The full repercussions of the new CAFE standards have yet to be realized, but already plans are being shaken up and reworked. For GM, the first real casualty is the RWD V8 revival that we’ve been so anxiously anticipating. Don’t worry, the Camaro is still coming - and may even get a hybrid variant - but cars like the RWD Buick LaCrosse and Chevy Impala are vanishing as if they never existed.
Hit the jump for the full details.
Power, efficiency and other specifics of the potential Camaro hybrid are still on the drawing board. It’s little more than rumor at this point, but GM has supposedly selected a team of engineers to figure out how to apply its dual-mode system to the Camaro.
Pricing for the V8-powered Camaro will be higher than initially anticipated, in part because the cost of the platform won’t be shared across multiple vehicles. Some of the cost of developing the new RWD platform can be defrayed by sales in non-U.S. markets, but that will only go as far as the fuel economy standards in those nations - and places like Australia and even China are cinching down the emissions belt at an ever-increasing rate, reports The Car Connection. The Middle East remains an option, but Iran, one of the largest markets in the area, is strictly off limits to American car companies.
The new Camaro will still have to compete both in terms of performance and price with the Mustang and the new Dodge Challenger, so the V6 version of the Camaro may have to shoulder a good portion of the sales load. But the fact remains that the V8 Camaro will carry a price premium, and the hybrid version of the Camaro would be even more expensive - perhaps even edging in on Corvette territory.
Trailing on the heels of the death of Cadillac’s V8 program, Chrysler’s HEMI-cutback and Ford’s EcoBoost focus, the extinction - or at least endangerment - of the American production V8 is at hand. On the other hand, hybrids are popping up everywhere, even in potentially performance/luxury situations - and on cars like the Camaro. Such incongruity would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago. But the 1mpg efficiency hit that accompanies RWD drivetrains in passenger cars means that, in the face of the new CAFE standards, some compromises or innovations must be made, or it’ll be a repeat of the 1970s rush to FWD.