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GM Gives Next-Generation Camaro Lots of Thought

Set to arrive in 2015, the next-generation Camaro has some big shoes to fill.

It's no secret that the current Chevrolet Camaro is a phenomenal success for the automaker. After letting the Ford Mustang have the entire pony car fun for a few years, the new Camaro debuted in 2009 to overall rave reviews. Granted that both cars (and the Dodge Challenger) have plenty of loyal fans, Chevy has managed to do an incredible job at building a modern day V8 muscle car. The question Chevy management and product planners are facing now is where do they go from here?

Set to arrive sometime in 2015, GM brass is reportedly proceeding very carefully with the next Camaro because they simply can't afford to mess it up. According to a report from autonews.com, the biggest hurdle they need to deal with can be summed up in one word: weight. Camaro chief engineer Al Oppenheiser stated that in regards to CAFE regulations: "We always get hammered for mass, and that's not going to be getting easier going forward. Displacement, number of cylinders, all of these things you need to think about." Currently, the Camaro is based off the four-door Holden Commodore.

Regarding the new car's design, Oppenheiser claims they went going back and forth between the first gen (1967-69) and the second-gen (1970-81) as inspiration. However, he didn't say which one was chosen in the end. Just how important is this car for Chevrolet? In 2011, the Camaro held a 42 percent share of the rear-drive performance coupe market, which consists of the Mustang, Challenger, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe. 88,249 Camaros were sold last year, compared to 70,438 Mustangs, 39,534 Challengers, and 32,998 Genesis' (this, however, is combined for both the sedan and coupe).

So far this year, the Camaro is holding 40 percent of the market, but the Mustang is quickly catching up with a 35 percent share. Both Oppenheiser's engineering team and the design team are working together on what must be another hit. Otherwise, well, let's not go there.

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