An Open Letter to General Motors from an Australian Corvette Enthusiast

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An Open Letter to General Motors from an Australian Corvette Enthusiast


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!


Related:
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

 



7 COMMENTS

  1. I guess it’d be fruitless to approach the Australian Government to try and get them to change the restrictions for the sale and importation of LHD vehicles. Now that manufacturing has stopped there maybe they would consider a change. I have no doubt whatsoever of the love an Australian (or anyone else in like situations) has for a Corvette when they are forced to pay exorbitant fees for the car of their choice, God Bless ’em. Come on G.M. , help ’em out,,,,,,,,PLEASE

  2. Don’t Australians still have elections? Don’t like your leaders? Vote the losers out. Why do you have protective import duty taxes when Australia has virtually no domestic auto industry left?

  3. I think if you can get an e-mail or a letter through to Tadge Juechter, Chief Engineer of the C8, mid-engine Corvette. If you haven’t seen the vlog of Jay Leno with Tadge J., you might want to, or you might want to look it up on Leno’s garage or You-Tube with both of their names. You may want to watch it again, if you’ve seen it. Australians do need more patience than perhaps anyone else because of your location on the largest island in the world with your own tectonic plate. You are not being discriminated against. The reality is that a number of business decisions are required by General Motors that fit both their direction and their model. These things are tweaked and changed all the time, as conditions present themselves. GM is committed to the idea of getting C8’s to the Australian automotive market. However, money doesn’t grow on the corporate tree and smart and astute financial decisions must be made by the company to avoid loosing its prime clients and to keep Americans satisfied. As I write this letter, I am a descendant of Italians, English and South Africans to name a few with my mother’s parents being born in Italy and my father being born in the Philippines with his father being born in South Africa. The descendants of our family also migrated to Canada, New Zeland and to Australia. So really, in the larger historical picture, I just got here. My determination to get an LT2 Corvette was about being here in the USA, but it was also about luck. Although determined and engaging in hard work practices to get the Corvette, luck combined with sticking to the task, paid off in the end. I suspect that if you are patient enough, the 2021 Corvettes may include and allocation to Australia. Perhaps the head of your country can facilitate getting that done sooner, rather than later. AF

  4. Theo I sympathize with you but if you think Mary gives a dam about her customers or her employees you are wrong you may as well write to the pope for the same results. All she cares about is her 25,000,000$ per year. GM closing US plants all over the place then they announce the new Blazer and I say yes had at least 5 of those would love another. But whoops in lost print it turns out it will not be American made but by poor underpaid slaves south of the boarder. I do hope Australia changes the right hand drive rule for all collectors benefit
    Bill

  5. There are Hundreds of Customers who have left deposits with Australian Dealers with no information and when you contact GM Execs you get a call from their Lawyers in Australia, saying you will never get a Corvette if you keep contacting them.

  6. Right hand drive, BS!! Change the moronic laws. Or move. Sounds like excessive Gov bs and intervention. It’s OK, you clowns would just hurt yourselves anyway.

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