This is a real cause for concern.
The Chevrolet Camaro is in trouble. There's no more honest way to put it. The sixth-generation muscle car has been on the market since 2016 and has changed relatively little ever since. By contrast, the sixth-gen Ford Mustang, launched a year before the current Camaro, received a significant facelift for 2018 and numerous other updates since. The Mustang has retained its muscle car sales crown while the Dodge Challenger has scored second place. The Camaro's third-place position is not the only thing that's troubling; it's the fact that its sales numbers are shockingly low.
GM Authority examined the sales decline a bit more in-depth and, well, numbers don't lie. Sadly, the Camaro had its worst first-quarter sales in a decade.
In Q1 of 2010, a total of 20,757 Camaros were sold in the US, a very respectable number. Q1 of 2021? A measly 7,089 units. It's important to bear in mind 2010 was the first model year of the fifth-generation Camaro. Excitement was high after the previous Camaro ended production in 2002; it took eight years for its successor to arrive. Plus, the 2010 Camaro sported a more retro-inspired design that harkened back to its late 1960s heyday.
The sixth-gen, though it rides on a different and lighter RWD platform, doesn't look anywhere near as dramatically different as the fourth- and fifth-gen models do. This was an immediate criticism amongst many fans in late 2015 and could be part of the reason for today's dismal sales.
The multi-year Q1 sales data peaked in 2012 with 21,924 units and remained relatively steady until 2017 when sales sunk to 15,298 and continued to go downhill. From Q1 2019 to Q1 2020, sales decreased by nearly 5,000 units. While the semiconductor chip shortage caused the Camaro assembly line to go idle until a week ago, the rapid sales decline began prior to the chip situation.
What are GM's options? Probably the best thing is to speed up the debut of the seventh-gen model and make it stand out from the Mustang and Challenger in one key way: full electrification. That may not appeal to old-time enthusiasts, but it's probably the only way to prevent Chevy's pony car from being tossed into the ash heap of automotive history.