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[ANSWERED] Aftermarket part influences on factory release models

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[ANSWERED] Aftermarket part influences on factory release models

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Old 11-08-2017, 03:09 PM
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Default [ANSWERED] Aftermarket part influences on factory release models

The original thread is here.

FYREANT asked:
The Corvette is a car that everybody loves to modify in order to customize and tweak certain aspects to their liking. Do aftermarket parts have any influence on Corvette feature and design enhancement for later model years in a generation model run? If so, can you explain the process for how these influences make their way through to model release?

As an example, some folks with 2014's got certain body parts painted to color match their car such as brake light bezels, hood vents, rear lower diffuser, etc. Some of these sometimes later become factory options. If the Corvette team gets influence from this type of owner customization, what does that look like? Does someone on the team see an aftermarket option and bring it to the rest of the team?
Tadge answered:
We on the Corvette team spend a lot of time talking to customers. Members of our program team attend roughly 30 events each year. We hear what customers tell us and we see what aftermarket companies offer. Many of us own Corvettes (of all ages) as well so we are keenly aware of what modifications are available in the market. Sometimes the aftermarket companies are quick to jump into a niche that we intentionally or unintentionally leave open. Quite often there are things we can't offer because we just can't make money doing it. Individuals or companies with different cost models fill in those opportunities. We also plan many years in advance and intentionally roll out new customer options or features year by year. We try to slowly increase the complexity and variety of factory build combinations to make sure we can keep our build quality extremely high. The offering of our accent pieces in more that black was always part of the plan, but we intentionally introduced the car with the carbon flash (actual name of the paint color) only for 2014. Since some people jumped on the opportunity to change to a more monochrome look, it appears that we copied the idea. Not true, that was a pretty obvious opportunity as we developed the car.

We also look at the aftermarket to identify trends as they emerge. An example of that might be in wheel finishes. Black wheels and striped wheels started as a very small niche. We elected to introduce the Stingray to the world on black wheels and they really took off. Later we developed the technology to mass-produce factory striped wheels and people love them! Sometimes we are actually in a better position to offer a feature than an aftermarket company. Our performance data recorder is an example of that. The race team and our development guys used expensive systems to do the telemetry and data recording so critical to their work. Customers started to install their own systems in a variety of add-on ways. We decided we could do it in a much more integrated and affordable way.

We are often asked about the quality and performance of aftermarket products. Since there are thousands of products there is simply no way for us to test them all, validate their performance claims and identify which Corvette models they will or won't work for. On rare occasions we do benchmark an aftermarket product to make sure they don't know something we don't. We have validated, for example, that some low restriction air filters are, in fact, lower restriction than our production units. However, they are compromised in other performance areas: Typically, they are worse in filtration of fine particles, won't hold as much dust, won't pass our water ingestion tests or interfere with the signal quality of the MAF (Mass Air Flow) sensor which is critical for proper engine operation. It is things like this that force us to restrict warranty coverage when people modify their cars in certain ways.

Last edited by jvp; 11-10-2017 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 11-09-2017, 08:20 AM
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Great response! I would love to know more about the areas in which they intentionally leave open for the aftermarket companies to exploit (and maybe what was unintentional that shocked them the most when it was discovered).
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:29 PM
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I'm glad he finally told everyone why aftermarket air filters and intakes are a bad idea.
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Old 11-10-2017, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by village idiot View Post
I'm glad he finally told everyone why aftermarket air filters and intakes are a bad idea.
The part that worries me the most is water ingress. The C7 is so low to the ground, and in Florida we can get flash flooding in our summer storms. I have been caught twice having to drive through standing water where I was very nervous I could potentially suck some in. If an aftermarket system is more prone to waterlocking the engine, I could have been really screwed in those situations.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:06 PM
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The thing is- they aren't going to be substantially cooler. I ran 30 minute sessions at the track and my air intake temp never went above ~5 degrees ambient.
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Old 11-14-2017, 12:06 PM
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The air filter issue is one of the reasons I went back to stock. My Z06 is a dd and I sure as heck don't need any issues. Just not worth the headaches.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:10 PM
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I sort of feel like the answer to this was a little off base from my question actually. My question was more geared towards what the processes and procedure were for this. It really didn't have anything to do with specific aftermarket performance parts really. I wanted to know basically "do you guys steal ideas from aftermarket companies for design and function and if so, walk us through the many meetings and discussions it goes through before it gets to fruition.." Is there a group of guys that surf the forum looking for ideas and then a weekly meeting to go over what they found? do the conduct Family Feud style surveys to see what features vette owners are looking for and then run a vote internally as to which ones to move forward with? etc.
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:44 PM
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I feel that was a great response from Tadge. I was expecting a more political response as there are many legal reasons why GM and Aftermarket don't get along. A key element to Tadge's response is, "Sometimes the aftermarket companies are quick to jump into a niche that we intentionally or unintentionally leave open. Quite often there are things we can't offer because we just can't make money doing it."

For example, long tube headers. These are loved by performance enthusiasts. Several people on this forum have asked, why long tube headers are not available from the factory? Cost vs profit is the issue here, and I believe this is an example of where GM leaves this market open for the aftermarket. Also, ARH's was just recognized as the factory header company for the COPO Camaro.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
I feel that was a great response from Tadge. I was expecting a more political response as there are many legal reasons why GM and Aftermarket don't get along. A key element to Tadge's response is, "Sometimes the aftermarket companies are quick to jump into a niche that we intentionally or unintentionally leave open. Quite often there are things we can't offer because we just can't make money doing it."

For example, long tube headers. These are loved by performance enthusiasts. Several people on this forum have asked, why long tube headers are not available from the factory? Cost vs profit is the issue here, and I believe this is an example of where GM leaves this market open for the aftermarket. Also, ARH's was just recognized as the factory header company for the COPO Camaro.
You can't get long tube headers from the factory because every GM executive that walked near the project would be imprisoned. He's probably referring to things like splitters, side skirts, diffuser fins, etc. I doubt any consideration at all went into packaging so that the aftermarket could create headers. In fact, that is probably a big-no-no.

Last edited by village idiot; 11-15-2017 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:36 PM
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Originally Posted by village idiot View Post
You can't get long tube headers from the factory because every GM executive that walked near the project would be imprisoned. He's probably referring to things like splitters, side skirts, diffuser fins, etc. I doubt any consideration at all went into packaging so that the aftermarket could create headers. In fact, that is probably a big-no-no.
The cost to produce cast manifolds in mass quantity is a fraction of what it would cost to produce a higher performing/higher flowing manifold and/or header option. GM could produce a higher performing manifold and still adhere to EPA and other requirements, but knowing that this is a popular aftermarket modification, it's likely kept in mind when designing these cars. I used the term "long tube headers" loosely to describe the popular mod, not necessarily indicate that GM would consider them exactly.
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Old 11-15-2017, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by [email protected] View Post
The cost to produce cast manifolds in mass quantity is a fraction of what it would cost to produce a higher performing/higher flowing manifold and/or header option. GM could produce a higher performing manifold and still adhere to EPA and other requirements, but knowing that this is a popular aftermarket modification, it's likely kept in mind when designing these cars. I used the term "long tube headers" loosely to describe the popular mod, not necessarily indicate that GM would consider them exactly.
....not really. It wouldn't cost more to design them in a better shape. Header design is a big deal for emissions, especially cold start.
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Old 11-15-2017, 07:52 PM
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A perfect example of this are GMPP extrude/honed exhaust manifolds that were available for several models. They were 50 state legal and offered increased performance. Why wouldn’t they just make them as factory manifolds? Because it reduces their profit and those who want more performance will be happy to go aftermarket.

Last edited by [email protected]; 11-15-2017 at 07:57 PM.
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