Image Credit: MonaroSS/GMInsideNews
Last week, the Australian car magazine Wheels broke an exclusive report about the trouble that General Motors is having in securing a trademark in the land of Oz for its crossed-flags Corvette logo. Specifically, the Corvette logo trademark has been denied multiple times due to protections that Australian intellectual property laws grants to the Red Cross.
However, after reading the article and reaching out to the author who wrote the story, we believe the bigger news is that General Motors, in securing a trademark for its Corvette logo in Australia, is laying the foundation for the future importation of the rumored Mid-Engine Corvette codenamed Zora or ZoraZR1.
But first a little background.
General Motors announced last year that it will be ceasing production from its Australian brand Holden in 2017, which leaves the Continent without a proper muscle car from GM. Stefan Jacoby, head of General Motors’ international division, told Australian media in January that Holden will get a “halo model” after production of the V8 Commodore ends in 2017.
Chevrolet just launched its new sixth-generation 2016 Camaro and according to sources in the program, there are no plans to offer it as a Right Hand Drive model. That would be a requirement for a manufacturer to sell new automobiles in Australia. So that leaves Corvette as a possible choice for Holden. Except the current C7 Corvette is Left Hand Drive only as well and with no plans to reconfigure it for a Right Hand Drive Model, that could only mean a new Corvette will have to take its place.
Photo Credit: corvetteclinic.com.au
According to the Wheels article, the Corvette would be offered for sale in Australia in 2018, which is also in the time-period that we would most likely see a new Corvette model. That date is significant in a number of ways, including the time frame for completion of the $400+ million construction project for Bowling Green Assembly’s expanded paint shop.
[quote_box_center]Chevrolet’s performance hero is due on sale here in 2018, rounding out a fleet of models set to replace the locally made HSV range once Australian manufacturing winds down in 2017.[/quote_box_center]
The issue with the Corvette trademark stems from protection that the Australian Red Cross symbol has enjoyed since the Geneva Conventions Act in 1957. As the Chevrolet crossed-flags logo contains a checkered flag on the left side and a red flag with the Chevrolet bowtie and the fleur-de-lis on the right, its application for trademark protection has been rejected four times as officials say the Chevy bowtie looks too much like the Red Cross symbol.
Wheels says that time is running out for General Motors and the trademark application is in danger of being officially rejected. In fact, about the only thing left for GM in securing a trademark for the Corvette’s logo would be to obtain special permission from Australia’s Defense Minister, Kevin Andrews.
A search of the IP Australia database confirms that GM does have the Stingray name trademarked there, and in a deeper search, we also found the trademark registration for the “Zora”.
Prior to GM’s bankruptcy, GM’s VP of Global Products’ Bob Lutz talked about the need to offer the Corvette as a Right Hand Drive model so that it could be offered for sale in more countries. Now with signs pointing to 2018 as the time frame, and with $400+ million in upgrades to the Corvette’s paint shop (while the entire C7 build-out cost only $134 million), as well as the need to offer a Right Hand Drive model for export, we believe a new Corvette model will be offered in just two years.
We’d like to thank Barry Park of Wheels for his assistance with this story.