Skip to main content

Why isn't the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Selling Better?

Although the Chevrolet Camaro has shown sales growth over the first few months of this year, sales of the 6th gen Camaro are slower than many expected – but why? Today, I look at a few reasons why the new Chevy muscle car isn’t selling as well as the Ford Mustang.

Join us...    

When the Chevrolet Camaro went on sale late in 2009 as a 2010 model year vehicle, it immediately began outselling the Ford Mustang and it did so with regularity for years. The Camaro led in muscle car sales in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 – winning most of the monthly battles along the way - only to be upended by the new 2015 Ford Mustang last year. However, when Ford started posting big sales numbers for their next gen car back in late 2014, Chevrolet fans were quick to point out that the Mustang’s sales numbers were just due to the early rush for the new model.

When we got past the first few months of the 2015 Ford Mustang and sales not only stayed steady, but they continued to grow, those same Chevrolet fans were quick to remind us that Ford’s success was a combination of a new, fresh Mustang and a Camaro that hadn’t changed much in 5 years. They insisted that once the new Camaro arrived in late 2015, it would regain its place atop the muscle car segment sales race and honestly, I agreed with them.

I expected that when the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro went on sale late in 2015, it would cause a similar sales spike to that of the new Ford Mustang late in 2014 and through the early stages of 2015. However, we are now more than 6 months into the delivery process of the 6th generation Camaro and while sales are up over last year, the numbers are still far below those of the Mustang during its peak or even right now. The 18 month old Mustang is comfortably outselling the 6-month old Camaro and since the angle of one being fresh and new while the other is aging doesn’t apply, we have to wonder why this new Camaro hasn’t seen the big sales spike that the Mustang enjoyed.

I have driven the 2016 Camaro 1LT RS Convertible for a week and I absolutely loved it. I consider the new Camaro to be better than the 5th gen model in every way, so I really cant explain why this new model isn’t selling better than it is over the past six months. The 2010-2014 Camaro led the segment in sales and this new Camaro is, without a question, a better vehicle, so why isn’t it selling?

To get some input from a Camaro-friendly crowd, I had a friend of mine (who owns several Camaros) post a poll in a popular Camaro Facebook page. He made is an open poll, so people could either select an existing option or add their own and among the serious input, there was one dominant slight against the new Camaro – the price.

Polling a Camaro Friendly Audience
Before anyone posts asking why I chose to poll a Camaro page about Camaro sales, is that the group as a whole is more likely to offer useful comments. At a general car page, I would have gotten comments from anti-Camaro folks that wouldn’t have been based on anything more than their dislike of the entire model. Asking a Camaro owners group their thoughts allows me to get negative information from a group that is otherwise completely positive about the vehicle.

The question was simply “If you were in the market for a new car, what would stop you from buying a 6th gen Camaro?”

There were a few people who posted interesting reasons why they cannot or would not buy a 2016 Camaro right now, including one person who recently purchased a 5th gen Camaro and another who opted for a Pontiac G8. A few people jokingly suggested that they wouldn’t buy a new Camaro because 3rd gen Camaros are better while a handful stated that they were only waiting for the arrival of the new 50th Anniversary Edition to arrive.

Among the more popular replies, the two most popular answers related to the overall design of the new Camaro and the pricing of the new Camaro.

In terms of styling, one of the poll answers was “6th gen is smaller overall, lost the muscle car feel. More of a luxurious sedan now”. While I’m not sure about calling the Camaro a sedan, there is no question that it is a little smaller and even the 1LT that I tested for a week was beautifully plush inside. The new Camaro felt just as roomy to me as the previous generation or the competition, but I understand that not everyone is going to like a new generation vehicle.

The most common reply related to the pricing of the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, with the most popular poll choice being “Could buy 4-5 clean 4th gen Z28's for the price of base 2016”. Several other poll answers focused on the price with different wording, but in total, more than half of the people who answered the poll used the pricing as their reason for not buying a 6th gen Camaro. Also, in speaking with a handful of Camaro owners who I know in person as to why they weren’t buying a new Camaro right now, all of them showed a general disapproval of the 2016 pricing layout.

When the competition is outselling your new muscle car by a significant margin and the majority of the people in an enthusiast group point at the pricing when asked why they aren’t looking to buy right now, you have to wonder how General Motors will address this issue in an effort to improve Camaro sales. So far, it doesn’t appear that they are too worried about the sales numbers, as a recent report states that the 2017 Camaro will cost $650 more than the 2016 models.

If you have input as to why you think the new Camaro isn’t selling better, tell us in the comments below and thanks to the folks at the Camaros Unlimited Facebook page for the input!

Join us...    


Raymond Forte (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 2:19PM

I bought my 2011 2SS for 34,000 in August 2010. No RS, no sunroof. A similar 6th gen priced out right at 40k when I saw it at the car show. Sorry, too rich too fast for me to justify it.

Harry Sanders (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 2:48PM

I think that price has a lot to do with it but to me the lack of color choices is a big issue! The 5th gens offered an array of sporty hot colors whereas the 2016 is limited and basic in color choices! Also the 6th gen has gotten far away from the looks of a Camaro in my opinion. From a distance it looks to much like a damn mustang!

Scott (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 2:48PM

The ergonomics of the interior just sucks. Granted it's better than the past 5 gens. It dosen't have the retro look going for it like the challenger. The mustang looks as goods as they run,especially for it being the underdog in the cubic inches department. What hurts the mustang is its poor fit and finish,uneven gaps in trunk. Camaro only has its drivetrain going for it.

Brice (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 10:43PM

In reply to by Scott (not verified)

Displacement is mostly irrelevant. One is a 4 cam 32 valve OHC configuration...the LT1 is a single cam 16v OHV...all while the LT1 being slightly more fuel efficient. I chalk it up mainly to looks...and with the C7 Corvette also stealing a good portion of sales. The Mustang has no in-house competition. Plus, Mustang owners were eager for a new car...the platform was almost 10yrs old. The 2010 Camaro (1st yr of the 5th gen) is still relatively new...with owners still paying for them.

tony1991 (not verified)    May 11, 2016 - 5:52PM

In reply to by Brice (not verified)

But the thing is that down in Australia the 5th gen zeta platform was being used for a little over 10 years as well. It maybe new here but the platform itself is about the same age as the mustang.

Lee (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 3:32PM

Well, in all honestly, price DOES play a pretty big role for many buyers. And if they don't see a real-world ROI for a higher cash outlay when compared to the prior vehicle it can stagnate sales no doubt. I also wonder how many folks who had a '10-'14 Camaro decided to trade it in on a new Dodge Challenger instead? Challenger has been selling strongly for a few years have to think a bit of sales would/could be siphoned off there.

Kameron Heath (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 4:20PM

The Transformers styling like vevaffair is over is my opinion.Throughout my life, Camaros and Firebirds have had a small! 3-4 year period as the Apple of everyone's eye....then that stopped and went back to the Mustang.
I have owned 5 Camaros in my life and I despise what passes for a Camaros these days.It's toombig and overweight.Itsvdesign is a remix of a classic album....and we know that never works.
My opinion....bring the spirit of when thevCamaro was av2+2 Corvette back as oppose to life in the past lane look it has now.I think a Camaros designed and packaged like avStingray with a backseat would be exciting.Tap into the 4th gen era when the Camaros didn't need 500 HP to just dip into the 12s in the 1/4 mile.

Gregaryous (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 4:38PM

The 2016 Camaro looks too much like the 2015...
When I buy a new car I want people to know it and the new Camaro looks too much like the old one.

That is why the new Mustang is selling so well because it looks new yet has traditional Mustang cues and looks ultra modern... Not so much for the Camaro!!!

Zeke (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 4:53PM

You would think the option packages make your choice easy, but try to find a base model manual, red, 2LT, turbo with machined wheels. Impossible. Also 8" my link is not compatible with Android phones. GM makes it hard.

Miranda (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 4:56PM

I have to agree with the commenters before me. The 6 gen is pricey but for me it no longer looks nor feels like a camaro but rather more towards a european sports car, which GM was trying to go for. The challenger is outselling the mustang and camaro for the fact that it kept the retro look, which many car people and buyers like about it. If i had to choose between a previous gen and the 6 gen ill most likely go for a previous gen. I would choose them since i want a muscle car, not a european sports car.

Mark Day (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 8:06PM

I don't trust the AFM (Active Fuel Management) engine and couldn't believe that the hood scoops dump water directly into the engine bay - at $47k? And affordability - $47k - 2SS with options. Somewhat of a stigma driving any GM – taxpayer bailout. Bought a used Infiniti G37 instead, for half the price - a Japanese Camaro.

kris (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 10:23PM

From my observations on the forums, and my personal opinion; styling is a big detractor. Does it look good? Yes. Does it look better than a 5th gen? No. It did lose a bit of that retro appeal. It is undoubtedly a better car; nobody denies that, but it isn't catchy in the way the new Mustang is. The Mustang's design is bolder, at least when compared with the previous generation Mustang. As far as design goes, I feel about the camaro rear 3/4 about the same as I feel about the mustang's front 1/4: they both look odd. Unfortunately for the Camaro, it has become a bit of a caricature of itself though, and it is expensive. GM has not done a good job promoting it either. For the record, I am a 5th gen owner too.

Steve (not verified)    May 9, 2016 - 11:56PM

I just leased a 2016 Camaro SS (had a 2013 Camaro) before that and I love it. The things a beast 450 hp and I like the new interior. I find it funny that some people here say it's gone Euro. When in my view it's the Mustang that's gone Euro with it's new look. The one con is no surprise, the price, I think it should be more in the mid 30s for an SS.

Rigel (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 2:28AM

I don't like the size and the rear end. I have a 2014 ZL1 as a family car and my 2016 Z06 as my daily. With my 2014 ZL1, I can fit 2 car seats in the back seats, 2 strollers in the truck and a cart full of groceries. The 6th GEN Camaro, has less head room just less space in the back. The trunk has been significantly reduced also. The trunk on my 2014 is one of the best things about my 5th gen. I hate how the rear end looks on the 6th GEN too. More horsepower is tempting, but my 5th gen has the space I want.

Michael Smith (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 9:10AM

As i said before, the 3rd generation is the better selection as far as looks and still holds true on the road coarse even when stock. Not to mention with the new rear upgrade you can now have full independent rear suspension. The aftermarket also has front upgrades for coil overs and possibly in the future a all around liquid magnetic suspension as well. The model also boasts a frame that accept any old and new generation GM engine and transmission combo produced from 4cyl to 8cyl with no issues. With all of that being said you still end up with a car that is not only cheaper than a 6th gen but looks better and will most likely outlast, outrun and out handle any 6th gen on the road.
As for the 4th gen, im not a huge fan of them but they also have their perks over the third gen but only in the front suspension area as not much was changed from the doors back except body reinforcements from GM. With that being said even a 4th gen can be brought up-to par with the new 6th gen but with a mildly more non-cost friendly aftermarket.
The 1st and 2nd camaros are all in a class of their own and should be left that way. They where build back when muscle car era was the real deal and it will always remain that way.

Jim Reinhardt (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 9:21AM

I too am a 5th gen owner (2011 2ss) and I agree with most of the previous comments I love the 455hp LT1 motor the car is faster right from the factory but I also think it's to pricey buy a good used 5th gen add a few upgrades and it will be just as fast or faster than a new one for maybe half the money that's what I'm doing and most people think it's a brand new car. just sayin

Paul (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 12:05PM

In my opinion, the car has basically looked the same since 2010, thus the market of potential buyers is saturated. Give someone a reason to buy the new one. When someone sees 2010 or newer Camaro driving the street its not obvious at quick glance if its 5th or 6th gen. Sure to the enthusiasts there are noticeable changes to the front and rear lights. GM has done a better job with differentiating the most recent generations of Corvettes or Silverados.Add in the price and why would anyone upgrade from the 5th to 6th gen. The car has always been about affordable power.

Zack (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 12:49PM

It's too pricey compared to a 5th gen Camaro 2SS fully optioned out. I feel it's too small and when I sat in one, I felt like I was cramped. Comparing the 6th gen to the 5th gen, it's way to similar. Put the 14-15' Camaro SS next to a 16' Camaro SS and they are alike. It's just smaller and more rounded. The front is the same as the later 5th gems, just with a way smaller upper grille and a huge lower grille. The tail is exactly the same. In my opinion, I prefer my 2012 Camaro SS over the new 6th gen any day. I can go on and on about this but I'm not going to and it will take forever.

Bryan (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 8:49PM

Overpriced just like GM's trucks. I got a 2014 F150 super crew 4x4 xlt with leather for 34,7xx. It was end of year, I will give it that, however, with Ford and Chrysler you get more features for the same price you get a GM truck with only about 3/4 of them or so. Bottom line is GM needs to get off their high horse and come down to earth on their pricing. I really like the new Camaro, especially in the bright blue, however, if I were able to go buy one right now I might just wait til a used one comes around. I have driven 2 Mustangs in my life and you could not pay me to drive that hideous Fusion mustant!

ponyboy (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 8:53PM

I too had sticker shock when i first saw the new camaro. I didnt understand why chevrolet would raise the price so much....BUT it didnt take long for me to understand. The cars performance cant be compared to anything under 40k and it rivals much more expensive cars, M4, shelby gt350 for example...Plus i love the fact that they made it smaller, muscle cars of the 60s and 70s were small and compact for the most part, it was only after 2010 that the damn thing got so big. Is ferrari and lamborghini doing the same with their cars? Are they bigger than previous generations? No, theyre still sleek and sexy cars, like theyve always been. I wish the muscle cars of today had the same proportions as the originals...

Mike (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 10:13PM

All these comments and no one has mentioned availability.In the the north east,the dealers in my area don't want to sell them,or they aren't aloted them ,I've been to several dealers,they will relunctantly let you drive it ,but sell it .I hear they just came out ,we need them on our lot to get traffic in .Not only is it expensive,they want full msrp,If they'll even sell it.unless you have an inside track at least in my area( own a auto shop that buy parts or something)you aren't getting one at a reasonable price,and they are all 2 ss with autos,because supposedly gm thinks only hardcore will buy the stick.not to mention the leghthy roll out,it should be a 17 already.I personally also would have liked to see a significant change to the desighn like a retro 70.5 ,A big change ,like in 70( so good they stuck with it for11 years)I guess it was to risky as I'm sure it was then .But the powers that be will do as they see fit on the car,you input doesn't matter,I would like to get one,and once I can get a used one,or a dealer that would actually order one for me ,I'll have to wait.

Joe (not verified)    May 10, 2016 - 11:39PM

I sat in a 6th gen and for me, it was a little tight. When I looked at a 5th gen, it felt much better to me. Additionally, the 5th gen larger size was more appealing. Lastly, I was able to get a brand new 2015 2SS convertible at 30% off MSRP and that was a huge savings over the 2016 counterpart. While I read up a lot of the powertrain, performance, HP and fuel efficiency of the 2016, I still could not see spending the extra money... just was not worth it.

Tim (not verified)    May 11, 2016 - 1:55AM

Price is a big factor on this one. Being a huge Camaro fan, I love the car. I was waiting for them to hit the lot so I could see one. After seeing how great it was I was impressed but the price tag was too much. I settled for a 2015 SS and I love it to death. The 2016 is a far better car than the new mustang. Better fit and finish, better quality materials, better features and most importantly, better performance. All these things Costco Wh and that's why I think this puts the Camaro on a higher level than the mustang. Most people can't justify spending the extra money on the car and that's why I think sales aren't there. Most people either like Camaros or they like mustangs. There are a lot of buyers that like both and these are the ones that go for the mustang because it is more affordable. Something needs to change in order to get the price down. I think if the price was more competitive, sales would increase.

tony1991 (not verified)    May 11, 2016 - 12:20PM

Another thing is that they made the 6th gen come with more standard features than the 5th gen. Because they did a study where most buyers bought the the features that they now made standard. If comparably equipped, both the new gen camaro and last gen are similar in price.

Parker (not verified)    May 12, 2016 - 5:51AM

I think each of us when buying a car pay a lot of attention at its price, it's not that we don't care about other features but if you can't afford it you can't do anything with it. I love the model but to be honest the reason why it is not selling well is the price. I would rather buy a used car from auto auction repokar than buy this model.

Ken (not verified)    May 12, 2016 - 8:26AM

Price point is too high and interior room is limited. Seemed cramped compared to my 2013 Camaro. I actually ended up getting a challenger r/t, not as fast but much more comfortable as a daily driver.

Tony5 (not verified)    May 17, 2016 - 8:01AM

I want to buy a new Camaro as I have a 71 SS 4 speed, 83 Z28 and 95 Z28 but as I live in Australia a right hand drive version is required.
I would have expected the 6th gen car to have some similar lines to the award winning early gen 2 Camaro to set it aside from the latest Mustang.