This past weekend, Chevrolet introduced their new NASCAR race car, which features an exterior design based on the newest Camaro ZL1. While at the unveiling of this new race car, GM’s Mark Reuss told Automotive News that the company is looking to “remix some of the V8 options” in order to lower the price or in other words, the automaker is looking at removing some standard features from what we know today as the Camaro 1SS in order to get the entry V8 price point down around the Ford Mustang and the Dodge Challenger.
The Camaro has been struggling to compete with the Mustang and Challenger on the sales chart since the 6th generation car was introduced for the 2016 model year, dipping to some of the worst sales numbers for the Camaro since it was re-introduced to the Chevy lineup in late 2009. Needless to say, GM wants to move more Camaros and it seems that the best way to do that would be to lower the price. To lower the price, they will likely trim off some of the standard features of the Camaro 1SS (the “base model” V8 Camaro), so today, I take a look at which options could be removed without killing the fun of the Camaro SS.
Lowering the Camaro SS Price
For the 2017 model year, the least expensive V8 Chevrolet Camaro that you can purchase is the 1SS package, which starts at $37,995 with destination fees. The least expensive V8 Ford Mustang GT starts at $34,095 and the least expensive V8 Dodge Challenger starts at $34,090, meaning that the least expensive V8 Camaro starts around $4,000 more than the competitors. Chevy fans will point out that the Camaro 1SS has more features, more power (for 2017) and other advantages which justify the difference in price, but when it comes down to someone who is shopping for a V8 muscle car on a budget without any predetermined brand preference, that $4,000 difference is likely to lead price-conscious buyers to the other two cars.
In fact, since the sales numbers have proven to be relatively low for the 6th generation Camaro, I have spoken with many Chevrolet owners and enthusiasts, asking them why they think that the new muscle car isn’t selling better. In almost every case, their answer was “it is too expensive”, so it comes as no surprise that GM is looking to bring the base MSRP of the V8 Camaro down.
But what standard features do they remove to bring the price down without diminishing from the Camaro SS?
Trimming the Camaro SS to Compete with the Mustang GT
Although the Dodge Challenger R/T is in the same price range as the Camaro SS and the Mustang GT, the R/T package is considerably less powerful than either of the other two V8 models, as those Dodge fans who want more power can get into the Scat Pack model with 485hp for around $40,000, but for the sake of this discussion, the only models which really matter are the Camaro 1SS and the Mustang GT non-Premium.
The Camaro 1SS and Mustang GT differ with the following key features:
-Camaro comes with 20” wheels and tires, Mustang comes with 18” wheels and tires
-Camaro comes with Brembo brakes, Mustang does not (Brembo brakes are part of the Mustang GT Performance Pack)
-Camaro comes with a premium 8 inch infotainment screen, Mustang comes with a basic radio
The basic (non-Premium) 2017 Ford Mustang GT is not offered with 20 inch wheels at all, but to get the bigger 19 inch wheels and the Brembo brakes, buyers have to add the GT Performance Pack – which adds $2,995 to the bottom line. That brings the Mustang GT price up to $37,090, $905 less than the Camaro 1SS. Unfortunately, the premium infotainment system isn’t available at all in the non-Premium Mustang GT, so there is no way to add it to better compare the prices, but with the bigger wheels, tires and brakes bringing the prices much closer together.
If Chevrolet were to introduce a new Camaro 1SS package with 18 inch wheels and tires, a non-Brembo braking system and a simpler infotainment system, it seems that the company should be able to price the least expensive V8 Camaro in the same ballpark as the least expensive Ford Mustang and they can do so simply by matching the features of the Mustang. In the long run, offering smaller wheels, tires, brakes and a less elaborate radio won’t make the Camaro 1SS significantly less impressive, but that move should make it significantly less expensive…or at least the removal of those standard features should put the Camaro SS in the same starting price range as the Mustang GT.