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October Surprise! Are Corvette ZR1 Cancellation Rumors True?

by Keith Cornett on October 8, 2008

Is the Sun Setting on the Corvette ZR1?

A proverbial bombshell was dropped last night when Patrick Gramm of DigitalCorvettes.com posted news about GM halting Corvette ZR1 production. Patrick was told by a source that ZR1 production was to be halted and the model may have been cancelled despite no known issues that would warrant a production stop.

The story was given credence with Corvette Conti’s post about Corvette ZR1 orders with production dates suddenly disappearing from the system. Corvette orders are assigned a Target Production Week (TPW) and when those TPWs start disappearing, people get nervous.

We confirmed the order process with Kerbeck Corvette’s Sales Manager Dave Salvatore who told us that not seeing a TPW is completely normal, especially on early production cars. Dave says they did the same thing to the Corvette Z06s when they came out. “They do this so as not to get people mad or nervous if there’s a delay during the early production.”

Fact is, production has been halted on the Corvette ZR1 as well as the other three models this week as GM idled the Bowling Green Assembly plant to allow for a bit of constriction in supply. Salvatore says that he is hearing that once the plant’s operations resumes next week, Corvette ZR1 production will be doubled to make up for the loss numbers during the shutdown.

Finally, Autoblog weighed in, pulled out the rolodex and called GM’s Terry Rhadigan, Global Communications Director for Chevrolet, who responded with a terse statement designed to put this rumor to bed: “Not True”.

Going back to the Digital Corvettes post, there are several members with “sources” within the Corvette program that have provided reliable information over the last few years when it comes to Corvettes in general and the ZR1 specifically. They are saying that this rumor is not true and not what they are hearing. One of the members said the following:

The huge amounts of money that were spent on the ZR1 were for R&D. In other words, most of the money was spent before the car even went into production. That money is spent and gone…it’s never coming back. Killing the ZR1 at this point won’t get that money back and wouldn’t really save that much money in the grand scheme of things. There might even be penalties to pay to suppliers for cancelling the parts contracts. Even if you do cancel the contracts, how much are you really saving by not paying for the parts for a 2000-3000 unit/year vehicle program? Again, not that much in the grand scheme. It makes more sense to keep building this super-limited run vehicle and get all the money out of it you can. They will sell every one they build.

We count Patrick of DC as one of our online friends and his information is usually reliable. But I feel for the guy who may have led him astray on this if that’s the case. Patrick followed up with a comment in the thread that mentioned “balls” and “chopping block” so we’ll see where this story goes.


Sources:
DigitalCorvettes.com
Corvette Conti’s
Kerbeck Corvette
Autoblog

Related:
GM: Corvette Production Being Cut to Reduce Supply

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