Too many countries are missing out on this American icon.
Recently we’ve spent a lot of time talking about cars America has missed out on. In those series we focused on Japan and England, two countries with right-hand drive. Yes, it sucks that we’ve missed out on cars from the other side of the pond and the Land of the Rising sun, but what about the cars they’ve missed out on from the US? Specifically, what awesome American cars haven’t been offered with right-hand drive? One model that immediately comes to mind as needing a steering wheel swap is the sixth-generation Camaro.
Chevrolet and Ford are the main players in the muscle car wars. Our apologies to Dodge but it’s true. However, only Ford offers its flagship muscle car in right-hand drive. Now The Blue Oval might have beaten Chevy to the punch but there’s no shame in playing catch up. In fact, GM should be thanking Ford for building a business case for it. The right-side drive Mustang is a huge sales hit in the UK and also in Australia. Amazingly, a majority of people in the UK are opting for the bigger V8 over the 2.3-liter four-cylinder EcoBoost engine. Chevy could and should follow Ford’s lead, offering both the 2.0-liter turbo-four Camaro and the Camaro SS to drivers in Japan, Australia, the UK etc…
The 275 horsepower from the turbocharged four-cylinder is nothing to laugh at (especially abroad) and the SS would easily be one of the beastliest cars on any road overseas thanks to its massive LT1 V8. One of the main reasons why muscle cars don’t do well overseas is because they get crap gas mileage. Americans love to piss and moan about high gas prices, but the truth is the rest of the world has it much worse. In a survey on global gas prices conducted in July of 2015, the average cost of a gallon of gas in Japan was found to be $4.37. In the UK drivers paid $6.91 and in South Africa that number checked in at $4.15. The US was sitting comfortably at an average of $2.74 per gallon. Now pain at the pump might means sales would suffer, right?
Well, yes, except for the fact that the new Camaro does pretty damn good on gas. The EPA gives the turbo-four Camaro an mpg rating of 22/25/31 (city, combined, highway), although those numbers each drop by one mpg if you opt for a manual transmission. Hell, even the V8 SS doesn’t do terrible on gas. An automatic will return 17/20/28 with the six-speed manual averaging 16/19/25. These ratings pale in comparison to Japan’s kei cars or the UK’s diesels but remember that the Camaro is a performance car. Decent gas mileage is a nice side benefit but not the main selling point. The main selling point to the world would be the car’s great looks and performance.
Chevy has made a wonderfully modern muscle car but it’s letting Ford steal the show globally simply because it refuses to create a right-hand drive variation. The Mustang proved that the worldwide thirst for American muscle cars is real. Now Chevrolet needs to quench it, if for no other reason than to offer Australians yet another V8 model.