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by Tim Beissmann

The Australian-designed and -engineered Chevrolet Camaro coupe has become the first vehicle to score full marks under new US crash test standards.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the 2012 Chevrolet Camaro coupe the maximum five-star overall rating, as well as five-star ratings in the individual crash test areas: frontal barrier impact, side barrier impact, side pole impact, and rollover.

The NHTSA revised its crash test criteria last year after it decided too many cars were earning top scores. Since then, 46 vehicles have been tested: 14 have scored five stars, 30 scored four stars and two managed three stars.

GM Holden was responsible for the development of the fifth-generation Camaro, which went on sale in North American in March 2009. The Camaro is based on the same rear-wheel drive Zeta platform as the Holden VE Commodore.

Unfortunately, despite being engineered in Australia, the Camaro is not available directly through Holden or GM. The best local Camaro fans can do is import a left-hand drive car and get it converted to right-hand drive.

Performax International is the leading importer and converter of American performance vehicles in Australia. A brand new Camaro imported and converted by Performax costs around $130,000, significantly more than the US$23,200 ($22,700) starting price for the Chevrolet Camaro coupe in the US.




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