Al Oppenheiser and the Camaro team pride themselves on really knowing their customer, but it had seemed like a major flaw had only received a once-over while the sixth-generation Camaro was under development: it’s still really difficult to see out of.
The issue of cave-like proportions from the fifth-generation Camaro are alive and well in the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro, albeit a tad better to be fair. AutoGuide decided to ask the man himself, Oppenheiser, why his team didn’t address the visibility issue when handed a clean slate for the sixth-generation Camaro.
Oppenheiser stated the team was well aware of the fifth-generation car’s poor visibility, and immediately considered raising the roof and lowering the beltline among various other minor tweaks. But none of it never made it to a single design sketch. Why? The people.
The Camaro team decided to hold a clinic, which Oppenheiser stated rarely happens, but upon inviting a group of people to compare the fifth-generation Camaro to the Mustang, Challenger and Nissan 370Z, the group called for the poor visibility to stay.
“They got to the Camaro and [we] said ‘What would you tell Chevrolet about the Camaro if you could redesign it, if you helped give input to the next one?’ And they said ‘Well, I can’t see out of it.’ ” But, in the end, customers stated they would rather sacrifice visibility than see the iconic look of the car morphed into something unfamiliar.
“They all went, ‘Don’t change it! We love the styling, that’s why we bought it!’ ”
However, the customer base did offer up the technology solution to help drivers, which includes blind-spot monitoring and an improved back-up camera for extra peace of mind.
Overall, Oppenheiser stated the sightlines are better than the outgoing Camaro, but noted the more you drive it, the more familiar it becomes.
“If you spent six months in it, you’d learn to drive around it.”