Arrival of Right Hand Drive Corvettes in Australia Could be Delayed Until 2022

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Arrival of Right Hand Drive Corvettes in Australia Could be Delayed Until 2022


Could the much-ballyhooed right-hand drive mid-engine Corvette be a victim of COVID-19, too?

That’s the speculation this week from an Aussie website called CarAdvice, which is reporting that General Motors is reconsidering the viability of the RHD Stingray.

In fact, CarAdvice says a leaked internal document from Michelle Braun, GM’s executive director in charge of program management, indicates a temporary stop on all future car and truck development, including the Corvette.

CarAdvice says its sources give it “little to no chance” that the new RHD Corvette will be on sale in Australia in the first half of next year as once planned – and might be delayed until 2022, even if it happens at all because GM will have to focus on engineering for other higher-selling vehicles that could boost revenue in the aftermath of the coronavirus shutdown.

According to CarAdvice, the virus could not have struck at a worse time for the RHD Corvette program, which it says was in the middle of its engineering work ahead of the start of production late in 2020 or early 2021.

Their “well-placed industry sources in Australia” now believe that chances are “slim to none” that GM will continue with its plans to produce its first-ever factory RHD Corvette.

A source with intimate knowledge of the RHD program told CarAdvice: “When General Motors comes out of this crisis, they will want to allocate their engineering resources to the vehicles that can deliver the biggest profits in the shortest possible time … they need cashflow urgently.”

First official photo of the C8 Corvette's Right Hand Drive interior


GM has made no secret of its plans to sell factory-made RHD Corvettes along with other Chevrolets like the Silverado (with the RHD conversions done locally) under the General Motors Special Vehicles (GMSV) banner in Australia. The idea was to rebrand Holden Special Vehicles as GMSV when Holden ends production at the end of this year, though negotiations for such a rebrand are on hold due to the virus.

Unfortunately for Australians, selling RHD Corvettes may not make enough financial sense since the word is GM only planned to sell between 200 and 400 such cars annually.

“Do you really think General Motors is going to allocate engineers to finish off the right-hand-drive Corvette, when those same engineers could be working on another vehicle for the US market that will deliver much bigger profits and sell in much greater volumes?” the CarAdvice source said.

While there is a chance that the cars could still be converted locally, the added cost and complexity would likely make such an idea unlikely, CarAdvice says, “given the likely high price and limited sales opportunity for a niche vehicle.”

CarAdvice believes the target price originally was between $120,000 and $140,000, but a local conversion would likely increase that closer to $200,000.

As always, General Motors isn’t commenting about any future programs, including the RHD Corvette, so we’ll just have to wait and see how the RHD program plays out in the real post-coronavirus world.


Source:
caradvice.com.au

Related:
GM Still Committed to Right Hand Drive C8 Corvette Model Following Holden Announcement
[PIC] First Look at the 2020 Corvette Stingray’s Right Hand Drive Interior
[PIC] Holden Teases the Arrival of the C8 Corvette to Australia

 



2 COMMENTS

  1. This has implications for the UK and Japan as well. No? Beyond this I think there should be more focus on the US market and satisfying demand here after we emerge from the shutdown. Of course the economic recovery has to come along or orders here will evaporate. Between the strike and the virus the C8 couldn’t have worse luck.

  2. I agree with Mike T re implications for far bigger markets than Australia. I saw elsewhere that on the day of orders opening in Japan there were 600 orders. Expanding that out to the UK and allowing that many orders will not be placed on day 1 – the tally must be in the 2,000+ range. Assuming that the original design catered for RHD cars, even that volume is possibly not enough to justify the engineering involved in additional parts and plant changeover.

    Sad for me as I pre-ordered one some 6 months ago 🙁

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