The Future of Chevrolet Muscle Cars

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With the death of the Chevy SS/Holdon Commodore SS-V, one can only wonder what GM has in store for the future. Chevy still produces the Camaro, but there seems to be a gap missing. It seems quite useless to be producing the Impala and Malibu, cars with a muscle heritage unfortunately turned into FWD gas sippers. This begs the question, will one of these return to its RWD V8 roots? I think the Impala is a good candidate, and it is pretty good looking. Perhaps they can develop this car with more intense lines, the ability to be easily modified, and market it to the public. This was unfortunately the demise of the SS in America. As for the Malibu, they can keep it in its current form for people wanting an economy sedan.

I know this thread is very speculative, but I just want to hear other people’s opinions because I’m a huge GM performance fan and it’s a shame seeing it winding down to just a few cars. However, I am aware the oil prices means less gas guzzlers.
 

Turbo

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Chevy still produces the Camaro, but there seems to be a gap missing.

What are you talking about? The Camaro is GM's Mustang-fighting muscle car; it can be bought cheaply with a 275-horsepower four-cylinder, and tops out having a 650-horsepower V8. New Camaros can also be bought with 335hp and 455hp. Therefore, Camaro suits every range of the performance spectrum. Someone who wants a car that's less brash and handles better would opt for a Corvette. People who want four doors on their sports car buy ATS-V's, and even CTS-V's. And those who want something smaller but still potent would get an ATS-V coupe. I'm not sure where the gap is.

It seems quite useless to be producing the Impala and Malibu, cars with a muscle heritage unfortunately turned into FWD gas sippers.

Now you're just talking out of your rear. The Impala and Malibu are strong sellers and mainly get good reviews, so why should they be discontinued? Combined, the Malibu and Impala sold about 300k units, which makes up almost 60% of Chevrolet sedan sales. Without these cars, Chevrolet would only be selling compact sedans, and the brand would end up losing money.

This begs the question, will one of these return to its RWD V8 roots?

Why should this happen? FWD is more efficient than RWD for mid-size sedans like the Malibu and Impala, so they probably won't change from FWD to RWD. The majority of new Malibu/Impala buyers are older, not interested in performance cars, and just want something cheap and comfy, so they couldn't care less about them being FWD. Also, 100% of non-luxurious mid-size sedans are FWD.

As for the Malibu, they can keep it in its current form for people wanting an economy sedan.

This directly contradicts what you said prior:
It seems quite useless to be producing the Malibu
 

dice1998

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This begs the question, will one of these return to its RWD V8 roots? I think the Impala is a good candidate, and it is pretty good looking. Perhaps they can develop this car with more intense lines, the ability to be easily modified, and market it to the public. This was unfortunately the demise of the SS in America.

Why would they do that? Barely anyone bought the SS so why would they risk re-engineering one of those two into the Chevy SS 2.0? Every time we had a Chevy SS on our dealership lot, it sat. For months. It's a damn shame but the Malibu/Impala as FWD Luxury sedans is what people buy.
 

Joey D

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Instead of a muscle car, Chevy or GM in general needs something to compete against cars like the BRZ/86 and Miata. Something small, sparsely equipped with a solid chassis and their 2.0L turbo would do the job nicely.

Unfortunately, I don't think they have a current platform that would work. Maybe they could update the Kappa platform since that worked pretty well.
 

Turbo

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Instead of a muscle car, Chevy or GM in general needs something to compete against cars like the BRZ/86 and Miata. Something small, sparsely equipped with a solid chassis and their 2.0L turbo would do the job nicely.

Unfortunately, I don't think they have a current platform that would work. Maybe they could update the Kappa platform since that worked pretty well.
Or... bring the Opel Corsa OPC to the States and name it the Chevrolet Nova SS... because we all know GM is the king of rebadges :sly:
 

Dennisch

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Or... bring the Opel Corsa OPC to the States and name it the Chevrolet Nova SS... because we all know GM is the king of rebadges :sly:

There is a reason that GM got rid of Opel.
They have been building **** cars for a couple of decades and the end of that isn't in sight yet.

As a matter of fact...
 
22,521
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HamiltonMP427
2015-Chevrolet-Cruze-Turbo-650x432.jpg

With the death of the Chevy SS/Holdon Commodore SS-V, one can only wonder what GM has in store for the future. Chevy still produces the Camaro, but there seems to be a gap missing. It seems quite useless to be producing the Impala and Malibu, cars with a muscle heritage unfortunately turned into FWD gas sippers. This begs the question, will one of these return to its RWD V8 roots? I think the Impala is a good candidate, and it is pretty good looking. Perhaps they can develop this car with more intense lines, the ability to be easily modified, and market it to the public. This was unfortunately the demise of the SS in America. As for the Malibu, they can keep it in its current form for people wanting an economy sedan.

I know this thread is very speculative, but I just want to hear other people’s opinions because I’m a huge GM performance fan and it’s a shame seeing it winding down to just a few cars. However, I am aware the oil prices means less gas guzzlers.

Been over this, and lost count of how often I have to inform people. But the GM Zeta thread has many of my posts there on the matter, which gives a deeper analysis on the subject.

However, for this post, I'll just echo it. For one, the Impala and Malibu were not cars of muscle heritage, they had variants of it but were never full blown muscle cars. The Nova, Chevelle, Monte Carlo (somewhat) and Camaro were considered the Muscle variants of the brand. Sure there were factory specials, but every manufacture in America dabbled with that. The Z-11 Impala for example was an early 60s drag special you could buy from the Factory, however this hardly makes the entire line up of the Impala then and through the decades "muscle" in nature.

Both these cars also did the same thing then they do now, large or mid size sedans for transportation and also used engines that fit that, not always V8s and the V8s they did use were in the higher end luxury optioned versions.

As @dice1998 put it, and I've said myself with it, this car was always in a niche market, that didn't ever need to be filled again. The last time it was tried was with the mid to late 90s Impala SS. After that was gone, the market didn't have a car too much like it for years, there was the ability to get the Mercury Marauder for a time (very short) with the same 4v 4.6 as the Mach 1 Mustang. Outside of that though and ignoring the Ford attempt, GM hasn't had a mid entry V8 RWD sedan and there hasn't been a need for one.

Simple reasons, one no competition, thus if you don't have a market to compete in or against only those limited buyers interested are going to purchase it. Two the market has shifted long long ago, to full size sedans that have good economy, while those of more performance and power are left to more higher end manufactures (cadi, merc, bmw, audi...). These two reasons alone show why it wasn't an unfortunate demise, but more so an easily predictable one.

Like you I'm a massive fan of GM hence my name and avatar, however, it has been winding down the number of cars in its arsenal, and the amount of categories it fills for some time. Unlike the old days, the entire global market dictates what car types are necessary and what aren't, and from that, the SS was never viable, which is why the Falcon and Commadore in V8 RWD form are also no longer viable.

EDIT: I have to fix something, since I forgot, due to the brand being dead. But this market was somewhat on life support before the death blow, the SS brought it. The GTO and G8 were the same market of car as the SS, and came prior, yet also sold bad. Though they did do better than the SS, which probably is why GM/Chevy thought they could make it work with the SS.
 
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Why would they do that? Barely anyone bought the SS so why would they risk re-engineering one of those two into the Chevy SS 2.0? Every time we had a Chevy SS on our dealership lot, it sat. For months. It's a damn shame but the Malibu/Impala as FWD Luxury sedans is what people buy.

Well that’s not really fair to predict the public opinion because GM didn’t even market it in the first place. A lot of car guys who I’ve talked to don’t even know about it either.

What are you talking about? The Camaro is GM's Mustang-fighting muscle car; it can be bought cheaply with a 275-horsepower four-cylinder, and tops out having a 650-horsepower V8. New Camaros can also be bought with 335hp and 455hp. Therefore, Camaro suits every range of the performance spectrum. Someone who wants a car that's less brash and handles better would opt for a Corvette. People who want four doors on their sports car buy ATS-V's, and even CTS-V's. And those who want something smaller but still potent would get an ATS-V coupe. I'm not sure where the gap is.



Now you're just talking out of your rear. The Impala and Malibu are strong sellers and mainly get good reviews, so why should they be discontinued? Combined, the Malibu and Impala sold about 300k units, which makes up almost 60% of Chevrolet sedan sales. Without these cars, Chevrolet would only be selling compact sedans, and the brand would end up losing money.



Why should this happen? FWD is more efficient than RWD for mid-size sedans like the Malibu and Impala, so they probably won't change from FWD to RWD. The majority of new Malibu/Impala buyers are older, not interested in performance cars, and just want something cheap and comfy, so they couldn't care less about them being FWD. Also, 100% of non-luxurious mid-size sedans are FWD.



This directly contradicts what you said prior:

Ok so first of all, the price of the ATS-V and CTS-V are very high as they are luxury sedans as well as muscle sedans. What I’m trying to say is that creating a RWD platform V8 similar to the SS (great every day car btw) that’s cheaper. The SS is a great car but what I’m trying to say is it could have been more successful if marketed properly and I wish they continued it due to the introduction of the new LT1.

Now referring to the Malibu situation. What I meant to say was that it was pointless having two competing cars that are the same thing. I wasn’t contradicting myself. I said that the Malibu should remain as its own segment while the Impala should become something like a Commodore, a cheaper alternative to the CTS-V.

Or... bring the Opel Corsa OPC to the States and name it the Chevrolet Nova SS... because we all know GM is the king of rebadges :sly:

I wouldn’t be opposed to this tbh. Nostalgia sells and it would also bring a lot of attention like when Ford brought back the Thunderbird.

I really don’t care what it’s called, Impala, Malibu, etc. I just think there could be a market although I understand it is more narrow than back then.
 

KungFury

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Was the ss marketed in the u.s. with any seriousness? I thought it was just a holden import per some sort of contract. It's not surprising to me if they all just collected dust at the back of showrooms.

To peak my interest in a GM muscle/sport whatever auto that would probably sell even less than the ss I'd love to see some sort of nova return. Something loosely based on a 1960's chevy II maybe using an alpha platform. That would be wicked cool 👍
 
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Was the ss marketed in the u.s. with any seriousness? I thought it was just a holden import per some sort of contract. It's not surprising to me if they all just collected dust at the back of showrooms.

To peak my interest in a GM muscle/sport whatever auto that would probably sell even less than the ss I'd love to see some sort of nova return. Something loosely based on a 1960's chevy II maybe using an alpha platform. That would be wicked cool 👍

It was the flagship NASCAR chevy sedan, they typically don't do that unless they're serious about sells.
 

Dennisch

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And instead of the Corsa, they should* be using the Astra OPC. That's a bit more the size of a Nova.

*they shouldn't because it would still be absolute **** being rebadged.
 

Turbo

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And instead of the Corsa, they should* be using the Astra OPC. That's a bit more the size of a Nova.

*they shouldn't because it would still be absolute **** being rebadged.
Depends what Nova you're talking about. In the mid 1980s, the Chevy Nova the states got was a rebadged AE82 notchback; a subcompact car.
 

Dennisch

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Depends what Nova you're talking about. In the mid 1980s, the Chevy Nova the states got was a rebadged AE82 notchback; a subcompact car.

There weren't any muscle cars in the mid 80's. Only cars with asthma.

Edit.

The 80's Nova was still Astra sized.
 

KungFury

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It was the flagship NASCAR chevy sedan, they typically don't do that unless they're serious about sells.

I think OP is onto something wondering what gm will do about having a muscle car in it's lineup. I can't really agree with you about the marketing of the ss as even gm admits minimal effort, but flagship yes, just as the impala was in the 90's, I always wanted one of those but didn't realize at the time it was gonna be the last chance at a new 'real' one.

So here is some promising news or just lip service but something's surely coming down the pipe.

Chevy spokesperson Shad Balch
I can't make any product announcements. But given the popularity of this car with the minimal marketing advertising that we had to put behind it, it's safe to say we were on to something with this
 

Turbo

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There weren't any muscle cars in the mid 80's. Only cars with asthma.
Did I say there was? Besides the Buick Regal GNX (basically a muscle car), you're absolutely right. The Mustang SVO and Camaro Iroc-Z were more like sporty coupes than brash, macho muscle machines of the early 1970s.

There weren't any muscle cars in the mid 80's. Only cars with asthma.

Edit.

The 80's Nova was still Astra sized.

The notchback AE82 is 166 inches long while an Astra hatchback is 176. The Corsa is 158 inches long. If anything, the 80s Nova is in between the lengths of those two cars, but slightly closer to the Corsa.
 

Dennisch

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Did I say there was? Besides the Buick Regal GNX (basically a muscle car), you're absolutely right. The Mustang SVO and Camaro Iroc-Z were more like sporty coupes than brash, macho muscle machines of the early 1970s.


Seeing how the thread is about Chevrolet Musclecars, it would be obvious that we're talking about the proper Nova and not that rebadge.

But then again, they like to rebadge at GM, so I guess everyone is a winner tonight!
 
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HamiltonMP427
I think OP is onto something wondering what gm will do about having a muscle car in it's lineup. I can't really agree with you about the marketing of the ss as even gm admits minimal effort, but flagship yes, just as the impala was in the 90's, I always wanted one of those but didn't realize at the time it was gonna be the last chance at a new 'real' one.

I don't for reasons I pointed out in my initial thread, until I see that countered (haven't since I started making this argument back in 2014) it holds for me. NASCAR is the biggest marketing tool for this type of category of cars, sure they could flood prime time spots with ads and go beyond the billboard ads I saw for the car or brief cameos in joint ads. The Impala wasn't the flagship in the 90s, it was the last out of the blue dedicated Chevy V8 RWD, that had shared portions from a Vette. That's it. When it left as quickly as it came there was no need or rush to fill the void. And it sold massively better than the car we're talking about. So why there is any thought on the SS (a car I too love and desire), would need to happen is head scratching at the least.

Wanting it and logically seeing a need for it to exist are vastly two different things. In fact the amount of SS sold in its entire life span is less than that of all the Impala SS sold in 95.

So here is some promising news or just lip service but something's surely coming down the pipe.

Seems like lip service, cause sales numbers don't lie. One way to make sure your niche fan base doesn't scurry off to another market where they could get a similar product for about 10-14k more is claim "this isn't the end".
 

KungFury

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NASCAR is the biggest marketing tool for this type of category of cars
Maybe when Richard Petty was driving, not so much anymore, well it's still exposing the product to the largest fan base of the product just without the punch.
Wanting it and logically seeing a need for it to exist are vastly two different things. In fact the amount of SS sold in its entire life span is less than that of all the Impala SS sold in 95.
I'm not even seeing a real want for the ss, there probably wasn't for the impala either but I sure wanted one. Maybe the muscle car nostalgia is simply dying off.
Seems like lip service, cause sales numbers don't lie. One way to make sure your niche fan base doesn't scurry off to another market where they could get a similar product for about 10-14k more is claim "this isn't the end".
American car buyers who buy american cars are important people to american car manufacturers obviously but I say it for a specific reason. The type of people who fly ford or chevy or mopar flags are very loyal people, the type of people who will buy a variety of cars in a lifetime for practical reasons, truck for work, sedan for the wife, however it goes and they buy the brand they would die for.

It would be hard for people in that slice of americana to keep on supporting and being loyal to any of the big three without muscle car offerings imo regardless how low the sale of the actual car is. Marketing is not as simple as only producing what is selling the most and making you the most money, if that was the case is the corvette a good idea? I'm sure they sell more trucks.
 
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Maybe when Richard Petty was driving, not so much anymore, well it's still exposing the product to the largest fan base of the product just without the punch.

Interesting considering how much money is invested by manufactures into the sport, to have cars that represent loose depiction of real life cars.

I'm not even seeing a real want for the ss, there probably wasn't for the impala either but I sure wanted one. Maybe the muscle car nostalgia is simply dying off.

Considering that there was six times the amount of Impala SS sold to that of the current SS, it's pretty easy to tell what wasn't wanted and what was. The muscle car nostalgia is just that a nostalgia that clouds the judgement of those that think it's a massively wanted category of car, it's not.

American car buyers who buy american cars are important people to american car manufacturers obviously but I say it for a specific reason. The type of people who fly ford or chevy or mopar flags are very loyal people, the type of people who will buy a variety of cars in a lifetime for practical reasons, truck for work, sedan for the wife, however it goes and they buy the brand they would die for.

That's obvious, if it wasn't foreign car manufactures wouldn't set plants in the states to have it simply said "made in America". However, the flag flyers who are so myopic to say they need to relive the glory days and can't do it in a number of other vehicles that fit the mold and price, simply due to a badge are few and far between. We know this because just like the GTO and G8 before it, the SS was another trial that proved just how small said group was.

It would be hard for people in that slice of americana to keep on supporting and being loyal to any of the big three without muscle car offerings imo regardless how low the sale of the actual car is. Marketing is not as simple as only producing what is selling the most and making you the most money, if that was the case is the corvette a good idea? I'm sure they sell more trucks.

Yeah so sad that a couple thousand sales in such a niche group happen to go without, while it's made up in various other categories and then some. Marketing is actually that simple, you build a product for a category, and make it better or more cost effective than the competition. The Corvette for example is a great product to build and sell, a much less produced car sold more car in 2011, than the entire time the SS has been on the market. A car that is equally or less so given ad placement, yet also uses racing as a means to sell the car and heritage and being the best priced car in its group.
 
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I remember when small cars could keep up and sometimes outperform muscle cars(MkI GTI vs Corvette) comes to mind. The Impala SS could scorch the rear tires, but an Integra GS-R was no slouch either. The Integra Type-R and WRX made a Mustang GT seem average. Then, the Evo joined the USA line up.

A Chevrolet muscle car is going to be expensive. I can't see GM making (another)one for bargain prices with top performance when there are Golf Rs, RS3s, CTRs, etc. Same way Chrysler doesn't do the Neon R/T I-III Stage thing any longer. The 300C, ATS/CTS-V type of car, is what GM would have to make(not import). GM tried with the Cobalt SS, but just didn't have the street cred. I almost bet had GM badge the Cobalt as Nova, may have worked better.

in my humble opinion, for Chevrolet to bring a new muscle car to market, they'd have to make it a separate entity like Corvette(that's dang near its own brand).