The Small-Blockization Of America Continues With Camaro And Corvette Sales

By Blake Z. Rong | February 28, 2012
One in three sports cars, proudly proclaims General Motors, wears the Chevrolet bowtie on its flanks. Call it the Corvettization of America, if you will, or the Camarofication of these 50 states. But boy, do we love our homegrown sports cars—to the extent that between the Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette, they comprise 1/3 of all sports cars sold in America. In 2011, Chevrolet sold 88,249 Camaros, capturing a quarter of the sports car market itself. Fans of the pony car will be elated to know that it beat out its vicious rival, the Ford Mustang, by about 18,000 units. Its Corvette sold 13,164 examples. The Corvette might be a handful compared to its Porsche 911 archnemesis, according to the fine scribes at Motor Trend, but Americans evidently don't worry about the rain—the Stuttgartian sportster only managed to foist 6,016 examples upon us last year. General Motors promises: two Corvettes for every Porsche! Hey, it's an election year. "We challenge any company to bring two cars to compete with the Corvette ZR1 and Camaro ZL1, dollar for dollar,” said Mark Reuss, president of General Motors. “They will discover what enthusiasts already know—that Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette are the world’s best performance cars for the money.”
While Chevrolet listed a number of competitors for the Camaro and Corvette, the lists is a little odd. For example, in addition to the Ford Mustang and Dodge Challenger, Chevrolet says the Camaro also competes against the Honda CR-Z hybrid and Hyundai Veloster. Really? We didn't realize the Camaro competed against a hybrid and a fuel sipper with fancy styling. On the Corvette side of things, there's the Porsche 911 and BMW 6 Series. OK, fine, but with the BMW Z4 and Mercedes-Benz SLK in the mix, why not include the Infiniti G37 Coupe? Maybe because it actually outsold the Vette? Granted, the entire sports car category is hard to define in itself. Does the Honda CR-Z count as a sports car, on account of its two-door attributes? How about the Volkswagen Eos? Would you cross-shop a Mazda Miata against a Mercedes-Benz SL? They're all lumped into the same category for academic purposes, even though the amount of cross-shoppers between the Volvo C70 and, say, the Dodge Challenger SRT 392 Yellow Jacket could probably fit inside a phone booth. But that said, it seems to us as if Chevrolet is carefully picking its "competitors" for the sake of a good press release. The thing is, it's not really necessary. The Camaro combines relative practicality (a bunker-like back seat, room in the trunk for cases of Schlitz) with eye-catching style, big-time action movie placement, and—of course—gobs of delicious, habit-forming levels of power. And the Corvette—well, what else is there to say about the Corvette? Sales of America's sports car have been sliding for the last few years, but that's only because GM is gearing up for its successor in 2014. Chevrolet's healthy command of the sports car market is admirable, and hard to accomplish—now we'll see if Chevrolet can do the same for the rest of its lineup. You know, the market share that it used to have. Is that like kicking a man when he's up? Source: General Motors