We’re beginning to get more of the background behind the changes, controversial to some traditionalists, to the 2014 Corvette Stingray.
The new rear treatment, for example. Had Chevy stuck with the round tail lights that date back to 1963, “research showed that people who were not Corvette loyalists would look at the car, especially the rear end, and they would think the car never changed,” said John Fitzpatrick, Chevrolet’s marketing manager for the redesigned Corvette. “They think it is the same car from 20 years ago.”
At a Corvette event in California earlier this month, Fitzpatrick reiterated what other Chevy officials have been saying all along.
“We really want to go after the people who buy Porsches, Jaguars, Audis and BMWs and try and get them to look at our car and think a little bit differently about it,” Fitzpatrick said. “We will try to convince them that we are a worthy competitor.”
One way they’ll do that, he says, is through advertising aimed at the wives of owners of those foreign cars, trying to convince them that the new Stingray is not just a car for men.
“My wife does not like the stigma around the Corvette” is how some men who actually want the car respond, Fitzpatrick said.
“But we have to change her,” he said. “We’ve got to explain the car. We have to show it is a great driving car, it is a great handling car and it is a very comfortable car. It is a car you can (take) on a long vacation.”
Chevy is also aiming at what Fitzpatrick calls “life precisionists.”
“For us it is a marketing term,” Fitzpatrick said. “For these customers precision plays a high factor in their life. They are people who look at life and say, ‘I really need to have the best of everything.’ They look for precise handling in their vehicles, precise functionality in their vehicles. They are very particular.”
To that end, advertising will highlight the luxury features of the new Stingray, including the napa leather interior that some journalists have said is actually better than the Porsche’s.
Fitzpatrick admits that every sports car has its loyalists and no amount of advertising will change their minds, but he believes there are current Porsche owners on the fringes who can be enticed with what they discover in the Stingray.
“Porsche is a great car,” he said. “They have a very loyal customer base, just like Corvette. Just like we have customers who are on the fringe end, who are looking at what’s better, what’s next, we are trying in some ways to get those fringe Porsche customers as well, who are loyal to Porsche, but they are thinking what else is out there. In some ways it is trying to convert the customer, each customer, one at a time. It is changing perceptions.”
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