General Motors says it will retire the Chevrolet Camaro next year, leaving an uncertain future for the classic muscle car as the automaker continues a broader transition away from gas-powered vehicles.
The last Camaros will roll off the line in January, Chevy said Wednesday, though it teased the possibility of a new version being introduced later, with Scott Bell, vice president of Global Chevrolet, adding, “This is not the end of Camaro’s story.”
Chevy spokesman Trevor Thompkins said the company is “keeping the hope alive” for a new generation but declined to say whether any new releases would be gas-powered, hybrid or all-electric.
General Motors, like other legacy automakers, is phasing out gas-powered vehicles. It pledged to do so by 2035, an endeavor backed by a planned $35 billion investment and upgrades to manufacturing facilities in Ohio, Tennessee and Michigan.
The transition to electric vehicles has left an uncertain future for longtime fans of the company’s gas-powered autos. The muscle car, in particular, is known for the signature roar of its engines. The engines, typically six- or eight-cylinder ones, have come to personify speed and power.
Dodge, whose Challenger and Charger muscle cars are being phased out this year, opted for an all-electric release with the Charger SRT, which repackages the engine’s roar into an all-electric format.
Alton Freeman, curator of the Wellborn Musclecar Museum in Alexander City, Ala., expects Chevy to follow Dodge’s lead and reprise its muscle car.
“I think they’ll take that Camaro and make it into an electric vehicle, that’s what everything is going to,” said Freeman, who sees it as a tactic to force longtime muscle-car enthusiasts to buy an electric vehicle.
But the experience isn’t the same, he said.
“With a muscle car, you like to get in there, hear the motor and feel all of that power,” Freeman said. “You get in there with an electric car, all you feel is nothing.”