Members of Chevrolet’s Corvette Team were at the National Corvette Museum’s Bash last week to rollout information about the 2016 Corvette and we were there with camera’s rolling to bring the full experience of the What’s News Seminar to those who couldn’t attend.
Presenting on behalf of the Corvette Team was Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter, Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles, Corvette Interior Design Manager Ryan Vaughan and Bowling Green Assembly Plant Manager Jeff Lamarche.
Plant Manager Jeff Lamarche kicks off the discussion with an update from the plant. He talked about the winter weather which caused the plant to miss three days of production but by the end of 1st quarter, they not only made up the units, but they have exceeding their production targets for the quarter and they are ahead of the schedule in April. The plant is currently running on an overtime schedule and they are building a maximum 170 Corvettes per day.
Jeff also talks about the return of the Engine Build Program which resumed in March this year. The Engine Build Program Experience allows a Corvette buyer the opportunity to assemble their own engines at the plant’s Performance Build Center:
It’s been an awesome experience. A very great day for our customers who spend the full day with us, build an engine side by side with one of our engine build tecnicians.” He adds, “It’s been absolutely a home run and I think its even more intiment and a better way for the customer to truely connect and bond with their vehicle because as they sit there and build their engine throughout the day they can look out through the windows of the Performance Build Center and see the Corvettes going by and so they just get to dream and know that that’s theirs.”
Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter took over the presentation. First, he introduced a special guest in the crowd – his mother – who was making her first Bash event. The crowd “awwwed” and applauded her and Tadge.
As in previous years, before looking forward to the next model year, the team first provides a summary on the current 2015 Model year by recapping awards and reading some of the press clippings.
Tadge called this year “The Year of the Z06” and recapped the performance specs and aero options again. Tadge talked about the inability to run a fast lap at the Nurburgring but shared the video of Jim Mero’s 2:41.32 run at VIR. The Performance Data Recorder was highlighted along with the Valet Mode video released earlier this year. The PDR camera is getting a software update to improve the picture and Tadge said they are working on a way to get it to owners who will then be able to perform the update via a flash drive or car.
Tadge then rolled into a slide showing the 2016 highlights before turning it over to Corvette Product Manager Harlan Charles.
Harlan confirms the Corvette C7.R raced by the factory team has indeed been painted the new Corvette Racing Yellow all season. But before he goes into more details, he recaps the sales and production statistics for 2015. This is one of our favorite parts of the seminar as it shows what options are being ordered and the penatration.
According to Harlan, Corvette is leading the Luxury Sport Segment for calendar year 2015 (Jan-Mar) with a 36% share of the market over rivals from Porsche, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz. Harlan also confirmed that March 2015’s sales were the highest in March since 1985! As of April 22nd, Chevrolet has built 23,171 Corvette Stingrays and 8,206 Corvette Z06s for a total production of 31,377. We’ll come back and break down these numbers.
Harlan’s first foray into 2016 Corvette news starts with a slide to the Chassis and Electonics. These changes include Magnetic Red Control with 19/20 wheels is now available without Z51. A power cinch latch hatch/trunk has returned and the introduction of the new Curb View camera.
The changes to the exterior are next with the new wheels detailed and then Harlan goes through the new color additions, Corvette Racing Yellow and Long Beach red. This was our first confirmation that Crystal Red would be replaced with Long Beach Red. All we can say is somebody up in Detroit loves Night Race Blue! Harlan then details the Z06 C7.R Special Edition and shares information on the three Design packages.
Corvette Interior Design Manager Ryan Vaughan then took over and he had the pleasure of sharing photos and details of the Corvette Z06 C7.R and the three design packages, Twilight Blue, Spice Red and Black Suede.
Ryan also details changes to the interior of the car of which there are many. Different colorbreakups are in store especially on the Corvette Z06. The breakups detail how the interior is wrapped based on the trim level. Other changes to the 2016 Corvette include two-tone seats and matching a suede flat-bottomed steering wheel to cars that have the Competition seats.
After Ryan’s portion of the seminar was concluded, Tadge returned to the stage and opened up the floor for questions. The Q&A session is always lively and this one went on for about 20 minutes. At the conclusion, the cover was pulled off the Corvette Z06 C7.R Special Edition int he back of the room and the crowd made a frantic dash to be among the first to see the car live.
Here is the full one hour and 20 minute video of Friday morning’s What’s New for the 2016 Seminar from the National Corvette Museum’s Bash.
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