In 1964, Ford introduced the Mustang, selling nearly a half million the first year. GM took notice, and scrambled to come up with a competitor. At first GM dropped a big engine in a small car, the Chevrolet Chevelle. It was fast, but unstable. Then, in 1966, GM introduced a real contender, the Chevy Camaro.
The Camaro started as a muscle car and has remained true to those roots for 35 years. But, alas, the performance car segment has been declining for 15 years. Camaro and its cousin, the Pontiac Firebird, have taken big hits.
GM just announced officially that next year will be the last for the Camaro and Firebird. That came as no big surprise. For years, the Canadian plant that makes the two cars was not scheduled to produce anything past 2002.
Combined Camaro-Firebird sales were about 73,000 units last year. The Mustang – which is sporty but not really a sports car– sells nearly two-and-a-half times that.