This SlideShowPro photo gallery requires the Flash Player plugin and a web browser with JavaScript enabled.

News

Corvette Responsibilities Shift to GM’s Gene Stefanyshyn

by Keith Cornett on October 27, 2008

Gene Stefanyshyn

With the news of Tom Wallace’s retirement at the end of this month finally sinking in, attention is now shifting to who GM will name as a replacement. Several automotive sites, AutoWeek and InsideLine are confirming that Gene Stefanyshyn, GM’s global vehicle line executive for rear-wheel-drive vehicles, will add the Corvette chief engineer responsibility to his duties.

Gene Stefanyshyn (rhymes with definition) was behind GM’s global Epsilon initative that will eventually involve 1/6th of the cars GM build around the world – roughly 1.4 million units annually. More recently, his Rear-Wheel-Drive duties have led him to Australia where his team did much of the design and engineering work on the new Camaro, as well as the Holden Commodore.

The news of how Corvette and Stefanyshyn will work together is still cloudy and we hope GM issues an official statement soon. AutoWeek is claiming that the Corvette will be added to Stefanyshyn’s Rear-Wheel-Drive Vehicle Line while Inside Line is reporting that Wallace will be succeeded by Stefanyshyn as Corvette boss.

One thing we do need to clear up though. Tadge Juechter is officially Corvette’s Chief Engineer. About six months into Wallace’s tenure, he split the VLE and Chief Engineering positions.

Maybe in this time of downsizing it would make sense to combine the performance and rear-wheel-drive VLE’s. But having one person do the workload that 2 or 3 people use to do is never a great long-term solution. In July this year, Corvette Marketing Manager Gary Claudio moved to a position at Corvette Racing and his duties were added to the Corvette Product Manager, Harlan Charles.

We found this brief bio of Gene Stefanyshyn:

Gene Stefanyshyn started his career in a junkyard. He fondly recalls, “As a teenager, I spent days in an Oshawa, Ontario, salvage yard that belonged to a friend’s father. We’d bombed around in cars, tore things apart, and rebuilt engines for fun. That’s where I starting loving cars.”

Stefanyshyn says his high school dream was to become a tool and die maker. He took the math and science classes required for college admission and also the hands-on technical courses.

“When I was about to become an apprentice, an excellent machine shop teacher took me aside to tell my abilities exceeded those required to be a tool and die maker,” he says. “They encouraged me to try for more. That’s when it occurred to me that perhaps I could become an engineer.”

The 47-year old Canadian joined GM as a General Motors Institute engineering student in 1976. Upon graduation, he took up corporate finance studies, earnings an MBA in 1981. That led to a planning and competitive analysis assignment at GM of Canada while Rick Wagoner was the organization’s CFO. Subsequent assignments at Saab and Opel broadened Stefanyshyn’s horizons. Under Opel’s Peter Hanenberger, he helped lay a foundation for GM’s global architectures strategy. Before returning to North America in 1995, Stefanyshyn also created an engineering council for GM’s international operations, strategy for Asia Pacific business, and an engineering proposal for GM’s China joint venture partner.

Back in the U.S.A. Stefanyshyn’s assignment as GM’s mid-size VLE was to grab a range of under-performing models by the scruff. His global experience made him the perfect change agent for solving mid-size problems and integrating future models into GM’s global product portfolio.

We’ll have more on this as soon as GM makes an official statement.


Source:
AutoWeek
Inside Line
ECnext.com
Photo Credit: Drive.com.au

Related:
Corvette Chief Tom Wallace Set To Retire
GM Cutbacks Extend to Corvette Program

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | |

Corvette Chief Tom Wallace Set To Retire

by Keith Cornett on October 26, 2008

Tom Wallace discusses the Corvette ZR1

The Corvette community was surprised to hear Thursday evening at the Petersen Automotive Museum’s Corvette Racing celebration that GM’s Performance Vehicle Line Executive Tom Wallace is retiring at the end of October. Tom served as Corvette’s Chief Engineer after Dave Hill stepped down at the end of 2005. His quick departure opens up speculation about the future of the Corvette program since we heard that the program has been put on an indefinite hold.

Tom’s three year tenure as the head of the Corvette program is the shortest ever for any of Corvette program leaders. The speculation on the street regarding his departure is either that he was unwilling to commit to pushing back the C7 Corvette launch schedule to 2014 or beyond, or with the launch of the Corvette ZR1, the only “new” model launched during his tenure, now seemed to be the best time to take a buyout and make an exit as GM faces one of the most difficult periods in its 100 year history.

As of Saturday, there has been no official word about Wallace’s retirement from General Motors.

Whatever the reasons, we liked Tom and felt that his racing DNA were ideal for leading Corvette into the next generation. We do know that Corvette will be in good hands with the likes of Tadge Juechter and others leading the next generation Corvette program. Our fear is less about GM cutting the Corvette program and more about GM’s financial viability as a company over the next year.


Sources:
Autoblog
CorvetteConti.com

Related:
Wallace Discusses Building a Better Corvette
Corvette’s Tom Wallace Q & A
[VIDEO] GM’s Tom Wallace Discusses the 2009 Corvette ZR1

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | |

Next-Generation C7 Corvette on Hold – Indefinitely

by Keith Cornett on October 18, 2008

C7 Corvette Rendering

It was just two weeks ago that Motor Trend reported the next generation Corvette would be pushed back to 2014. With turbulent economic crises threatening the very existence of the Big 3 automakers, word comes from AutoWeek that GM has put plans for the C7 Corvette on indefinite hold with no official word or set timetable.

Luckily, none of the sources are suggesting that the Corvette will go away. Corvette Vehicle-Line Executive Tom Wallace told AutoWeek “No one is saying we’re not doing Corvettes. We’re still bullish on Corvettes.” When asked directly if there was any chance the Corvette would die, Wallace stated emphatically “No way.”

Talk is now about the how the C6 Corvette’s run can be extended. One version of the story is that the C6 could be upgraded significantly in 2012 as a ’13 model. Wallace says we’ll see changes sooner than that. “There are changes, some neat stuff, coming for 2010 that I can’t talk about yet.”

Read the entire article at AutoWeek.


Sources:
AutoWeek

Related:
C7 Corvette Rumors: No Mid-Engine and C7 Pushed Back to 2014

 

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

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | |

Motor Trend C7 Corvette Rendering

Motor Trend’s Mike Conner is reporting that a mid-engine design for the next generation Corvette is out. Unfortunately, he also mentions the C7 Corvette is on hold and unlikely to launch earlier than 2014.

Mid-Engine Corvette supporters, including GM’s Vice-Chairman Bob Lutz, believe they can achieve better fuel economy utilizing gas-saving cylinder shutoff with an LS3 V8 mounted behind the driver as its hard to deactivate cylinders based on the current front engine/rear transaxle setup without adding a clutch to deactivate the driveshaft.

Detractors counter that the extra weight that comes with a mid-engine layout and its heavy rear cowl would offset any fuel-economy savings of cylinder shutoff.

Unfortunately, (or fortunately depending on your outlook of a mid-engine Corvette) the accountants appear to be having the final say as the funding for a complete ground up redesign of the Corvette is just unavailable during this time of GM’s fiscal difficulties.

With all that being said, MT says don’t count out Tom Wallace and his team considering 3.6-liter direct-injection V6 for the base C7 Corvette.

Sources:
Motor Trend

Related:
Lighter, Greener Corvette on the Horizon
Late Night Speculation: C7 Corvette Moving to Kappa Platform?

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | |

September 2008 Corvette Sales

by Keith Cornett on October 2, 2008

Corvette sales continued to be pretty decent through September, no doubt bouyed by the Employee Discount Program on remaining 2008 Corvettes that ran through the end of the month. Last month, 2,318 Corvettes were delivered but sales were down 18.3% over September 2007. W continue to have some major concerns with the impact the credit crunch may have in the coming months.

Within the last month, GM began making moves to ease the impact of the current economic slowdown in regards to Corvette Sales. The first will be a cut in production later this month by closing the Bowling Green Assembly Plant for a week as well as the slowing production line – two moves that should ease dealer inventories. GM also announced a $1520 price increase across the board, while not in itself a significate price hike, it is a move that will help offset some of the cuts that GM has been making to ensure profibility.

2008 Corvette Delivery Statistics
Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2008 2007 % Change Months 2008 2007 % Change
January 2,015 2,234 -9.8% Jan-Jan 2,015 2,234 -9.8%
February 2,071 2,784 -25.6% Jan-Feb 4,086 5,018 -18.6%
March 2,692 3,158 -14.8% Jan-Mar 6,788 8,176 -17.1%
April 3,190 3,227 -1.1% Jan-Apr 9,968 11,403 -12.6%
May 2,904 3,300 -12.0% Jan-May 12,872 14,703 -12.5%
June 2,082 3,055 -31.8% Jan-Jun 14,954 17,758 -15.8%
July 1,870 2,377 -21.3% Jan-Jul 16,824 20,135 -16.4%
August 4,242 2,877 47.4% Jan-Aug 21,066 23,012 -8.5%
September 2,318 2,837 -18.3% Jan-Sept 23,384 25,849 -9.5%


2007 Corvette Delivery Statistics
Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%
November 2,438 2,773 -12.1% Jan-Nov 30,771 33,437 -8.0%
December 2,914 3,081 -5.4% Jan-Dec 33,685 36,518 -7.8%


Corvette Stock Report:

A check of Jeff Hardy’s website shows a total of 7,821 Corvettes on the ground as of yesterday and can be broken down into:

  • 2007 Corvettes – 210
  • 2008 Corvettes – 2,828
  • 2009 Corvettes – 4,783
Here’s the current breakdown in 2008 Corvette inventory in case you’re still looking to score a deal:
  • 1,265 Corvette Coupes
  • 849 Corvette Convertibles
  • 714 Corvette Z06


Source:
GM.com
JeffHardy.com

Related:
GM: Corvette Production Being Cut to Reduce Supply
August 2008 Corvette Sales

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | |

GM Raises Prices on All 2009 Corvettes

by Keith Cornett on September 30, 2008

GM announced yesterday an across the board price increase on all Corvettes produced on and after September 29, 2009. Coupes, Convertibles, Z06s and the ZR1 will have their MSRP raised by $1,520. This price will effect any Corvette that is not already in dealers stock.

Kerbeck Corvette’s Sales Manager Dave Salvatore told us you are price protected if you have a Customer order date prior to September 29th. He also sent us the new Corvette base prices (not including the $850 destination charge or the ZR1’s gas guzzler tax):

  • Coupe – $48,565
  • Convertible – $53,220
  • Z06 – $73,925
  • ZR1 – $103,970

The good news is that Kerbeck Corvette has over 85 2009 Corvettes in stock at the old price! Call Dave and his team today at 1-877-537-2325 to get the best price available and make sure you tell him CorvetteBlogger sent you!


Sponsored by:
Kerbeck Corvette

Related:
GM: Corvette Production Being Cut to Reduce Supply

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | |

Transformers Corvette Concept Revealed as Sideswipe

by Keith Cornett on September 25, 2008

Corvette Centennial Design Concept on Set of Transformers

Since the mysterious Corvette Centennial Design Concept was spotted on the set of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, there has been much speculation about the identity that the car would portray when in Robot mode. At a recent Hasbro Licensing summit in Malaysia it was revealed that the Corvette was in fact Sideswipe.

Producer Michael Bay has had to jump through some hoops to appease the Transformers fan base (we know all about rabid fan bases) because GM has an exclusive agreement to provide the vehicles for the movies. In the original cartoon, Sideswipe was one of original crew members of the ARK, although he was a red Lamborghini when in auto-mode.

Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept
Transformers 2 Corvette Concept Transformers 2 Corvette Concept

I’m the first to admit that I’m not really up on Transformers trivia. I’d rather have a hunk a junk that can make the Kessel run in under 12 parsecs any day than a car that transforms into a robot. But I digress. I’m just still trying to understand that if you’re a robot hiding on earth, why pick a Corvette Concept car as your secret identity?


Source:
Seibertron

Related:
Transformers Mystery Car Revealed as Corvette Centennial Design Concept
Transformer’s Corvette Concept Revealed
[VIDEO] Sixties Corvette To Make Warp Speed in Next Star Trek Movie?

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | | | |

GM: Corvette Production Being Cut to Reduce Supply

by Keith Cornett on September 15, 2008

Corvettes on a dealer's lot

Not since the mid-Nineties has production of the Corvette been slowed due to oversupply, but now it appears that GM will halt production of the iconic sports car next month to lessen supplies during this so-called automotive downturn. Often billed as “recession-proof”, Corvette’s production will be cut by an estimated 20-30 cars per day and layoffs will effect up to 9% of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s workforce.

Automotive News has confirmed with GM that production of the Corvette will be halted the week of October 6th and when assembly resumes on October 13th, the assembly line will be slowed from 18.5 to 15 Corvettes per hour. The slower production will result in roughly 20-30 Corvettes per day being eliminated from the supply while the one week shutdown will remove an estimated 700 Corvettes from supply.

Eldon Renaud, President of the UAW Local 2164 in Bowling Green said up to 75 people of the 800 hourly workforce could be laid off. “We’ve weathered a lot of downturns but I think this one has finally lasted long enough and people are concerned enough about the economy that it’s probably having a minor effect.”

Through the first eight months of 2008, Corvette sales fell 8.5% to 21,066. While we saw a 47.4% rebound in August sales when the 2008 Corvette was included in GM’s employee pricing incentive program, GM Spokesperson Sharib Basel says “you can’t count on incentives holding down inventories through the balance of the year.”


Source:
Automotive News via Autoblog

Related:
August 2008 Corvette Sales

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | |

Corvette Photo Caption Contest – The Winners List

by Keith Cornett on September 9, 2008

C6 Corvette and a Mercedes Benz Getting It On

Thanks for everyone who submitted a caption for our Corvette accident photo. There were some real gems submitted, so instead of picking one winner, I selected three from the list:

1. “The luxury you want with the handling you crave” – Matt Culler

2. “OK, I promise to leave the Nordschleife alone, from now on it’s yours” – Lee Kibbler

3. “Wow, I knew that new wax I bought at Carlisle was slippery, but…” – Mike Holeva

An email will be sent to the three winners so I can get their mailing addresses. Our first place winner will receive a 2008 Corvette Black Book, 2008 Corvette Price Guide and a Bridgestone Firestone tire gauge. The two runner ups will each receive a Bridgestone Firestone tire gauge. This was fun and the participation was greater than expected so we’ll see about doing more of these kinds of contests.


Source:
Ventura County Star

Related:
Corvette Accident Photo: Prizes For Best Caption
Take Out! Hertz Corvette ZHZ Wrecks Dallas Restaurant

Thanks to:
Bridgestone Firestone

Technorati Tags:
| | | | | | |