Detroit News Asks ‘Hey, what if GM built a Corvette SUV?’


Detroit News Asks 'Hey, what if GM built a Corvette SUV?'

Photo Illustration by James Hollar / The Detroit News

A few months ago, we wrote a story saying that it might not be a bad idea to spin off Corvette from Chevrolet and create a whole lineup of high-performance vehicles of all shapes and sizes under the Corvette brand.

Detroit News automotive writer Henry Payne has just written a similar story after talking to a few key players in the automotive business.

“There’s certainly precedent for non-traditional SUV makers to jump into the market,” says Karl Brauer, senior analyst for Kelley Blue Book. “Every time one of them has jumped in, it has worked.”

Case in point, of course, is the Porsche Cayenne, which has helped Porsche generate one-third of Volkswagen Group’s profits with only 2.3 percent of its sales.

“The idea of a Porsche SUV still rubs sports-car purists the wrong way, but it has been a spectacularly profitable product for the brand,” says John Roseveaer, senior auto specialist for

Count at least one retired GM official among the fans of creating a Corvette SUV.

Tom Wallace, who ran Corvette’s program from 2006-08, even liked the name suggestions.

“XC7 and X06 (mimicking the Z06’s name) are great starters for naming,” Wallace said. “Stingray is off limits.”

Wallace’s suggestions for the mechanics include front engine, rear drive, with AWD option, along with lots of aluminum in the structure.

“Aluminum is mandatory to support the theme that Corvette embraces to be the lightest vehicle in its class,” Wallace said. “The two V8s from the Corvette stable are also a must.”

Another former GM leader, Bob Lutz, is also a fan of the idea.

“Like the Cayenne, the appeal of the ‘Vette SUV would be RWD proportions,” Lutz said. “It should, in fact, have a silhouette not too different from a Cayenne.”

Wallace says to engineer the new vehicle, he would use common GM parts to keep costs down.

There are a couple of problems that might kill the idea of a Corvette SUV, though.

The first is that it would require an all-new RWD/AWD architecture that does not exist, Lutz says, noting that would be a high investment for relatively low volume.

“The Corvette ute probably would be a stand-alone architecture (or a major modification of an existing architecture), so volume would be critical to call it a business success,” Wallace told Hollar.

The second is that it might not make business sense to GM bean counters.

“The reason a Corvette SUV won’t happen is the business case would be tough,” Lutz believes. “Besides cannabilizing ‘normal’ Corvettes, it can also be expected to damage GMC and certainly the Cadillac XT5.”

Still, the idea of a Corvette-based family of vehicles is definitely appealing to some.

Detroit News Asks 'Hey, what if GM built a Corvette SUV?'

Photo Illustration by James Hollar / The Detroit News

“Corvette is a powerful brand that should be developed,” Lutz said. “Go upmarket with a mid-engine sedan using big Cadillac CT6 architecture, and maybe eventually something like Cayenne. They would split it off from Chevrolet – nobody makes that connection anyway.”

Brauer says history suggests there is no downside to building such a vehicle.

“Non-Corvette owners who couldn’t justify a two-seat sports car could finally put a Corvette badge in their garage,” he says.

Finally, Wallace believes such a Corvette product would be a “smash hit,” saying that an excellent product usually leads to business success.

“Let’s convince GM to do it!” Wallace says.

How about you? Would you buy a Corvette SUV? I would.


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  1. NO SUV but a proper station wagon along the lies a a Volv0V90 with at least 500HP and awd would be welcomed!!! The old CAFE standards have skewered truck and suv sales for WAY TOO LONG!!!

  2. As a Corvette owner I like the idea of an suv vette, but I don’t think GM could pull it off. I’m afraid GM would try and ask a high price for it (because of the Corvette name), while the quality wouldn’t match the price tag.

  3. I have been advocating a Corvette Brand spin-off for more than 10 years. GM is learning how to make lighter offerings (except Corvette – Wallace’s info is out of date). The C7 Z06, the fattest Corvette in history, is actually 200 LBs HEAVIER than the new Equinox. The unique engineering and parts would require a significant high production unit commitment to justify the business case. Recent leaks from Porsche claim a net profit of $17,500 per vehicle. Corvette lovers are as loyal as Porsche lovers, but a bit more frugal. GM would be ecstatic with a net of half that. BTW, I have driven the fine XT5, a very nice package. HOWEVER, anyone who has driven one knows, it could NEVER wear a Corvette label – in fact nowhere in GM’s stable is there a truly SPORT Utility Vehicle. A Corvette SUV would not steal any significant sales from GMC or Cad.

  4. Tom – the CTS-V station wagon was, perhaps, the hottest wagon ever produced and Americans didn’t buy them. Owners LOVE them. They were even available with a manual tranny. Didn’t sell. “Station Wagons” will never again sell in volume in the USA. Slap an SUV label on it and raise it 2 inches and the same vehicle will sell.

  5. Zora would be furious…..Corvette is a high performance sports car designed for two people.Owning one is part of reaching the American Dream. S.U.V.s are for the option of off-roading, lets not compromise the DNA of Corvette gentlemen.

  6. longtimer: the CTS wagon did not hit its demographic !! Too small, blind spots, bad space layout, too small rear seat. As I said give it the utility of the new V90 Volvo and it will sell.

  7. I’ve had 2, a 63 split window and 2002 Corvette.
    I have only one thing to say ” 1958 Thunderbird ”
    Please don’t go down that road Ford tried, it’s not a family car.
    I understand you’re saying SUV , but I would not
    be interested in any type of Corvette that isen’t
    A 2 seater. They’re the bomb Mr Corvette.

  8. Would not buy unless I had lot of extra chash but it you don’t need to say it’s a SUV Corvette already says sport (VUV) VETTE UTILITY VEHICLE

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