GM Japan To Offer New Chevrolet Camaro

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- General Motors Asia Pacific (Japan) Ltd., a Japanese unit of General Motors Corp., unveiled an all-new Chevrolet Camaro Friday as it seeks to make a fresh start from bankruptcy filing with the resurrection of a sport coupe long-awaited by Japanese fans of American muscle cars.

The GM unit plans to deliver the fifth-generation Camaro in Japan around November in the wake of strong sales of the sports car since its May debut in the United States.

With its GM lineup likely to be halved with the sale of the Saab and Hummer brands under restructuring following its filing for Chapter 11 protection on June 1, GMAPJ President Rick Brown said that the new Camaro under the Chevrolet brand along with the remaining Cadillac will play a key role for the Japanese unit.

"GM Japan will offer a product lineup that will further satisfy the expectations for lovers of American cars," Brown, who is also president of General Motors Japan Ltd., told reporters in Tokyo.

The Camaro LT/RS with a 3.6-liter V-6 engine will be sold for around 4.3 million yen while the Camaro SS/RS with a 6.2-liter V-8 engine will be sold for about 5.35 million yen.

The Camaro has sold over 20,000 units in Japan from its debut in 1967 to 2002, when production of the fourth-generation model was scrapped.

GM Japan, which began taking orders for the new Camaro from June 11, has already received orders for around 100 units on the back of booming demand in the United States.

Part of the Camaro buzz is thanks to the Hollywood film, "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," which uses the concept version of Camaro for the hit character Bumblebee.

But it remains uncertain whether the success will ripple into the Japanese market where demand for fuel-efficient gasoline-electric hybrids and compact cars has increased on the back of recent government subsidies and tax breaks for green cars.

"It would have been nice to unveil an eco-car today, but I hope you can wait until that opportunity arises for GM in the near future," Brown said, though adding GM will target Japanese customers looking more for premium cars.