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The Camaro ZL1 Versus the Corvette: Chevy Taking Aim at Itself?

There’s a lot of news out there about the Camaro5 Fest coming up, and lots of other Camaro things dominating the various news feeds these days (February sales numbers, etc.), but I wanted to explore in theory another bit of news: the regular rumor that the ZL1 will come with a $47k price tag. It makes sense, the price associated with the 550HP supercharged monster of a Camaro, but it also raises some questions. Obviously, it puts it just below the Mustang GT500 by about $2500, so that’s meant to be its primary competition–and the two vehicles stack of amazingly well to one another on paper–but it also puts the Camaro ZL1 right in line with the base C6 Corvette, for an interesting thought: will the ZL1 Camaro take away from Corvette sales, or vice-versa?

At first, the Camaro and the Corvette seem like two very different vehicles: one’s a heavy, HP concerned, more affordable pony car; the other’s a lightweight, race-inspired, monster of an American muscle car. Those differences though will ultimately be made much less apparent when the two vehicles hit the track. The extra weight of the Camaro will be negated by the increased HP load, and the MRC suspension given to each vehicle will help them both handle the course equally well. The notoriously difficult to control rear-end of the Corvette may even seem less responsive than the Camaro when on a windier track–a thought that’s fairly impressive to think about. So, when the comparisons hit the web of the two vehicles (and we know they’re inevitable) I’m incredibly excited to see how the two vehicles, which are almost identical in price, fair against one another. It’s pretty fair to assume that the Camaro, with the extra HP and vastly improved suspension, will outperform the Mustang GT500 readily, and be right in line with the lighter and more race-specific Corvette’s performance numbers. What separates these two vehicles at that point then? A MPG rating that will certainly be a little better on the Corvette, or the Camaro’s extra back-seat? Maybe the argument for a consumer ultimately comes down to a battle of style and namesake (the Camaro’s beloved by the population, but few vehicle or vehicle names hearken back to such incredible thoughts as the Corvette does) between the two vehicles? I’m afraid that Chevrolet’s gearing up to compete with itself here, and I’m not sure if that business move will be a good one in the long run. As it stands right now, the Camaro outsells the Mustang and Challenger handily, and the Corvette stands as the next step up. When two options from the same company exist in the same market point, how will they help/hinder one another?

I’m not sure how these vehicles will affect the market-shares of each other, but, I do think that as competition goes the ZL1 and the C6 Corvette will be more in line with each other than the SRT8 392 Challenger or GT500 Mustang are. What do you think? Obviously, the ZL1’s going to be an amazing vehicle and a great step forward by Chevrolet as a company–but will it be a successful business move? Since the restructuring of GM, this question begs to be asked about every move they make.

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