The Chevy Camaro May Be Going Down Under
Holden Special Vehicles will reportedly convert Australian Camaros to right-hand drive.
The muscle car never died in Australia. While America got by with Corvettes that produced less horsepower than an "underpowered" Subaru BRZ, cars like the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon continued to carry the V8 torch down under. But with the Falcon gone and the latest Commodore being a rebadged Opel Insignia, has the Aussie muscle car gone the way of the recently extinct Bramble Cay melomys?
The answer is no, and this time it's the Americans to the rescue. The latest Ford Mustang has been for sale in Australia since its 2015 introduction. Sales have far exceeded Ford's expectations ever since. The Chevy Camaro's purpose in life has always been to compete with the Mustang, and News reports that this battle has finally come to Australia. Spy shots have revealed undisguised Camaros near the engineering center of Holden Special Vehicles, which is Holden's equivalent of BMW's M or Mercedes' AMG.
The earliest the Camaro was expected to arrive in Australia was the next generation in 2022 since it wasn't designed with right-hand drive in mind. But the current Mustang is selling so well that perhaps General Motors wants a piece of the action earlier than planned. The Camaro is at a disadvantage since the Mustang supports left- or right-hand drive, so it is suspected that HSV will be asked to convert Camaros bound for sale in Australia to right-hand drive. Independent tuner Crossover Car Conversions already offers this service for a $50,000 premium, according to CarBuzz, but the HSV conversion will reportedly add "only" $20,000 to the price of the Camaro. Sadly, HSV is not expected to enhance performance while they're moving the steering wheel from one side of the car to the other.
This price difference will likely steer many toward the Mustang despite GM's efforts. But the Holden vs. Ford battle in Australia is at least as strong as Chevy vs. Ford here, and no doubt there are some who will gladly pay the premium on a Holden-modified Camaro before stooping so low as to drive a Ford, in their minds.
But this is probably, at best, a stop-gap measure to at least make the Camaro available in some form before a true right-hand drive version is expected to arrive in 2022. No more than 1,000 converted Camaros are expected, reports CarBuzz. Perhaps General Motors has seen the error of not only turning the Commodore into a front-wheel-drive car with less than eight cylinders but also of doing the same to the Impala when Chevy revived the name in 2000.