I’ve been thinking about the C8 Corvette market a lot lately and how nothing is normal when compared to previous generations. We are now well within the second model year, and instead of demand decreasing, the market feels tighter than ever. For those of you who have sworn never to pay more than MSRP for a new Corvette, it might be time to drop those preconceived notions of waiting until the model is discounted and just pony up to the fact that you might have to “pay to play” now instead of waiting and then having to pay more later.
To present my case, here are five reasons why you should buy a pre-owned C8 Corvette now, even if it means paying over the Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP).
1. Dealers Will Remain Sold Out Through 2021 and Into 2022.
Let’s face it, ordering a new Corvette has become a crapshoot. Dealers don’t have any idea of how many total Corvettes they are getting for 2021 as Chevy has been doling out the allocations in just three-month intervals. So most dealers are oversold and sadly, most don’t even know it. While this allocation squeeze has traditionally affected mostly smaller dealers whose allocations are minimal, we believe that demand for the car from even the national volume sellers has reached a tipping point. If GM isn’t telling dealers how many cars they can expect for the model year, then you can’t expect to know exactly where you are in relation to how many people are ahead of you vs how many Corvettes that dealer will get to sell. We continue to hear about customers who “placed an order” for a C8 Corvette all the way back in 2019, and many are still waiting to this day for their number to come up.
2. A Price Increase Is Already On the Way
We know that Chevy set the base price of the 2020 Corvette at $59,995 to impress the skeptics that GM could build an affordable and attainable mid-engine sports cars cheaper than anyone thought possible. We also look back to the C7 Corvette in which the base prices were raised nearly $5,000 by the end of its second year. We expected a price increase for the 2021 model year but because of COVID, GM opted to price protect all those customers who had an initial order placed for a 2020 model before they were bumped to 2021. And even though the price levels were protected for the major Trim Packages (1LT, 2LT, 3LT) in 2021, we still saw GM raise the prices on specific options anyway. For 2022, it’s widely expected that all the Trim groups will see their prices increased and we expect that a number of individual options could be raised as well. Finally, one other way to raise prices and cover costs would be for GM to raise the price on the mandatory $1,095 shipping fee that is charged on every single Corvette. Again, that something that was done early in the C7 generation. GM’s delay in raising prices until 2022 is going to make the price increase seem even greater than the gradual increase we had expected for 2021 as GM attempts to make up for that lost revenue while the demand for the car remains high.
3. New Model Rollouts Will Increase the Demand for All Models
It’s widely expected that the Z06 Corvette will be arriving fairly soon, either later this year or early next year is the general consensus. Once that happens, we’ll obviously see the same kind of high drama playing out of supply and demand for the upper level sports car. Chevrolet changed their ordering procedures a few years back so that an allocation is not specified for Coupe or Convertible and it won’t be specified for the Stingray vs Z06. With at least one-third of all orders likely going to the Z06 (and maybe higher based on size and scope of dealers with dedicated Z06 lists), you will see both dealers and Chevy giving preference to Z06 orders because of the larger price points. Those still waiting for a Stingray may have to wait even longer because of that prioritization and increased competition for that allocation.
We are also dealing with the fact that the C8 Corvette will most likely be the most exported Corvette in the history of the car. Already we have seen the number of sales to Canada and Mexico increase substantially and the new Right Hand Drive model has caused a buying frenzy in countries like Japan, Australia, and the U.K. that didn’t exist before. More than ever before, American buyers will be competing with foreign markets for the opportunity to purchase a new Corvette.
4. Plant Closures and Supply Chain Issues Are Not Going Away.
We’ve seen the devastating effect that COVID has had on the automotive manufacturing landscape and things aren’t going to turn around quickly anytime soon. The Corvette Assembly Plant just went through two weeks of downtime due to issues with the supply chain. That two weeks of downtime translates into another 1,800 Corvettes that weren’t built and they probably won’t be made up before the end of the model year changeover, whenever that happens. Currently, there is a global shortage of microchips used in automotive manufacturing and industry sources say that shortage could affect production through the year 2022.
5. The Supply of Pre-Owned C8 Corvettes Continues to Grow as Sellers Can Still Get More Than MSRP
Traditionally, we’ve seen the ability of owners to flip their new Corvette for a profit decrease as more and more new Corvettes are produced. But these aren’t normal times and sellers are continuing to get more for their Corvettes than what they paid for them, even as we are well into the second model year of the run. Sample searches of a number of websites show the number of pre-owned C8 Corvettes has ballooned. A search of Autotrader this morning reveals a total of 737 results on a nationwide search of 2020-2021 Corvettes. With that kind of quantity available, the seller’s market is quickly becoming a buyers market in terms of availability and selection.
Now, as much as I am of the belief that smart shoppers should only pay MSRP for a Corvette and not a penny more, these again are not normal times. Ask any new C8 Corvette owner if they believe their Corvette is worth more than what they paid for it. Overwhelming you will hear a YES to that question. Ask any C8 Corvette owner who paid more than MSRP for their car if they regret it, and I bet the answer will be an overwhelming NO. Those that have their C8s are out enjoying the hell out of them right now while the rest of us are only wondering where our place in line is and if our number will ever be called.
While I’m not advocating spending significantly over MSRP, there are plenty of low-mileage C8 Corvettes offered in the $5,000-$10,000 range over MSRP where you can get the car you want and still feel good about the price paid for it. There aren’t conventional times, so don’t let conventional wisdom stop you from enjoying the most technologically advanced Corvette ever made.
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