Camaro: Better Late Than Never?

By: Andy Enright, Photography by: Wheels archive

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camaro camaro

Aussie buyers can look forward to a right-hand drive Camaro. Just don’t hold your breath

Whisper it, but General Motors might just have given the right-hand drive Camaro the green light, offering hope for a rear-drive Holden-badged V8. The downside? It won’t appear here before 2021, according to our friends at Wheels magazine.

"Where we see there’s a need to have right-hand drive, yeah," said GM's VP of Global Design Mike Simcoe (pictured below). "We’ll have the ability to make a choice but the architecture will accommodate left- and right-hand drive."

Wheels reports that Simcoe has his eye on the success Ford has enjoyed with its V8 Mustang down under. The man in charge of planning for General Motors International, Lowell Paddock, agrees, stating that right-hand drive is more important than ever for the company, paving the way for more models for Holden.

"There’s much more consciousness now. And the fact that the president of the company [New Zealander Dan Ammann] is saying ‘we committed to do this, we’re going to do it’, that’s a dialogue we haven’t had in the past," Paddock said. Simcoe says it’s about thinking globally, something helped by production techniques that allow for consolidation of platforms.

Mike -simcoe

GM is a long way behind the curve here. By the time the right-hook next-gen Camaro makes landfall in Australia, the Mustang will have had a five year head start. Currently attracting around 6000 customers per year here, it was more luck than judgment that saw RHD Mustangs take up the slack where Falcons left off. GM has enjoyed no such serendipity in its planning process. When it arrives in 2021, the Camaro will at least have some additional elements engineered in. As well as a V8 and four-cylinder turbo for the Camaro, expect it to be package-protected for a hybrid system, allowing GM to future-proof it against tightening emissions regulations. That may well help it claw back some lost ground against Ford.

Al Oppenheiser, chief engineer for the Camaro programme, has long maintained that right-hand drive development can only really work if there looks to be enduring rather peaky demand. That’s a decision that will likely hinge strongly on ongoing Mustang sales. Continued success for the Blue Oval’s pony car could well come at a significant cost.

 

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