20 Questions With the Camaro “Big 3″

April 19, 2008

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With all of the information and misinformation going on amidst the recent flood of 2010 Camaro news and spy shots, it is hard to distinguish between what is accurate, what is not, what is important, and what isn’t.

CamaroZ28.Com throws 20 burning questions at the Camaro “Big 3″ to get to the bottom of the facts and rumors.

Who are the Camaro “Big 3″?

Scott Settlemire Scott Settlemire (AKA “Fbodfather”) – Former Camaro and Firebird Brand Manager, current Shows and Exhibits Manager for Chevrolet and Hummer.
John Fitzpatrick John Fitzpatrick – 20 year veteran of GM, former Northeast field rep, current Camaro Marketing Manager and all around Camaro Enthusiast.
Cheryl Pilcher Cheryl Pilcher – Current Camaro Product Manager, former development engineer on 3rd/4th gen Camaro and C5/C6 Corvette Product Manager.

The following information can be considered current at the approximate date of 3-25-08.

1) CamaroZ28.Com: We know what the name Camaro means, but what does Camaro mean to you personally?

Scott Settlemire: I think Pete Estes had it right (“Friend, pal, comrade”) and the proof is the number of Camaro enthusiasts that get together several times a year to celebrate these great cars. Moreover, it could be argued that we get together each day or night (as we log onto web sites such as CamaroZ28.Com) to talk about all things Camaro.

I fell in love with the Camaro on September 10, 1966, and it’s been a love affair ever since. Frankly, it was like losing a member of the family when the last Camaro (and Firebird) came off the line at Ste. Therese on August 27, 2002. A lot of tears were shed that week.

I see it as the American performance car. It has a muscular V8 engine, rear wheel drive, and a look that’s distinctively “American as apple pie”. I see ‘em as my “kids” ’cause they really can control my life at times.

Cheryl Pilcher: Wow. just thinking about the Camaro takes me back to my good old days of working at the Milford Proving Grounds on the 3rd gen and new 4th gen Camaros. We had a young and very enthusiastic engineering group working on the Camaro that LOVED Camaro. It was a great time in my life! The name Camaro just makes me think of those carefree times, loving life and having fun. And life just gets better because now I get to be intimately involved in the 5th gen Camaro – an absolute dream!

2) CZ28: Regarding the recently leaked photos, has it helped the project at all? How much did it hurt the project?

Scott: That’s hard to gauge. I’d say that the early leaks hurt us because the shots were very unflattering and what we DON’T know is this:
How many people were waiting (for the new Camaro) saw the leaked images of the unfinished car and said, “the heck with it” and went out and bought something else? That can hurt.

The good news is that the photos we put out there of the front shot of a mule on a high speed track has been overwhelmingly accepted.

John Fitzpatrick: Although no one likes unauthorized photos, I think even though photos have stoked the fire and provided the team with some great early feedback.

Cheryl: I think the decision to remove the camo on the Camaro has helped and hurt. It has been great to hear the majority of people that absolutely love what they see and how pleased everyone is that the production car is so similar to the concept car. The downside is that I feel like we need to give everyone a lesson on the difference between a prototype and production car. Normally that is not something that you need to worry about at this time. And on a fun note, it’s fun to read everyone’s speculation on what is correct and where we are headed and what everything means, especially when you know all the answers! Sometimes you are spot on, other times out in left field!

3) CZ28: Is the Camaro team surprised by the attention the car has received?

Scott: I knew in my gut that the car would be very well received. What I don’t think most people at GM were expecting to see on January 9, 2006 was full-grown men and women burst into tears when the concept roared onto the stage.

I don’t think I was quite expecting the non-enthusiasts to embrace the car as well as it has been embraced. I stand quietly by the concept or Bumblebee at various new car shows around the country and look at peoples’ reactions and listen to their words. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me. This car strikes a chord in most Americans, even those who would never consider an American car.

John: I would agree with Scott. The acceptance, the attention the car receives where ever it is on display is just overwhelming.

Cheryl: I’m not too surprised because I know that we all fell in love with the concept car the first time we saw it too. Keep in mind that so many of us who are working on the car are absolute enthusiasts too so we know when it felt right. You just can’t stop looking at it, studying it and wanting to drive it.

4) CZ28: Is there any way to tell how the new government regulations will impact future Camaro models? If so, can there be a possibility of it being in a good way?

Scott: I’m not sure that I want to address this subject at this time. The U.S. government just adopted new standards and we’re still digesting them so it’s really premature for any of us to discuss.

Cheryl: The new CAFÉ fuel economy regulations concern me. It will be a challenge and I’m hoping that GM will be up to that challenge with the next generation of Camaro!

5) CZ28: What are your thoughts on Camaro’s soon-to-be competition, like the Mustang, Challenger, etc.?

Scott: BRING IT ON, PONY BOY!

John: I think it will be very clear when Camaro arrives, it will be the standard the other two will be judged by.

Cheryl: I respect our Camaro competition, but I have no fears for the Camaro. The Camaro will stand tall compared to these competitors in so many ways.

6) CZ28: Some people feel the upcoming Hyundai Genesis is also competition for the Camaro since it has 300HP and is RWD. Agree or disagree that it is competition?

Scott: Of course it will be competition. The consumer has a myriad of choices when it comes to transportation and so in a way, any car or truck is competition. I think the Hyundai will capture peoples’ attention because of the styling and frankly, the small import enthusiast crowd’s gotta be looking at it…

Cheryl: I think that we must be aware and study the Hyundai Genesis coupe. As we learn more about this model at the NY auto show we will be more informed as to any strengths or weaknesses Hyundai may have.

7) CZ28: What is the current state of Camaro development?

Scott: I’d say 70 to 75% finished. Now having said that, it’s never really over as we’re looking at the entire lifecycle. Cheryl and the engineering gang are REALLY busy these days. We have some stuff up our sleeves.

John: Scott is correct. Every day we draw closer to Job One, so development is on a very fast pace now.

Cheryl: Things are well on their way for the Camaro validation testing. Testing is going well and on schedule. Our focus does switch to the lifecycle planning of the car, how to keep it fresh and exciting. Trust me, it will be exciting!

8) CZ28: Why is the Camaro going to be a 2010MY if it is coming out early 2009?

John: By assigning the Camaro a 2010 model year moniker, it maintains resale value. Also, what better way to start the second decade of the 21st Century?

Cheryl: Fitz has got it right!

9) CZ28: It is reported that dealerships have been taking deposits for well over a year. What are your thoughts on that?

Scott: I’m glad that there are waiting lists. I’m not happy that some dealers have taken actual monetary deposits because they really shouldn’t be doing that until they have ordering info. Once ordering info is published then it is appropriate to ask for a deposit.

John: I am elated at the number of people on waiting lists (when I talk to dealers and they give me the numbers they’ve got). By the way, ordering information will be available later this year.

Cheryl: It really pleases me to hear the excitement and the obvious desire that so many people have in wanting to own a new Camaro. I just hope that our Chevy dealers haven’t over-promised in what they will be able to deliver and when.

10) CZ28: How will people know when the appropriate time to place a deposit on a new Camaro is?

Scott: When the order guide hits dealerships – and we’ll let you know that through CamaroZ28.Com.

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