by Keith Cornett
An article about the C6 Corvette and the coming C7 redesign hit Bloomberg’s news wire over the weekend and there were some interesting quotes from GM insiders both named and unnamed. Former VP of Product Development Bob Lutz, who helped usher the Corvette ZR1 from pipe dream to Nurburgring terror is back in company’s fold as a consultant and we get to hear his thoughts on the coming next-generation Corvette.
The Bloomberg article sets up the notion that the C6 Corvette is in a sales funk that started with the global automotive recession in 2008. The premise the article makes is that the market for $50,000-$100,000 sports cars will return but not to Corvette as long as the car appeals only to the baby boomer demographic of buyers who are 50 years or older. For the C7 Corvette to break out and sell to a younger generation, GM needs to refashion the Corvette to make it more appealable to younger buyers.
Bob Lutz served GM from 2001-2010 as the Vice Chairman of Product Development and is a true blue car guy who believes in giving customers what they want. In discussing the C7 Corvette redesign, Lutz says that he rejected plans for an earlier introduction that included low-cost proposals for only modest changes and that he preferred to wait unto GM had the cash to build a car that would make a Corvette owner want to trade up.
When asked about the C7 Corvette under development, Lutz says that ?it’s a much bolder and more dramatic design?. He adds ?The new car will also surpass the fuel economy and performance of today’s car in all respects.?
Unnamed sources also told Bloomberg that the there are hints of Ferrari styling in the next Corvette and that it will depart from the traditional looks of the last two generations. That’s an interesting quote as it backs up what Popular Mechanics heard at the Woodward Dream Cruise.
Internal studies by GM show that buyers under 40 years old don’t aspire to drive the Corvette like the older baby boomer demographic who view the Corvette as a reward after their children have grown. To help them understand the motivations of younger sports car buyers, Chevrolet marketers have been talking to owners in Porsche clubs about their views on the Corvette.
The C7 Corvette is widely expected to hit the market in the second half of 2013 as a 2014 model year car. Insiders have commented that the next generation Corvette will retain its front engine/rear wheel drive configuration and will powered by a smaller but more powerful and fuel efficient V8 engine. Recently, several test mules wearing C6 Grand Sport bodies were captured by spy photographers.
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