What Kind of World Is It When the Chevy Malibu Lives and the Camaro Dies?
Not only does the Malibu live on but Chevy is updating it, while digging the Camaro’s grave.
The Chevy Camaro isn't long for this world. Come January 2024, the Bowtie is killing the Camaro off, with a slow, drawn out death. It isn't just this sixth-generation Camaro that's dying, either. It's the entire nameplate as we know it. What makes matters worse, like salt in the proverbial wound, is what isn't dying—the Chevy Malibu. How is that fair? What kind of world do we live in when icons can die but rental sedans live on?
Like most brands, Chevrolet needs to reexamine its future, one that features more buzzing electrons than fiery combustion chambers. Times are a changin' and if Chevy doesn't change, too, it's going to find itself in trouble. So it needs to make some adjustments to its lineup, to get rid of the cars that aren't selling so well, and keep the cars that are, all while trying to bring new electric vehicles to market. Unfortunately for anyone who even remotely likes cars, the Chevy Camaro is one of the casualties of such brand reexamination.
The sad irony of the Camaro's impending demise is that it's actually selling better than it has in the past couple of years. So far, in 2023, Chevy sold 17,333 Camaros, which is a 54% increase over the same period in 2022. And Chevy sold more Camaros in 2022 than it did in 2021. It's clear that the Camaro is on the rise, so why kill it off but let the Malibu live?
Well, the Malibu looked at the Camaro's sales and laughed. The Bowtie moved exactly 78,169 Malibus so far this year, which is more than quadruple the Camaros that sold. Of course, much of the Malibu's stat sheet is padded by fleet and rental car sales. But those are still sales and, last I checked, fleet cash is as green as everyone else's.
To twist the knife even further, Chevy isn't just keeping the Malibu around, it's updating it for 2024. OK, so the 2024 model year only brings a new color (Lakeshore Blue Metallic) and standard rear park assist but it still stings to see the Malibu get updates while Chevy digs the Camaro's grave.
In fairness, the Malibu has a far wider demographic than the Camaro. It's an affordable family sedan that provides reliable, fuel efficient transportation to the masses. A two-door sports car like the Camaro has no chance competing with the Malibu on the sales sheet.
Admittedly, there's still a tiny sliver of hope for the Camaro. The candle is flickering but it is still lit. “While we are not announcing an immediate successor today, rest assured, this is not the end of Camaro’s story," said Scott Bell, vice president of Global Chevrolet, in a recent press release. However, as far as we know it, the Camaro nameplate will only live on in motorsport, including NASCAR, IMSA, and NHRA.
There's also the possibility that the Camaro might return as an EV and there are even rumors that it could return as … a crossover. I got shivers just typing that. Sure, the whole electric crossover thing worked for Ford, with the Mustang Mach-E, but that's only because the piston-powered Mustang is still alive and thriving. Without a V8 Camaro sharing the road, an electric crossover version is just a slap in the fact to GM fans. However, with the current, highly electrified state of the car market, don't expect the Camaro badge to ever share space with a V8 badge again.
And yet, the Malibu lives on like a cockroach. So what kind of world is this? A cruel, unfair one.
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