Bumblebee-How the Transformers Movie Franchise Changed Chevy’s Camaro
The shape-shifting robots are still a big part of the "Transformers" series, but so are the cars. And no company has benefited more from having their cars featured in the movies than General Motors, whose Chevrolet Camaro has seen an increase in sales since the series debuted in 2007. According to Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design, "being a part of the 'Transformers' series is a great chance to demonstrate the design work that GM is capable of." "The global series puts our innovative concepts in front of more potential buyers than we could with conventional ways," the company said. In the movies, Bumblebee is portrayed as a yellow variation of the American muscle automobile that underwent remodeling in conjunction with the debut of the first "Transformers."
And Chevy has capitalized on the success of the movie series by providing director Michael Bay, who has previously directed the automaker's television commercials and Super Bowl spots, with a new model of the Camaro to showcase with each sequel, further solidifying its status as a cultural icon and allowing it to compete with rivals like Ford with its Mustang. Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for global Chevrolet, claimed that Chevrolet automobiles "get to play the heroes in all the 'Transformers' movies." We were able to introduce our cars to a younger audience worldwide thanks to these films.
Here’s a look at the many faces of Bumblebee as a Camaro and the impact on GM’s bottom line:
Due to director Michael Bay's tight relationship with GM, the automaker agreed to allow him cast a concept version of the fifth-to generation Camaro, which wouldn't enter production for another two years, as Bumblebee. However, Bumblebee begins the movie as a beat-up 1977 second-generation Camaro as a nod to the original Camaro. It is dingy and covered in rust while yet being yellow. Body panels from the 2006 Camaro concept car that made the auto show circuit the year before were used by GM and Bay's team of vehicle designers to outfit a Holden Monaro for the movie.
But to pay homage to the original Camaro, Bumblebee starts off in the film as a beat up 1977 se-generation Camaro. While still yellow, it’s covered in rust and dings.
For the film, GM and Bay’s team of vehicle designers used body panels made from the molds of the 2006 Camaro concept car that traveled the auto show circuit the year before and outfitted them on a Holden Monaro.
After the film went on to earn nearly $710 million worldwide and launch a new franchise for both Paramount and Hasbro.
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Only a few months after the new Camaro went on sale, the second "Transformers" film debuted, with the on-screen hero car being a significantly modified version of the dealership-ready production model. The one in the movie has a mailslot hood, an unique front bumper, and Bumblebeas distinctive black rally stripes on the hood and trunk.
In addition to movie theaters and toy aisles, where the Camaro was available as more than 150 distinct sorts of toys, interest in the vehicle was also evident in dealerships. Yellow Camaros had a 10% increase in sales at GM. Less than 5% of the sales for any model are typically attributed to the color. Additionally, it sold 60,000 Camaros in 2009 and 80,000 in 2010, with a large portion of those sales being credited to the "Transformers" movies. The theme park attractions at Universal's "Transformers" theme park, which Bay also assisted in developing, also prominently use the vehicle.
Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
Bay upgraded Bumblebee to the SS variant in "Dark of the Moon." In addition, the car's yellow color was changed from the previous model's pure yellow to one with a warmer amber tint. The final vehicle included darker wheels, larger rally stripes, and black side mirrors.
Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014)
Bay requested that GM's design team improve Bumblebee's appearance in order to make the character seem toive and strong for the fourth movie, which will be released on June 27. The entire front end was changed by GM's North Hollywood Design Center, which also lowered the grill and headlamps while bulking up the sides of the car, resulting in a more contemporary-looking vehicle than the ones now on the road. Bumblebee is portrayed by a 1967 Camaro SS earlier in the movie. The movie also includes a lot of Cadillac brand product placement, as well as hero vehicles like a green Corvette Stingray (which portrays Crosshairs) and a Chevy Sonic rally car. Given that it only recently went on sale in China, another significant site in the movie is the Chevy Trax. Early in the next year, the tiny SUV goes on sale in the US. The Milford Proving Ground, the GM Design Center in Warren, Michigan, and the Lansing, Michigan Delta Township Assembly Plant were all used as filming sites for "Age of Extinction," and GM is also mentioned in other scenes in the finished product.
Transformers: The Last Knight (2017)
Bumblebee as a Custom 2016 Chevrolet Camaro. This year's Bee comes as a 2016 Camaro, replacing the '67 Camaro from the previous movie.