General Motors is still slowly trickling out information on the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, but based on what appears to be official dealership documentation discussing production and allocation of the new super muscle car, the highly touted 10-speed automatic might not reach dealerships and buyers until late in the first quarter of next year. Along the same lines, the 2017 Camaro ZL1 Convertible will seemingly be on the same production schedule, as the Lansing Grand River plant focuses on ZL1 coupes with the manual transmission during the first step of production.
2017 Camaro ZL1 Production Outlined
Before getting into the production plans for the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, I want to quickly clarify where this information originated. A member of the enthusiast community Camaro6.com named kc6gen posted a documented dated 8/20/2016 and on this document, the basic information on 2017 Camaro ZL1 production and allocation plans were discussed. This isn’t technically official company information since it really wasn’t meant for public consumption, but provided that the information proves to be legit – it is as good as official.
According to this information, production of the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will be broken into Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 will begin during the fourth quarter of 2016 and continue into the middle of January, while Phase 2 will begin shortly after – sometime during the first quarter of 2017.
When production of the new Camaro ZL1 begins, the Lansing Grand River facility will only be building ZL1 coupes with the 6-speed manual transmission. This will be the case throughout Phase 1.
When Phase 2 begins during the first quarter of 2017 – which could realistically come as late as March – the plant will begin building the new Camaro ZL1 in convertible form and with the new 10-speed automatic transmission.
What Does This Mean for Buyers?
If this production plan proves to be accurate, only those buyers who preordered a 2017 Camaro ZL1 coupe with the manual transmission will have any chance of getting their cars before January. Every new ZL1 delivered during the first wave to buyers and to dealer stock will have the hard top and the clutch pedal, and even if Phase 2 begins in the 3rd week of January, buyers won’t be getting their ZL1 coupe with the 10-speed automatic until February at the very earliest.
In other words, if you went to your local Chevy dealership today and put down $1,000 on the rights to buy their first 2017 Camaro ZL1 with the 10-speed automatic and a convertible top, you will wait at least 6 months for your car. In fact, it might be 6 months before your car is even built, so with the quality control process and shipping, you could be waiting even longer. That doesn’t even take into account the fact that some people surely put in orders at their local dealerships as soon as the car was announced, so the reality of this production plan is that some people could be waiting almost a year before getting their new Camaro ZL1 with the 10-speed transmission.
No 10-Speed is a Shocking Move
After all of the attention paid to the new Camaro ZL1 because of the 10-speed automatic transmission, I am more than a little blown away to hear that GM might not put one in the hands of a buyer before March 2017. This transmission will almost surely lead to the quicker and more efficient of the two options (6-speed manual vs 10-speed auto) and while enthusiasts will gladly buy up those early manual transmission models – this production plan is going to leave a great many people eagerly waiting for the 10-speed Camaro ZL1.
I'm really not surprised to hear that GM will hold off on building the Camaro ZL1 Convertible until closer to next spring, as convertible sales in many areas around the US are terrible during the winter months, but the decision to hold off until the second wave production before building the new supercharged Camaro with the 10-speed automatic transmission really is mind-boggling to me. After all, the availability of the 8-speed automatic transmission in the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat has played a big part in the success of the 707hp Mopar muscle car, as the automatic models are quicker and more efficient than the manual transmission - while also holding their value better.
It should be noted that this information could change, which is clearly states on the paperwork posted to Camaro6.com, but right now, it looks like Camaro fans are going to be waiting much longer than expected for the self-shifting supercharged ZL1.
Source: Camaro 6.com