Can you name another car manufacturer that has the same up close and personal relationship with its owners as GM enjoys with Corvette? Events like the ALMS Corvette Corrals and the C5/C6 Bash allow Corvette owners and enthusiasts to meet and talk with the core of the Corvette team: Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, Corvette Product Marketing Manager Harlan Charles and Exterior Design Executive Kirk Bennion. At the recently held C5/C6 Bash, Tadge’s bosses were also in attendance and we got a chance to hear from them at the Saturday morning GM seminar. As they will play a key role in supporting the Corvette team in the development of the C7, we thought it important enough for you to get to know them as well.
GM / Factory News
GM has issued a recall for 40,028 Corvettes built during the 2005 and 2006 model years. Specifically, the recall covers Corvettes built between March 2004 and January 2006 that have the tilt/telescopic steering column (RPO N37). Check your build date on the driver’s side doorjamb to see if your early C6 falls into that time period of manufacture.
When the GM rolled out the Corvette Grand Sport, Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles thought the new model would account for about half of all Corvette production. He was right. So far though April 14, 51% of all Corvettes built are Grand Sports. While the Grand Sport has helped increase the amount of convertibles built from 20% of Model Year production in 2009 to 28% in 2010, the shocker is how much the Grand Sport has reduced the number of Z06s, to just 4% of production. Perhaps now we see why the Corvette Z06 is getting all the attention for 2011.
GM’s monthly sales report shows 1,089 Corvettes delivered in the month of April. That’s the largest amount of sales in five months and the first time this year that sales have broken the one thousand mark. The number is down from last year’s 1,407 by -22.6%. Year to date, Corvettes sales are down -21% with 3,522 deliveries in 2010 vs 4,459 in 2009.
The big news coming out of the Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash is the enhancements made to the 2011 Z06. The last couple of years have seen the Z06 bracketed by two new models, the high performance ZR1 and the better than stock Corvette Grand Sport. Other than a few updates, the Z06 remained relatively unchanged since its introduction in 2006. In refreshing the Z06, Corvette engineers listened to the owners have provided several enhancements designed to keep the Z06 on the cutting edge of performance while maintaining its edge as the most trackable Corvette in the model lineup.
In commemorating the 50th anniversary of Corvette’s first class win at Le Mans, GM built a very special one of one tribute to the 1960 Briggs Cunningham Corvette. VIN #00001 shares the same exterior cues including the twin stipes over the hood, roof and trunk and the #3. A special graphic on the B-pillar features a 50th Anniversary logo and then dates 1960 and 2010.
This afternoon, GM’s Corvette Team presented the new 2011 Corvette to several hundred owners and enthusiasts at the Corvette Museum’s C5/C6 Bash in Bowling Green. One of the themes for the 2011 rollout is that Corvette buyers will have more choices than ever to personalize their Corvettes inside and out with a host of new options. Previous options that were restricted to certain models like Magnetic Selective Ride Control are also being made available on all models.
GM’s new commercial features CEO Ed Whitacre walking through an auto plant as he tells us that GM has repaid its government loans five years ahead of schedule. The commercial shows many of the successful cars and trucks in the GM lineup with a heavy dose of Malibu. At one point during Whitacre’s stroll, you can see what we think is a Cyber Gray Corvette ZR1 in the background. Although relegated to the role of extra, we appreciate that Corvette was in the mix, however briefly. Check out the video after the jump.
Kirk Bennion – GM’s Corvette Exterior Design Engineer – attended the 30th Annual Corvette Beach Caravan and Car Show in Panama City hosted by the Circle City Corvette Club at the end of March. In his presentation, Kirk shows the evolving design of the Corvette that became the 2011 Corvette Z06 Carbon Edition. You’ll see a couple of designs that didn’t make the cut as well as learn how the movie “Underworld” played a role in creating the overall look of the Z06 Carbon.