Back in July, we first told you about a serious driveline issue that was cropping up in Chevrolet's new-for-2010 Camaro. In specific, output shafts were failing on V8 manual transmission SS models, a malady that was generally tied to hard launches or use of the car's launch control system. The problem eventually resulted in General Motors conducting some warranty repairs and briefly issuing a factory hold of the SS while it fixed the problem, and as far as we knew, that was that.
That was the last we heard of the issue until AB reader Billie informed us that talks regarding output shaft failure were once again heating up over at the owner discussion forums of Camaro5.com – so much so that GM's own John Fitzpatrick, the marketing manager of Chevrolet's performance cars, chimed in with a statement on behalf of the automaker, the text of which you can read after the break.
Basically, Fitzpatrick says that after a review of the issue, GM is confident that failure rates "under normal driving conditions are very low... even in the most extreme driving condition, the probability of failure does not significantly change." In any case, Fitzpatrick assures that GM will continue to stand behind their five-year/100,000 mile warranty coverage.
For the most part, it seems like Fitzpatrick's comments have assuaged the concerned parties on Camaro5 (there are definitely still a few disgruntled folks), but if nothing else, it's nice to see another example of an automaker wading into the internet fray to directly address customer issues.
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I understand over the recent Thanksgiving holiday, the Camaro output shaft topic heated up. We understand the members' passion and concern for this issue as it involves a major powertrain component. Rest assured, everyone on the Camaro team takes these issues very seriously, but there is some confusion regarding this matter that we would like to try to clear up.
As many of the members know, we started to receive warranty claim reports in June of this year regarding output shaft failures on Camaro SS models with manual transmissions. When we noticed a spike in claims, a review was initiated to determine the root cause for the failure. This review is common practice for us, and usually takes a number weeks to complete. Since we did not immediately know the root cause, we did slow the shipments of Camaro SS models from Oshawa for a couple of weeks until the review was completed.
At the end of the review, we concluded the probability of a customer experiencing an output shaft failure under normal driving conditions are very low (or - if you are into engineer speak, "below tolerance"). In fact, even in the most extreme driving condition, the probability of failure does not significantly change.
Ideally, we would like to say that there is no chance a failure under any driving condition will occur. We know this is not possible since every car - regardless of manufacturer - has some probability of a part failing. In the case of Camaro, we believe the probability is very low. We have such confidence in the low probability that we back it up by providing the industry best's powertrain warranty - 100,000 miles or 5 years, which includes roadside assistance and courtesy transportation. If the powertrain part fails due to a defect in our workmanship or material, we'll correct the issue regardless of the number of owners a particular Camaro may have during that period.
Hopefully this will provide a little more insight from our perspective on this topic.
Marketing Manager - Chevy Performance Cars