Bob Lutz Thinks the Corvette Brand Needs a Performance SUV

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Bob Lutz Thinks the Corvette Brand Needs a Performance SUV

Photo Illustration by James Hollar / The Detroit News


Legendary auto executive Bob Lutz talks candidly about the future of the Corvette in a recent interview with Automotive News.

Some have speculated for years that General Motors should spin off the Corvette to its own brand, and Lutz wouldn’t mind seeing that happen or at least expand the model lineup to include an SUV.

In fact, he believes that GM should bite the bullet and make a substantial investment in a super Corvette SUV that would be slightly larger than a Porsche Cayenne and sell in medium volumes, beginning at a whopping price of $100,000.

Makes sense – the go big or go home mentality? GM already has a boatload of highly profitable SUVS like the Suburban, Yukon, Tahoe, and Escalade. After all, why would the automaker need another similar vehicle unless it’s going to be a “super” SUV that would appeal to big spenders? Lutz believes a Corvette SUV would have to offer American-made “stellar premium sport-utility” and GM would have to go all in with no compromises made. How would you like a 755-horsepower Corvette SUV, for example?

Speaking of Corvettes, Lutz is glad to see Chevy going to a mid-engine design for its upcoming C8 sports car but offers some words that should alarm enthusiasts like us.

“It will be successful to a degree,” Lutz says of the new generation Corvette, “but all two-passenger sports cars are facing a limited future.”

He expects the mid-engine C8 to sell well at the beginning but worries that it may be too little, too late to entice younger buyers away from foreign two-seaters like Porsche.

“I don’t think anyone is going to get out of a Porsche 911 to buy a mid-engine Corvette,” Lutz says. “One of the problems the Corvette brand has is the same as what Harley-Davidson is facing: The owner body is getting older and older and older, and there are no young people coming in.”

While we’re all eagerly waiting for the unveiling of the C8 on 7-18-19, Lutz told Automotive News he’s afraid “this car has been in development so long that there is a risk that the design will no longer be as new and as fresh as it should be when the car appears next month.”

Let’s hope he’s wrong about that.

And one final thought from this reporter: Would a Corvette SUV just steal away GM customers it already has locked up with the current Suburban, etc. lineup? Of course, with a supposed six-figure price, we would assume the resulting profits would be much higher than, say, an ordinary Suburban and make such a vehicle appealing to the bean counters at GM.


Source:
CarBuzz.com via Automotive New (Sub Req.)

Related:
The Detroit News Announces Winners of its Corvette SUV Design Contest
Detroit News Asks ‘Hey, what if GM built a Corvette SUV?’
Bob Lutz on C8 Pricing: A Little More than C7 Version for Version

 

20 COMMENTS

  1. Please do NOT make a Corvette SUV, it just don’t Fit. I see Porsche SUV’s and the Porsche 4 door sedan, Neither look good. Corvette was built to be an American Sports Car, not a Soccor Mom’s, run around town car. Just adding my 2 cents and not intended as an insult.

  2. Porsche enthusiast said the same thing when it was announced they were entering the SUV business and thought it was a mistake. Looking back, it has converted Porsche from a niche to a full lineup of vehicles. The question is: Should GM convert the Corvette nameplate into a lineup? I say yes.

  3. I don’t agree with “no young people coming in”. My son bought his corvette before I bought mine. He has two now, and your son is a enthusiasts as well. It’s often a family tradition. Granted most youngsters have to get a bit of work behind them to afford to buy their own.

  4. NO AND HELL NO !! Porsche disrespected their sports cars when they caved in and brought out an SUV
    and the only reason was to improve the bottom line. Chevy has more then enough vehicles in their line up
    to satisfy a customers desire for a Chevy SUV product. Unlike the Mustang, which they have tried to make “everyones car” the Corvette has remained true to its roots. an American sports car. Don’t poison the well, by slapping the Corvette nameplate on another vehicle that is a totally different car.

  5. A Corvette SUV? Totally out of touch! Mr. Lutz, do not waste the time or money on such a project. “Performance SUV’s” are a niche market at best.

    Want to get the younger crowd into a Corvette? Bite the bullet and make the price lower than it is. I’m trading in my E92 M3 for a C8….and I am nowhere close to membership eligibility for AARP!

  6. There would be no 911s being built today without the SUVs, so in Porsche’s case, a matter of survival. Corvette does not seem to have that problem…yet, but when the old fat guys like me have to make choices after trying to enter/exit sports cars with certain discomfort, then a new market is created.
    Many young guys can afford the Corvette just as well as WE could back in the day, but the young family man will have difficulty justifying that purchase as his weekend toy. Mr. Lutz is correct.

  7. PLEASE NO SUV, DON’T BASTARDIZE THE CORVETTE , STICK TO WHAT ITS BEEN SINCE 1953, “AMERICAS SPORTS CAR”. IT GETS THE JOB DONE AT BARGAIN (COMPARED TO IT COMPETITION) PRICES. AS FOR NEW BLOOD NOT GETTING INTO THE CORVETTE FRAME OF MIND, THEY ARE ALREADY AND MOST PROBABLY WILL WAIT UNTIL THEY ESTABLISH THEMSELVES. BESIDES, HOW WOULD THEY ENGINEER A MID ENGINE SUV ?

  8. For the love of God no, keep the Corvette name on a two seater sports car. If you want a 755 hp SUV buy a damn TrackHawk, look at those sales now after the hype has worn off! A Corvette SUV will be a flop. How about GM fixes the problems they have with their current line like the Ugly AF Silverado, Camaro, and Colorado. Then offer a better warranty for these younger buyers who buy a Hyundai, Kia or something with a 5 year/ 60k mike warranty. These millennial’s aren’t stupid, they want a good value.

  9. The world does not need/want a Corvette UAV (urban assault vehicle ) now or anytime. Not now, NOT EVER ! Bub Lutz is getting soft in the head.

  10. UGH! What a HORRIBLE idea. Keep Corvette a sports CAR. Unlike every single other marque from Hyundai to Bentley. Stop the madness. GM has plenty of trucks already.

  11. Ok, lets not make a Corvette based SUV. Damn people. Just put more power in the one’s we have, it’s America’s Sports Car REMEMBER!!!??

  12. Chevy and GM is NOT Porsche. Before Porsche built their first SUV…all the company made were Sports Cars
    In order to broaden their line..they added other types of cars…sure it helped them. Chevy ALREADY has a complete line of SUV’s Vans, Pick ups..various sedans and of course the Camaro….PLENTY to choose from, for someone who wants one of those type Vehicles Don’t disrespect Corvette by putting its nameplate on some
    ugly, oversize rolling tank !!

  13. I usually agree with Mr. Lutz but this time I’m thinking that whatever he put in his pipe, it was the wrong sh*t! No Corvette SUV! I’m not a Porsche guy but I hated it when Porsche did it and never have respected the brand since then. Now Lamborghini and Ferrari want to do it … well, let them, but don’t bastardize America’s Sportscar. And as far as no young folks buying ‘Vettes, well, I’m an old dude who finally got his dream car 2018 Grand Sport, but when I went to the Ron Fellows Corvette Racing Course with 19 other Vette owners there were probably only a half dozen of us old guys. The majority were guys in their 20’s and 30’s and they were all Corvette crazy!

  14. Lutz more often than not knows exactly what he’s talking about. And while I don’t agree with him on the need for a Corvette SUV invention, I totally agree with his theory re: the “graying” of the Corvette buyer and the fact that nobody will be leaving the Porsche brand for Corvette simply because the engine will now be in the back seat. After all of the hype dies down, the C8 will not be what the C7 is.

  15. Lutz more often than not knows exactly what he’s talking about. And while I don’t agree with him on the need for a Corvette SUV invention, I totally agree with his theory re: the “graying” of the Corvette buyer and the fact that nobody will be leaving the Porsche brand for Corvette simply because the engine will now be in the back seat. After all of the hype dies down, the C8 will not be what the C7 is.

  16. Hey Bob, Go work for Porsche, you are a typical GM bonehead like your president and your new C8 Corvette, it’s hard to believe that a car company would pay people like you to try to ruin a great car that the C7 is, I fear the Corvette is doomed!

  17. Chevy and GM already have plenty of SUVs. The Corvette brand is known for sports cars that match or exceed other sports cars well above their price point and it achieved this by focusing on that alone. A Corvette SUV is likely to either dilute that focus or dilute the brand when some GM exec decides to drop a supercharger in a Tahoe and call it something special. Don’t be a Dodge, Chevy.

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