of the Camaro sport coupe would arrive in January of next year as a 2009 model, but Chevy general manager Ed Peper says, nope, it will go into production in February of next year and won’t be in showrooms until March 2009 — as a 2010 model.
Rather than a January intro and a short 2009 model run before switching to a 2010 designation in the fall, the Camaro will have a long run as a 2010 model before switching to a 2011 designation in the fall of 2010.
Peper said only the coupe will be offered for the first nine months of the model’s life, with a choice of a 400-plus-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 or a 300-plus-hp, 3.6-liter V-6. He said mostly V-8s will be produced, for enthusiasts eager to get their hands on the first ones off the assembly line.
The convertible will be added at the end of 2009, also as a 2010 model.
To silence those who gripe about the debut of a new higher-performance sports coupe and soft-top convertible in the face of soaring gas prices, Peper pointed out that both engines will offer cylinder-deactivation technology to shut off either three or four cylinders when they aren’t needed, to conserve gas. No hybrid is in the works.
Peper said dealers will probably start taking orders for the Camaro later this summer, but he wouldn’t give a specific date when consumers can ink a contract.
GM vice chairman Bob Lutz forecast Camaro sales will top 100,000 units a year. Peper agrees, but said Chevy can’t reach those numbers until both the coupe and the convertible are available.
Peper also announced that in a matter of weeks Chevy will begin offering its midsize Malibu sedan with a 169-hp, 2.4 liter four-cylinder engine teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sedan will be rated at 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is very close to the Malibu Hybrid’s 24/32 mpg.
The four-cylinder/six-speed Malibu will start at $26,245, which is about $4,000 more than the hybrid, because it willl be offered on the top-of-the-line LTZ trim level, which has the most standard equipment, while the hybrid is offered on the lower LT1 trim level.
At least now Chevy can say it offers a hybrid at a lower price than a gas engine car.