The Chevrolet Camaro Was Almost Done In - What Saved The Camaro From Oblivion?
by Terry Z. Voster
1969 SS 350 Camaro
The Chevrolet Camaro classic "Pony Car" was almost done in by its own popularity, good fortunes and signs of the times - that was in the early 1970's. The Camaro - even the "Pony Car" fad had begun to wane - as the decade and allure of the 1960's ended.
Indeed by the early 70's the allure of the fantastic 60's - "If you can remember the 60's you weren't there" had all but begun to wane. What then saved the Chevy Camaro Pony Sports car from oblivion?
Indeed by the early 1970's with the Pony Car popularity on the wane, when all new 1970's emerged on the scene the manufacturer and maker General Motors (G.M.) had begun to consider whether it should continue the Camaro product line beyond what was then a standard and normal 3 year production run for any new vehicle. Thus the end of the classic Camaro would have been in the 1972 model year. True you might have seen some minor rebadged products with the Camaro badge - but they would have been most poor substitutes, riding on the muscle name, prestige and legend. The Norwood California plant's production run was even considered to be only traditional Chevrolet Nova automobile products.
To top it off the situation even reached a crisis point when as a result of a strike at the Camaro production factory. The strike lasted six months. When it was all over the result was that years end the production and sales results were at a record low for sales of the Camaro car product. What saved the Camaro from its death roll and demise?
What then saved the Camaro and Firebird from an early death that luckily was averted? Basically the GM executives - of the Chevrolet and Pontiac divisions came to conclusion that these two products - the Camaro and its Pontiac sister, the Firebird, were just too good to lose. Thus from the top down the top brass initiated a major in house publicity "public relations " campaign . The basis of their understanding and resulting decision that the Camano's and Firebird were a prestige unique product, who were a major draw of customers of all their product lines into Pontiac and Chevrolet dealerships. The cars were so nice, unique and different from other car companies staid products that people who might never of stepped foot into their dealerships did arrive - if nothing else drawn to see the fancy new Pony Car products.
Since a lot of end result of sales of marketing of automobile products is all based on percentages and getting people into dealerships to buy cars it all made valid sense. It all makes valid sense. If only 1 % of the volume of people who came into dealerships to see the new Camaro or Firebird cars actually bought product - that translates into a lot of profitable sales - that were in essence found money and profit.
Like many of General Motor's decisions of the time, this proved to be more than an excellent decision. For one thing the Ponycar ranks were shrinking were shrinking. The competitors had disappeared or shrunk in stature. The Ford Mustang had shrunk in size with the Mercury Cougar becoming a specialty product, entirely different than before and not servicing a wider market segment. By 1974 the Chrysler Barracuda/Challenger line had vanished from production. Even the AMC Javelin seemed on its way out with a radical departure in styling. Its life was ended by 1975.
In the end the Camaro / Firebird product line was the only Ponycar product left standing. What a wise decision. Thus the Camaro Ponycar line was saved from its own oblivion.
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