Automotive News reported that 10 GM studios across the globe have submitted designs for the next generation Corvette. GM’s VP of Global Design Ed Welburn says of the designs submitted, some “were absolutely phenomenal”. Welburn suggests the global initiative is part of an effort by GM to create a C7 that appeals to both buyers in Europe, where Corvette sales has gotten little traction, and to a younger US buyers, who tend to favor imports.
Going global for the design of C7 is good news for Corvette and here is the simple math. Sales are down nearly 50% and the customer base averages 54 years old and is growing steadily older. A fresh new look for the Corvette will create excitement and help the sports car break free from its current design style which essentially began life in 1997 as the C5 and morphed into the C6 in 2006.
Welburn also suggest going after two issues that have long fueled critics of the Corvette. First is that despite the current generation C6 Corvette being about the same size as a Porsche 911, the styling of the car makes it seem bigger. “We have to develop a design that feels trimmer, meaner, to go along with the incredible performance that the car has,” Welburn said. The second issue deals with inferior interiors, an issue Welburn admits to: “The execution, materials selection — it’s got to be a much better interior. Our customers desire that.”
In addition to the new design and content, pricing and marketing discussions are already underway. “It is a key time in the development of the Corvette,” Welburn said. “There is a lot of debate and a lot of study on the bandwidth of Corvette.” But, he added, “It can’t mutate into something that gets so far away from Corvette that it is no longer a Corvette.” While the overall design may steer Corvette to a new, global look, the return of the split rear window Welburn spoke of last year will allow the Corvette to infuse a very special part of its heritage with the next generation design.