News of the silicone chip shortage and its effect on automobile production is anything but new, but the issues that face production of the current sixth-generation Camaro go much further than microchips, and are both short- and long-term in nature.
Of course, production and sales have been down across the board for all manufacturers for a variety of reasons. Chevy could have sold a LOT more of the super-hot, mid-engine Corvette than it has to date, save for pesky hindrances such as plant strikes, electrical issues, and oh, and the entire globe getting a serious case of the flu.
Camaro has always been Corvette’s little brother in that the two-seater enjoys status as the brand’s halo vehicle. But that doesn’t make Camaro any lesser of an offering, especially if you have more than one friend who likes to travel with you. It can be argued that Camaro’s woes come more from without than within. As Camaro contends with popular cars such as the Challenger and Mustang, it still tries to draw new owners with a seven-year-old foundation. In our best Yoda voice, “An update they must!” but will they? Not for 2022 at least.
While 2022 order books were opened back in April and production at GM’s Lansing Grand River plant in Lansing, Michigan was slated to begin on June 14, 2021, it appears that date will come and go without a completed 2022 Camaro. That date has reportedly been pushed back to September 20th of this year. With reports that the chip shortage could go on for most of this year, those pesky semiconductors can still be a major part of the equation. The reality of Camaro’s U.S. sales slumping to just under 30,000 units last year, it would make sense for GM to dedicate the limited supply to higher-selling/demand vehicles such as SUVs, trucks, and of course, every C8 Corvette they can produce. Of course, it’s hard to sell cars when folks aren’t allowed, or afraid to enter dealers’ showrooms.
A re-fresh always gives a nice shot in the arm to any brand, but there are no such niceties slated for next year’s Camaro. The better question might be, IS there one scheduled? With GM committed to being 100-percent EV by 2035, the clock is ticking for GM to either build a kick-ass, seventh-generation Camaro that burns fuel or bulk up on batteries. The alternative, as some have pontificated, is that the nameplate may go away entirely, as early as 2023, when the current generation had been scheduled to cease production.
This timeline would seem to agree with GM’s recent resolve to drastically increase their EV footprint. It recently announced its Factory ZERO initiative for the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, where the electric Silverado and GMC HUMMER EV SUV will be produced. GM plans to deliver more than 1 million electric vehicles globally by 2025 and a fresh, next-generation Camaro fits nicely into that timeline. Various automakers have enjoyed strong sales of their more mainstream EV vehicles and with many manufacturers already stating their intention to go all-in on electric, a refresh of our beloved Camaro may be more revolutionary than evolutionary.
In the meantime, GM still needs to contend with the short-term struggles of getting new Camaros into owners’ garages. Some of those struggles will inherently be external in nature, but hopefully, the Mother Ship won’t turn out to be Camaro’s worst enemy in the end. As the past year clearly indicates, it’s impossible to guess what might happen, only time will tell.