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Chevy gears up for new Camaro

Sixth-generation Chevrolet Camaro nears, but still no word on right-hook production

17 Mar 2015

CHEVROLET is ramping up the teaser campaign for its imminent sixth-generation Camaro sportscar, confirming an official reveal date of May 16 in the car-maker's hometown, Detroit.

Offering little more than an image of a Camaro badge with the hashtag #CamaroSix, the American car-maker says the unveiling will occur at an island park that is home to the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

More than one thousand fans are expected at the free event that will include meet and greets with Camaro engineers and designers and hot laps in a 2015 Camaro Z/28.

The next-gen Camaro will switch platforms from its Zeta underpinnings that it shares with the Australian designed and built Holden Commodore to the GM Alpha platform that is the basis for Cadillac ATS and CTS.

While the Zeta offered rear-wheel drive only production, the Alpha platform can produce both rear- and all-wheel drive models.

Last week, Chevy released a video to celebrate 500,000 domestic sales of its Aussie-developed fifth-gen Camaro, which included a taste of a camouflaged sixth-gen model at the very end of the clip.

This followed a leaked image that found its way online early last week featuring five new Chevrolet-badged models that are scheduled for release this year with the tagline, “5 in '15 all-new Chevy cars”.

The heavily darkened image included the next-gen Volt plug-in hybrid, the new Spark micro car, the sixth-gen Camaro as well as the next Cruze small sedan and Malibu mid-sizer.

While the Spark is a lock for Australia next year wearing Barina Spark badges, the future of the other four models is far from certain, despite the fact that the Volt, Cruze and Malibu are already familiar to local buyers.

GM Holden has previously committed to producing the Cruze in its current-generation guise in Australia until the closure of its manufacturing operations in late 2017, and a facelifted version of the small sedan, hatch and wagon just launched in January to keep the ageing model fresh against strong competition.

The Malibu has struggled to gain a foothold in Australia, finding just 1635 homes last year, well behind the segment-leading Toyota Camry (22,044) but also falling behind the Skoda Octavia (1803) and the Volkswagen Jetta (2006).

Just 58 examples of the range-extender Volt hatch were sold last year, while Nissan sold 173 of its full-electric Leaf, and BMW sold 33 i3s after just one full month on sale.

Holden senior manager product communications Kate Lonsdale told GoAuto that next-gen versions of both the Malibu and Volt are still under consideration, but nothing has been confirmed for Australia as yet.

“We are assessing the business case and we are hoping to tell you sooner rather than later, but we don’t have an announcement on either of those yet,” she said. “We just really have to assess what they mean for Australia and if there is a good business case for them both.” The situation with the new Cruze was much the same, with Ms Lonsdale saying that there were “no announcements,” at this stage, but to “keep watching” for more information soon.

Right-hand drive production is yet to be confirmed for the Camaro, but it is believed that Holden would be interested in offering it in Australia if right-hook production gets the green light.

It would follow Ford's decision to build the sixth-generation Mustang pony car in both left- and right-hand drive to push it as a global car.

Chevrolet Camaro marketing manager Todd Christensen said the unveiling of the new-gen model in May will be an event that “Camaro fans will not want to miss”.

“This is only the sixth time we have introduced an all-new Camaro,” he said.

“We wanted to share the moment with the customers and fans who have helped make Camaro both America’s favourite performance car for the past five years, and a cultural icon since 1967.”

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