Chevrolet has been trying for generations to sell Corvettes in Europe, but no matter how good the C5 and C6 were, they didn’t seem to hit it off with overseas buyers – at least in large numbers.
With the much-improved seventh-generation Stingray, Chevy obviously feels it has done its homework and has turned the C7 into a true world-class sports car, complete with a sophisticated and classy interior.
With the unveiling of the 2014 Corvette Stingray convertible in Geneva earlier this week, instead of in the States, Chevrolet wanted to send a message to the rest of the world (i.e., Europe) that it is truly ready to take on the big boys.
While Chevy knows that foreign Corvette sales will never make or break the company (after all, they sold just 377 in 2011 and 200 in 2012 in Europe), it still wants the halo effect that a strong ’Vette would bring to the brand there.
Europeans have for decades felt that Corvette quality just wasn’t there compared to Porsche, for instance, and it remains to be seen if that reputation can be overcome, even by an outstanding seventh generation.
It doesn’t help any that the Corvette costs considerably more in Europe, too.
Automotive News Europe reports that one of Switzerland’s largest Corvette dealers told them that Corvettes retail for one-third more than in the U.S. That means a 2013 Grand Sport coupe, stickering for $57,000 in America, will go for more than $80,000 in Europe.
A confusing dealer network was an obstacle, too. For years, GM sold Corvettes and Camaros through Cadillac dealers in Europe, but now they retail them through its Chevy network there.
The importance of Corvette in Europe is “not about the volume,” said Chevrolet Europe President Susan Docherty. “It’s about the halo and what it does for the Chevrolet brand here.”
Automotive News – Europe