It was time for Corvette to make the move to a mid-engine architecture, she said, “and it was a huge investment, but it was something we really believed in. We believed it was important for the Chevrolet brand, for the Corvette franchise itself.”
And, speaking of brands, Barra says GM would never rush into a decision amid internet speculation that the company is considering spinning off the Corvette into its own brand.
“I think you have to be really careful,” she warns, “because you have to understand what makes the brand the brand. So I’m not going to say never, but I think if General Motors were to ever do anything, we would assess it very, very carefully. Corvette means something so special to so many people.”
We get the feeling that Chevrolet is the place the company wants the Corvette to remain.
Just listen to Barra’s comments: “What I think is really important is Chevrolet is a home for Corvette and Chevrolet is American, and it’s value, it’s ingenuity. I think all of that is captured.”
She says Corvette “represents all that Chevrolet means, and part of that is, I think, that it is obtainable. So I think we will work really hard to make sure that we always live true to the Chevrolet brand, which is American, it’s value, it’s ingenuity.”
And, speaking of value, Barra wouldn’t say yes or no when asked by MotorTrend if the base price of the 2021 Corvette would increase, amid recent reports that the company is losing bundles of money at the current $59,995 starting point for the 2020 model.
“It’ll depend on how people content it,” she said.
We assume that means GM is hoping the low entry price will draw in customers, who will then proceed to check off enough option boxes for the company to make a profit. For example, the Z51 3LT model tested by MotorTrend listed for $88,305.
Barra said GM never considered keeping a front-engine Corvette as an entry-level model, alongside a more expensive mid-engine model.
“I think as we looked at it, we stepped back, and I think Tadge (Juechter, Corvette chief engineer) probably said it best when he said we had really taken the C7, that architecture style, as far as we could go without going to mid-engine. So it was time….”
Barra says it’s also time to begin seeing C8s on dealer lots, with the production of the car delayed a couple of months because of the UAW strike. Longtime salesman Mike Furman said in an email to customers this week that he guesses the first deliveries could be made beginning at the end of February.
In sum, Barra believes in the future of the Corvette, saying that it “pulls together and represents what the product development and marketing teams are capable of, truly understanding the customer and creating a leading vehicle that’s still affordable. I can’t wait until they’re in customer hands.”
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