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Back in 2007, the major motion picture Transformers hit theaters as a summer blockbuster and was hugely successful in its revitalization of the popular robot franchise that first appeared in the 1980s. Sharing in the commercial success of the movie was General Motors, which showcased several of its product offerings as Autobot protagonists to great effect. Disguised as a weathered yellow 1977 second-generation Camaro, Bumblebee made his first appearance before modernizing his look to that of the fifth-generation Camaro prototype, dropping the jaws of muscle car fans around the world in the process. While the film’s release date came two years prior to the debut of the current-generation Chevrolet Camaro, the buzz sparked by the popular yellow Transformer persisted through the car’s 2009 launch and has carried into 2014.

Through 2013, in less than five full years on the market, Chevy sold over 396,000 Camaros leading the middle specialty car segment. Accounting for 37% of all deliveries in the segment, the Chevy Camaro bested its Ford Mustang rival by two-percentage points and more than doubled the share of Dodge Challenger sales. The continued visibility raised by the Transformers sequels in 2009, 2011 and 2014 was instrumental in keeping the muscle car fresh in viewers’ minds with the Bumblebee character’s Camaro appearance updated for each movie. With the release of “Transformers: Age of Extinction” earlier this summer, the franchise has achieved box office revenues of over $1.3 billion in North America and almost $3.7 billion worldwide as of August 3, 2014, with GM’s cast of vehicles hitting a marketing jackpot.

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The current Camaro sold a personal best 88,249 units in 2011, the year the previous Transformers movie, “Dark of the Moon,” hit theaters, but deliveries have fallen by 8.7% over the past couple years. Coinciding with the release of the fourth installment in the franchise this year, however, Camaro sales have taken off and are well ahead of the competition through July 2014. In just seven months, the Camaro has sold nearly 57,000 units, which is 13% above its 2013 pace while the second-place Mustang is up only 4% and the Challenger is down 11%. Now into its sixth model year, the Chevrolet muscle car is showing no signs of slowing down and its nearly 6,000 unit sales lead over its Mustang rival year-to-date is a testament to how well it has aged.

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While General Motors’ partnership with the Transformers movie franchise has helped turn the Camaro into a star on-screen, it is unquestionably a head-turning, high-performance machine in real life as well. For the 2014 model year, Chevrolet reintroduced the ultra-high performance Z/28 to the Camaro lineup. With a 505-hp 7.0-liter V8, unique suspension and 19-inch wheels the new variant is the most track capable version since the original 1967 Z/28. Creature comforts like A/C and speakers are optional, and with base pricing starting around $72,000, the new Z/28 is the most expensive Camaro ever. The Z/28 joins the tire shredding $55,000 580-hp ZL1, $34,000 426-hp SS along with the standard $24,000 323-hp V6. With such lofty specs and a blockbuster movie franchise to feature it, the Camaro has positioned itself as the car to beat in its segment, and even with an all-new Mustang on the horizon, GM has built plenty of momentum for the future.