In the nearly 70 years since the first Chevrolet Corvette appeared, the car has generated a remarkable following of fans worldwide who are true believers in all things related to the American sportscar. Corvette Clubs are not just an American phenomenon as groups of enthusiasts meet at shows around the world as owners show off their pride and joys.
As you can imagine, I receive a lot of emails from Corvette enthusiasts both here in the USA and those around the world asking about the status of America’s favorite sports car, especially in these last few months where everything has been turned upside down with the Coronavirus. A letter I received this morning from an Australian customer got me thinking hard about the situation down-under so I am sharing his email below. But first, here is the set-up so you may have an idea from where he is coming from…
In our 15 years of blogging about Corvettes, I have a real affinity for those Corvette Enthusiasts in Australia who have been hampered by import duties, taxes, and right-hand-drive conversion laws that serves to triple the costs of importing a new Corvette to the island nation. In fact, our Australian Corvette Archives are filled with stories about the high regulatory hurdles that owners of Corvettes (both new and classic) are subjected to.
So when Chevrolet announced that a right-hand-drive version of the C8 Corvette would be available for export to those countries with RHD rules, we were ecstatic for those Corvette enthusiasts in Australia who would finally be able to buy their dream cars and not be subjected to the costs of an RHD conversion. The mid-engine Corvettes were expected to be sold through GM’s Holden Motors, which had recently closed all their own manufacturing facilities and was moving to a model of selling imported GM products rebranded under its banner.
But then GM blew up that deal earlier this year by announcing the closure of Holden Motors and since then, nobody has been able to effectively communicate the strategy of selling the C8 Corvette in Australia. Rumors are that GM is partnering with Walkinshaw to form GM Specialty Vehicles (GSMV) as an entity for sales and service, but I am not sure that was definitively announced.
Elsewhere, Chevrolet has been announcing pricing and equipment details for other Right-Hand-Drive markets including Japan, which saw triple the orders from the previous LHD C7s, and the United Kingdom, where a special ‘Launch Edition’ will be offered.
Having now brought you up to speed, here is the letter I received from Theo Demopoulos:
Since your blog and website represent the whole Corvette brand in America and the rest of the world, I thought that it might be the best medium to voice my own personal opinion about the constant delay of announcing whether the C8 Corvette is coming or not to Australia.
I have been a loyal customer of the GM brand here in Australia for over 35 years and I think that I am entitled to a proper explanation of why its taking so long for GM and Holden and the Walkinshaw Group that is being considered to represent the GM brand here in Australia. It has been over 3 years now that GM pulled the plug and virtually the rug underneath the Holden brand here in Australia thus causing this immense legal battle between GM, Holden and all the Holden and HSV dealerships here in Australia. As an Australian consumer I have no other means of buying an Australian produced V8 musclecar since local production ceased to happen in 2017 for both Holden and Ford companies, and the only way to buy one is from private importer or buy a Mustang.
I am very angry and frustrated that is has come to this and now it is made worse with this constant procrastination from GM in America to make a decision to produce right hand C8’s. The American consumer has so many choices to choose from and it is pathetic that because we are situated on the other side of the world, we are being penalised with so many additional costs like import duties, sales taxes, luxury taxes, conversion costs and so on and so we are paying four and five times the cost of what it costs in America. So I thought that maybe your forum would be able to voice my frustration by perhaps talking to some of the GM executives and maybe we could speed this decision making process come to a positive outcome.
Finally I would like to add that I did email many months ago a message to Mary Barra and some other executives my concern and did get a reply back many months later saying that this major decision was going to happen and I needed to be patient, but I am still waiting.
Theo, I believe the C8 Corvettes will be coming to your country and hopefully by sometime next year which was the plan for the Right-Hand-Drive versions before the Coronavirus pandemic. I hope that this message gets to those at General Motors so they can clarify what their plans are for selling C8 Corvettes in Australia. In the meantime, hang in there as best possible!
Arrival of Right Hand Drive Corvettes in Australia Could be Delayed Until 2022
GM Still Committed to Right Hand Drive C8 Corvette Model Following Holden Announcement
Corvette’s Crossed Flags Badge Approved in Australia with Strings Attached