The Camaro Is One of the Few Cars to Get Discontinued Twice
Chevrolet’s iconic Camaro flashed its handsome grill for the first time in 1966 (as a 1967 model) as an underdog competitor to Ford’s wildly popular Mustang. Several generations later, Chevy killed off the Camaro in 2002 amid poor sales. Simply put, it was getting clobbered by consumers’ growing preference for trucks and SUVs versus sporty two-door cars.
Then, leveraging momentum from the popular film Transformers, Chevy brought back the Camaro for the 2010 model year, with styling reminiscent of the first-generation 1969 model. But once again, it’s being discontinued following a shortened 2024 production run. Being discontinued twice is a rarified badge of honor.
The Camaro is coming to an end for Chevy
According to sales data site GoodCarBadCar, Camaro sales have been fairly anemic since approximately 2020. That, combined with Chevy’s transition to an all-electric vehicle lineup by 2035, was the death knell for the Camaro. Chevy made the official announcement in March 2023 and the final production units will roll off the assembly line in January 2024.
A special Collector’s Edition package will be available, which includes “Panther Black” metallic paint, a nod to Chevrolet’s internal codename for the first-gen Camaro: Panther.
While sad, the news was hardly a surprise. The Camaro’s combination of two doors and powerful internal combustion V8 engine almost seems like it’s from another era when juxtaposed against the current crop of EVs. Dodge’s Challenger was similarly axed last year, leaving the Ford Mustang as the last man standing in the muscle car war of attrition.
This isn’t the first time Chevy killed the Camaro
Chevy killed the Camaro once before after the 2002 model year, which ironically marked its 35th anniversary. Sales of the two-door car were flagging, with only about 29,000 units sold in 2001, which justified the tough decision.
For the record, the styling of the fourth-generation Camaros was always controversial and some less charitable types might even say ugly. In particular, the 1998 to 2002 models were nicknamed “catfish” Camaros due to the appearance of the grill and headlights, which some gearheads equate to the whiskered bottom-feeder.
Aquatic styling references aside, the fourth-gen Camaros were stout performers, culminating in a 325 horsepower Super Sport (SS) version that MotorTrend ripped from zero to 60 MPH in 5.1 seconds, trouncing a SVT Mustang Cobra in the process.
Will the Camaro ever return?
In a press release announcing the demise of the current sixth-gen model, a spokesperson for Chevrolet commented, “While we are not announcing an immediate successor today, rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro’s story.” That’s a pretty strong hint that the Camaro nameplate is merely resting, not totally dead.
That said, whatever vehicle takes up the gauntlet will probably bear little resemblance to the Camaro of yesteryear. It will almost certainly boast an all-electric drivetrain and some sources are convinced that it’ll be a crossover body style.
Recycling names from long-ago decades seems a popular strategy these days. We’ve recently seen the resurfacing of the Acura Integra, Dodge Hornet, Chevrolet Blazer, and Ford’s Maverick and Bronco. While some of those vehicles are worthy successors to their historical counterparts, others like the Maverick bear no resemblance whatsoever. Let’s just hope that the next Camaro falls in the former category.