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Can The Front Engine and Mid Engine Corvette Coexist?

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Can The Front Engine and Mid Engine Corvette Coexist?

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Old 02-22-2018, 05:36 PM
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Billy346
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Default Can The Front Engine and Mid Engine Corvette Coexist?

I really don't think GM is going to eliminate the traditional front / mid engine Corvette, at least not immediately if they plan to. The shape of the Corvette with its long hood, flared fenders, and fighter plane cockpit is every bit as iconic as its name. By changing that to the forward-leaning stance of a rear / mid engine design, they are essentially creating an entirely new car. In my mind, it's akin to the time when Ford almost made the Mustang a front wheel drive jelly-bean shaped coupe. (Thankfully, they came to their senses and released the jelly-bean as the Probe!) .

The danger in ditching and replacing the current front / mid engine design is that MOST new Corvette buyers are baby boomers who dreamed about the Corvette since they were kids. If GM completely changes the Corvette into a mid-engined car, the Camaro and Mustang may see a few more new car customers.

My thought is that they will release the mid engine design towards the end of the C7's lifecycle as a super high-end model similar to the Ford GT. (Only at a more accessible price point.) If they are smart, they will observe how well it sells, and how the release of the more expensive mid-engine car affects the sales of entry-level Stingray sales vs. the sales of the upmarket Grand Sport and Z06. My guess is that the release of an expensive rear / mid engine car with a starting price of $80K will eat into the Grand Sport and Z06 sales, since those are typically purchased by people with either the most money, or by people with the biggest tolerance for a huge car payment. The Stingray sales may not be affected as much, since the price point makes this model more accessible to a wider pool of buyers. I believe that Chevrolet will continue to produce the front / mid engine Corvette as long as it sells in numbers big enough to remain profitable. If sales of the rear/ mid engine variant explode, and the front / mid engine variant dwindles, you might see the front / mid engine version fade into the sunset.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:40 PM
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Atomic Fred
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This has been discussed in a number of threads, probably good it has its own thread.

I tend to agree with you. Think “New Coke” which did great in taste tests, and was a colossal flop. More to sports cars, think Porsche 928.

We’ll see. They’ve done the market studies and financial projections; we’re just debating based on sketchy evidence and our own observations and opinions.

Oh, and I HOPE you are correct. I want to see mid-engine supevettes in GTLM and “traditional” Vettes in GTD!
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:42 PM
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Baby boomers are aging out of the market.
I don't think GM has a problem with Camaro poaching Corvette sales.
I think GM trusts that it can make a mid-engine design look like a Corvette despite different proportions.
Round taillamps, a glass hatch, and popup headlights were iconic, too.
Road-trip practicality is an oft-stated benefit of Corvette's front-engine architecture, but I bet GM has done its research on this point.
They just released a new ZR1. Seems unlikely they'd do this if the mid-engine car is released top-down. And anyway, everybody releases models bottom-up.
Development times are too long to wait and see.
Development costs (for a great sports car) are too high to justify a small volume of mid-engine cars at just $80K; it needs base model volume to be viable.
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Old 02-22-2018, 06:47 PM
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Ferrari Superfast and 488 peacefully co-exist.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:11 PM
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What little we can tell from the c8 mule running around recently does not give the dramatic appearance of being a top dog 150 thousand dollar supercar.

From what I can tell and admittedly it's very little, I'm seeing is a standard corvette in what little details we can see.

I believe in traditional corvette launch procedures in past generations I believe we will see the standard corvette first in base and z51 stages.

Then the following year we will see a z06 ...

Followed next by a grand sport

And then that is followed by a Zr1 type vehicle.
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Old 02-22-2018, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Shaka View Post
The probe was a Mazda design.
It was a Mazda platform but a Ford design. Regardless, it was intended to replace the Mustang until the market revolted.

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Old 02-22-2018, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Atomic Fred
This has been discussed in a number of threads, probably good it has its own thread.

I tend to agree with you. Think “New Coke” which did great in taste tests, and was a colossal flop. More to sports cars, think Porsche 928.

We’ll see. They’ve done the market studies and financial projections; we’re just debating based on sketchy evidence and our own observations and opinions.

Oh, and I HOPE you are correct. I want to see mid-engine supevettes in GTLM and “traditional” Vettes in GTD!
I agree also and think they should continue with both, two completely different cars and I think there would be a market for both. Really love the idea of seeing a both racing in GTLM AND THE CALLOWAY cars tearing up GTD!

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Old 02-22-2018, 08:18 PM
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They are both built on the same chassis. Bowling Green didn't get expanded nearly twice its size to build the same 31k cars/yr.

They WILL be made side by side. Front engine and Mid Engine will both be made and sold...period.
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Old 02-22-2018, 09:20 PM
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They may very well let the market decide re retaining the front engine car as a grand touring alternative to the mid engine sports car.

In truth, I do not believe that the Corvette has actually met the current definition of a sports car for many years. There are various subtleties in the definition of the term "sports car" that have evolved over the years. The Corvette used to be a sports car many years ago. In fact, it was true that all sports cars were front engine rear wheel drive vehicles, Ferraris, Alphas, Jaguars, etc. That all changed in 1966 with the introduction of the Miura and the Lotus Europa. By 1971, Ford had introduced the DeTomaso Pantera and GM was supposed to introduce its mid engine competitor in 1972. I submit that by 1972, the definition of a true sports car had changed from a front engine car to a mid engine car. At this time, cars like the front engine Ferraris and the Corvette moved into the "Grand Touring" class. However, this is a very subtle distinction because cars like the Honda S2000 and the 1993 Mazda RX7 were / are obviously sports cars (essentially due to their minimalist accouterments, light weight and general design parameters). The Corvette, meanwhile continued to gain weight over its initial 2850 lbs and became more and more luxurious to meet the demands of GM's customers. So, in my personal view, calling the C7 a "sports car" is a misnomer; I believe that it is truly a "grand touring" car and has been so for a long time. But, it is a world class grand touring car and is probably the best grand touring car in the world when you consider cost!

Re "sports cars", the mid engine Corvette will return the Corvette brand to the ranks of world class sports cars. Hopefully, GM will produce a mid engine model with all of the performance options available, but without most of the heavy options that do not contribute to performance. Remember, the original definition of a sports car included a maximum weight limit of 3000 lbs!

I am one of the first baby boomers and I have been waiting patiently for the mid engine Corvette since 1972. Please don't think for a second that I will be put off by the introduction of a mid engine Corvette. Just the opposite, I have resisted the Corvette all of these years because it was NOT a mid engine car. I must, however, admit that I have been tempted by the C7 which in my view is one of the most beautiful front engine cars ever produced!

BRING IT! MID ENGINE C8 CORVETTE, THE SOONER THE BETTER!!!

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Old 02-22-2018, 10:11 PM
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The front and the mid engine Corvettes will first co-exist as they are assembled on the same assembly line.

What we do not yet know is how are they going to exist back-to-back on the line. For example, GM still does not put convertibles back-to-back on the line, insteading having a coupe interspersed between the two.

Might there be a similar requirement for the FE and the ME, that, for example, that no ME can directly follow another ME down the line?

I was in the Plant the day that GM experimented in running for Z06’s back to back. How did that turn out? Very poorly (understatement), for the next day two of the four were in the end-of-the-line fix it area. I asked two repair Techs about why these two Z’s were here, “were they part of yesterday’s 4 Z06’s in a row experiment?” They laughed, said yes, and said, never again we will see 4 Z’s in a row.

So how will this work, one FE, one ME, or one FE coupe, one FE convertible, then one ME, then another FE?

Bottom line, we yet do not have a clue how they will follow each other/co-exist down the line.
And this type of issue is one of the hundreds of reasons why GM does not want any of us in the Plant this entire year, and I am guessing at least until next January’s ME reveal (and who knows how long after that).
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Old 02-23-2018, 12:24 AM
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Assuming they did produce the mid engine and front engine simultaneously, I highly doubt they'd both be made on the same assembly line. It's not like a coupe vs a vert. A front and mid engine both might have Corvette branding, but effectively they would be completely separate models. That's not how mass production assembly lines work.
It would be like manufacturing Corvettes and Camaros on the same line.

Note: I'm just indulging this theory for sake of argument. I'd bet money the C7 is the last front engine Corvette. The C8 will be mid engine.
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:42 AM
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Modern automotive manufacturing lines are built to be flexible and are capable of producing very different models on the same line. I'm not saying that is the plan but it is a possibility. It is being done every day in the industry.

Originally Posted by Corvette#2 View Post
Assuming they did produce the mid engine and front engine simultaneously, I highly doubt they'd both be made on the same assembly line. It's not like a coupe vs a vert. A front and mid engine both might have Corvette branding, but effectively they would be completely separate models. That's not how mass production assembly lines work.
It would be like manufacturing Corvettes and Camaros on the same line.

Note: I'm just indulging this theory for sake of argument. I'd bet money the C7 is the last front engine Corvette. The C8 will be mid engine.
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Old 02-23-2018, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by elegant View Post
The front and the mid engine Corvettes will first co-exist as they are assembled on the same assembly line.

What we do not yet know is how are they going to exist back-to-back on the line. For example, GM still does not put convertibles back-to-back on the line, insteading having a coupe interspersed between the two.

Might there be a similar requirement for the FE and the ME, that, for example, that no ME can directly follow another ME down the line?

I was in the Plant the day that GM experimented in running for Z06’s back to back. How did that turn out? Very poorly (understatement), for the next day two of the four were in the end-of-the-line fix it area. I asked two repair Techs about why these two Z’s were here, “were they part of yesterday’s 4 Z06’s in a row experiment?” They laughed, said yes, and said, never again we will see 4 Z’s in a row.

So how will this work, one FE, one ME, or one FE coupe, one FE convertible, then one ME, then another FE?

Bottom line, we yet do not have a clue how they will follow each other/co-exist down the line.
And this type of issue is one of the hundreds of reasons why GM does not want any of us in the Plant this entire year, and I am guessing at least until next January’s ME reveal (and who knows how long after that).


What I know is that GM didn't expand Bowling Green to make LESS cars.

What I think(!!!)
1. We do KNOW that the C7 will continue through 2021 model year (leaked docs showing supplier commitments to make C7 body panels trough 2021)
2. I THINK the mid-engine will NOT be the only Corvette, post 2021. The current layout is it's greatest advantage, namely utility. Mid-engine cars just don't offer this sort of usability (except the McLaren 720)
3. I THINK there will be an evolutionary front engine/rear drive Corvette after the C7, that would BE the C8, and the ME car being called Zora or whatever. It would be a relatively easy car to develop and not terribly expensive to do, basing it on the C7 (which is based on the C5/C6). OR, the ME car IS called C8 and the 2022 front engine car is just called "Stingray" or something like that.
4. IF (a big IF) Cadillac does get a version of the mid-engine car, items 2 and 3 are probably off the table and DEAD wrong.

It is great fun trying to predict this. I have ZERO information about anything I wrote, just some fun guessing while I should be working!

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Old 02-23-2018, 11:42 AM
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Dave McLellan mentions in his book that the number one goal of the C5 program was to ensure there would be a C6. The Corvette program had been on the chopping block too many times and the only way to ensure survival was to make the Corvette a solidly profitable program.

The FE Corvette has consistently outsold everything else in its market segment by a wide margin. Even with sales of the C7 dropping due it being near end-of-cycle, it still sells numbers that other manufacturers dream of.

However, all sports car/GT manufacturers understand that you can't ensure survival or growth with just one vehicle. Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc. all have expanded their portfolios to include multiple platforms.

If I was in Mary Barra's position and asked to approve the hundreds of millions expended at Bowling Green, I'd expect to hear about more than just one model of Corvette.

It doesn't make sense that Chevrolet would abandon a front-engine, rear drive Corvette. They would be stupid to walk away from a platform with 60 years of market segment success. Corvette is Chevrolet's oldest continuous nameplate - gotta be careful.

Adding a ME to the line makes a lot of sense, Ferrari and Porsche make it work just fine. You would also expect to see a Vette crossover as they have proven to be successful/profitable for Porsche and others.

IMHO, the real question would be if a Cadillac ME based on the new platform is in the plan as well.

Besides the fact that many of the mods here on CF, and ones who appear to have a bit of inside info, have stated that the ME is not the C8 - a multi-platform Corvette line is just the smart move to ensure survival and growth of the marque.

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Old 02-23-2018, 11:46 AM
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Great replies! I'm surprised so many people commented and to such detail! As with many of you, my statement is pure conjecture. However, I am in business, and I know what it is like rolling out new ideas. Some seam great on paper, but fall on their face when brought to market. Some ideas seem mediocre on paper and end up being wildly successful.

GM has always been conservative with rolling out new products, often waiting for Ford or Chrysler to introduce a new product before coming out with one of their own. (For example, the Camaro and Astro) Radically changing an iconic product without knowing the exact market reaction seems to be against GM's traditional cautionary modus operandi. I can't help but think that all of these "leaks" and camouflaged test mules driving around for all to see are GM's way of conducting a litmus test of the market's reaction. From what I've seen and read, the reactions are varied. GM would be foolish to "jump in head first" on a mid-engined Corvette.

I agree that, like Ferrari, a front engined and rear engined Corvette can be released and sold successfully. Doing so could broaden the market to include both traditionalists and buyers looking for the increased performance and perceived status of owning a mid engined sports car. Purists who want the front engined dream car that has occupied their imagination since they were kids can still buy one new, and people looking for maximum performance or more prestige can go with the mid engined version.

One more point: Someone mentioned that transitioning to a mid-engined car would make the Corvette more appealing to the younger generation. I would have to disagree with that point. Corvettes are not appliances that are purchased purely for function. People buy a Prius if they want function. People buy minivans if they want function. If I wanted a "go fast" appliance, I would have bought a Porsche 911 or a Nissan GTR. Both are faster than my Stingray, but both are boring and uninspiring. People buy a Corvette because it appeals to the emotions and the senses, with the added benefit of being able to get you from point A to point B. If GM decides that the next generation will be mid engine only, I'll probably just order my dream C7 on the last year of production and keep that indefinitely. The front engine Corvette in its current C7 iteration represents the best in performance and styling from the 1960s mixed with today's technological advancements and engineering refinement.
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:03 PM
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Could the C7 body panel contract through 2021 be for spare parts beyond the end of C7 production?
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Old 02-23-2018, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Jinx View Post
Could the C7 body panel contract through 2021 be for spare parts beyond the end of C7 production?
Doubt it. Tadge answered a question about replacement electronic modules, and he basically said most parts get ordered up front at the beginning of the model year. Production parts and spares. Barring special situations, once the car ends production, the parts stop too. Anything after that is whatever was stockpiled in a warehouse, or whatever parts were licensed to aftermarket manufacturers.

2014-2021 would give the C7 a production run on par with C5 (8 years) and C6 (9 years). C6 got dragged out a little longer than usual due to the bankruptcy.
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Old 02-23-2018, 02:39 PM
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Typically some quantity of parts are produced and provided to the OEM parts warehouse prior to production start up. The stock level is determined by past model usage of similar parts. The inventory is periodically replenished and stock levels adjusted as needed.

After a part goes out of production, the supplier is still required to supply replacement parts by contract for x number of years. Doing so is a real PITA. Having to save tooling and get it set up for short production runs is a costly process. So, we typically tried to internally project the customers needs and build a stock prior to a part going out of production. We warehoused that bank and drew out of it as the OEM ordered service stock. If in the end we had to eat some parts, we were typically better off than setting up for small runs.

There is not a separate contract for service. Service part requirements are part of the production contract. Therefore, if a contact exists for front engine parts through 2021, it is for assembly plant requirements plus service.

Having said that, contracts in automotive are extended or shortened as OEM plans change. I have been involved in both cases. One vehicle line just kept getting extended and went on for an additional five years over the original plan. Another was cut short due to market demands.

Originally Posted by Jeff V. View Post
Doubt it. Tadge answered a question about replacement electronic modules, and he basically said most parts get ordered up front at the beginning of the model year. Production parts and spares. Barring special situations, once the car ends production, the parts stop too. Anything after that is whatever was stockpiled in a warehouse, or whatever parts were licensed to aftermarket manufacturers.

2014-2021 would give the C7 a production run on par with C5 (8 years) and C6 (9 years). C6 got dragged out a little longer than usual due to the bankruptcy.
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Old 02-23-2018, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by elegant View Post
The front and the mid engine Corvettes will first co-exist as they are assembled on the same assembly line.

What we do not yet know is how are they going to exist back-to-back on the line. For example, GM still does not put convertibles back-to-back on the line, insteading having a coupe interspersed between the two.

Might there be a similar requirement for the FE and the ME, that, for example, that no ME can directly follow another ME down the line?

I was in the Plant the day that GM experimented in running for Z06’s back to back. How did that turn out? Very poorly (understatement), for the next day two of the four were in the end-of-the-line fix it area. I asked two repair Techs about why these two Z’s were here, “were they part of yesterday’s 4 Z06’s in a row experiment?” They laughed, said yes, and said, never again we will see 4 Z’s in a row.

So how will this work, one FE, one ME, or one FE coupe, one FE convertible, then one ME, then another FE?

Bottom line, we yet do not have a clue how they will follow each other/co-exist down the line.
And this type of issue is one of the hundreds of reasons why GM does not want any of us in the Plant this entire year, and I am guessing at least until next January’s ME reveal (and who knows how long after that).
Why can’t/don’t they produce convertibles or ZO6 back to back?
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Old 02-23-2018, 08:59 PM
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Some vehicle models take more time to complete their collective task than others — even though every attempt is made, such as on the Corvette line, for each person’s series of tasks to be currently done within the five minutes “allotted.”

Corvette convertibles take a little longer than that time, and so to allow the operators to “catch up,” they do not run them back to back.

I should have clarified/added to important things:
1) They could not run convertibles back-to-back prior to the complete Plant makeover last fall, but maybe they can now (re-organized tasks, new assembly equipment or similar)?
2) For a similar reason, while they did not run Z06’s four in a row before the fall Plant closure perhaps now after the Plant makeover, they could make them three in a row?

Mostly importantly, as Kai shared in a videotaped public NCM presentation he made on August 29, 2017, as a result of the Plant complete reorganization, the Plant now possesses the capability to assembly multiple models. He quickly added (to a chorus to a laughter), do not interpret that in regards to future product.

GM is smart, and as they bought so much brand new equipment for that complete Plant re-org — for sure they first considered all that equipment in regards to what product(s) is coming next, and thus I believe we will later be able to see for ourselves the ME and the FE intermixed, back-to-back, on one assembly line. Right now, for sure, GM is not talking.

Last edited by elegant; 02-23-2018 at 11:22 PM.
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