• Mar 8, 2010
Chevrolet 50th Anniversary Corvette Stingray Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery

The Chevrolet Corvette is a uniquely American invention. It's the quintessential sportscar from the land that brought us baseball and apple pie. Interesting, then, that General Motors would choose to seek out design studies from its various styling studios from all around the globe, particularly those in Europe.

According to AutoWeek, though, that's just what GM's vice president of global design, Ed Welburn, did late last year when the time came for The General to start drafting proposals for the next-gen Corvette. Why would GM consider looking at European design flavors for its oh-so-American, V8-powered, rear-wheel drive sportscar? Demographics. According to Welburn, "We have challenges in the States with the Corvette. The average age of the customer is really rising."

That average age, for those keeping track, is 54 years-old (so says the Power Information Network). And it seems that the import-favoring younger generation in America isn't all that interested in the current 'Vette, a fact that has undoubtedly played a part in the Corvette's 48-percent sales decline in 2009 over the previous year.

One thing's for certain – its certainly not the Vette's all-conquering performance that's holding it back. Perception seems to be a bigger problem. "We have to develop a design that feels trimmer, meaner, to go along with the incredible performance that the car has," said Welburn, referring to the notion that many believe the current Corvette looks too big despite being roughly the same size as the benchmark Porsche 911. We might also suggest that GM needs to gag the beancounters who will undoubtedly threaten to nickel-and-dime the quality out of the next Vette's interior.

Whatever the case, Welburn knows the car can't stray too far from its heritage. "It can't mutate into something that gets so far away from Corvette that it is no longer a Corvette," he said. It seems the future may hold very interesting things for the iconic Corvette within the next two or three years. We anxiously look forward to seeing what Chevrolet manages to cook up.

[Source: AutoWeek]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      A few comments:
      (1) This is not the first time Corvette has sought European designer concepts. Past generations have had the benefits of design concepts from Italy, Germany and others which lead to the full development of gorgeous prototype vehicles.

      (2) Corvette is a pure-bred high performance sport car from the get go, not a tricked out "secretary's car."

      (3) It is the best sports car for the price - period. It eats far more expensive sport cars for lunch. Even the Corvette coupe and convertible models are street dominate fresh from the dealer. And these Vettes can be built up employing parts from many top-notch manufacturers to make virtually any Corvette the “baddest” machine around.

      (4) Both the C5 and C6 model year Corvettes are easy to drive, extremely well balanced, behave well at both low and high speed, and break well. Few other sport cars can match the all five - performance, handling, breaking, reliability and price.

      (5) In 1953, Corvette was initially priced a twice the cost of the average family sedan. Production quantities were and are controlled to maintain market demand. I believe the fall of sales in 2009 is far more the impact of the economic downturn than a lack of desire to purchase a Corvette.

      (6) Owning, driving, racing, and touring a Corvette is a dream come true. An American icon GM keeps finding ways to make better and better.

      (7) Yes we own Corvettes.

      (8) Every year we tour around the country in one of our Corvettes. I have and will continue to race the Corvette in which I drive around the country. Note not many sport cars can compete on the track and be configured for touring at the same time, and have the reliability and quality to be trusted to start up and go every time you turn the key or press the start button.

      The excellence of Corvette is cutting out market space around the world and the next generation needs to reflect multi-national design interests to attract more international customers. Let's see what another round of American and European design can come up with. It's worked in the past.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As American as Apfelstruedel and rounders.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What they need to do is get ready of all the plastic interior and exterior. I don't think I would ever buy a corvette for that matter my dream car has always been the Ford GT and I hope ford makes a super car again soon. Back to Chevy, just the name corvette is awesome, so go with it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I don't even like the GM, but I like the vette. Its the only GM I could see myself ever owning. The problem is its cost, the cost of tires, and the unseen cost of gas prices. Used and low mileage, they are actually realistic, but still not really practical.

      I think lots of young people like a corvette, but owning one is totally different. Lets not even get in to ins cost.

      I hope they don't go changing it too much because the younger crowd doesn't have 50K+ ins, + upkeep, + speeding tickets...

      I think the 30 something crowd goes used if they really want one. I know a lot of car guys who are in to used GTO's, Vetts, but they would never buy new. They just cost too much.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I hate the way the corvette looks. Its extremely vanilla for how much it costs and how fast it is, even a Z looks better, hell pretty much every coupe looks better. And I dont think Ive ever seen anyone under 50 drive one unless its some promotional car for a radio station. It needs a refresh, it hasnt had one since the 80s which is why they are having such a problem with only one generation buying it, because the design was only cool for that generation so its being sold on nostalgia.

      They dont have to go outside of america for a fresh design, they just have to go outside the company. Maybe whoever is in charge might be scared of what the dinosaurs in Detroit will do if they have control over the design so they are trying to take them out of the equation.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Corvette needs:

      1. Better interior. Especially seats. More color options would be nice also.

      2. Semi-auto/dsg trans. Why can't GM make a modern day "TH400" in semi auto form?

      3. Find a way to offer optional AWD in the next platform.

      Number one is a given and will most likely happen.
      Numbers 2 and 3 will raise the price but they should at least be offered. People will pay more for it. Number 2 will probably become standard fare for high end sports cars in a few years anyways . . .
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Corvette doesn't need AWD. It's not in the spirit of the Vette. It's supposed to be a RWD sportscar with a V8. Plus, it doesn't need the extra weight.
      • 4 Years Ago
      this reminds of the the non-american design camero which is a crazy hit right now hahaha

      things being said.. the ZR1.. is on par with the performance numbers of super car territory, but with the age old design, i think they are taking a right step in to taking design from europe, not saying its a good thing, but glad to see they are tryin somthing new
      • 4 Years Ago
      The mid-late 60's vette had that muscle car aura. Once GM decided to go supercar the die was cast. You can't have it both ways. I agree that it's evolved into a mid-life crisis halo car and no changing that any time soon. The major mistake was going german/italian supercar on the american buying public and that automatically dumps you into a narrow narrow economic segement, hence middling sales. I also agree that the current economic picture makes expensive 2 seaters unlikely to sell to the general public because the general public moved on a long long time ago and worse, they've less disposable income anyway and 300 hp cars will soon be the norm.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Whoever thinks the Corvette is too expensive has clearly never looked at the pricing of other true sportscars. The Vette's performance is also a non-issue.

      The problem with the Vette is that it (looks) too large, it's interior is a joke and it seems to not have the finesse that cars like the 911 have.

      I am no big fan of the 911, but that car was clearly built around the driver - it's level of driver feedback, it's quality and the small details it has are things that don't show up in 1/4-mile times, but they are the things that make Porsche admirers into Porsche buyers.

      I applaud GM for thinking outside the box and looking at design ideas from around the world. I just hope that they follow-through on not just picking a hot-looking car, but also investing the time and money into making the interior look expensive, but also making the car drive like it was wired to the driver's brain.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Okay, so can someone explain to me why the Corvette is so expensive?

      GM builds a CTS-V, with 550 HP, a high end interior and killer handling, which is fast and comfortable...and prices it comparable to the base Corvette...which offers a great deal less in terms of value.

      Hell, take a CTS-V chassis, shorten it a bit, slap a sexy, Corvette-styled body on it, add the front half of a CTS interior, and you've upgraded the Corvette immeasurably, without necessarily raising the cost much at all. (Yeah, there's the CTS coupe, but hey...I'm just sayin'...)

      (And the first person who mentions the XL-R gets thumped, since IT was a *Corvette* chassis with a truly ugly Cadillac body...and cost eighty-five large.)

      GM is playing the sucker game...the Corvette is a huge moneymaker as it is...and adding interior and drivetrain upgrades would cut into the current design's profitability. It's likely the Corvette could be sold easily for several thousand dollars less than it's current MSRP, and still make a healthy profit. The Corvette is ALL about money.

      I like Corvettes. In terms of fun, they still rank right up there, for me. But when you start talking value and price points, the Corvette, as it sits, is little more than a con to make money for GM, and far too expensive to take seriously. A new Mustang GT is gonna be reasonably close to base Corvette performance, and cost about 2/3 of the price, and no one will argue that a GT500, costing a bit more than a base Corvette, is far superior to it.

      (And no, I don't care at all about the weird looking 370Z, or whatever RX- number Mazda builds that you fanboys are pushing, this week.)

      You'll notice GM hasn't run a base Corvette around the 'Ring, either. I'm thinking we'd be talking something like Cobalt SS times, not CTS-V times.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I agree that the Corvette is getting too expensive. In terms of performance, however, the GT500 is far inferior to even the base Vette. The Vette weighs at least 600 pounds less than the Shelby. Yes, GM sucks at steering feel and as a result the Corvette feels heavier than it really is. However, given equally skilled drivers, there is no way a 2010 GT500 will keep up with a base Corvette at the track. Straight line, perhaps. I doubt the 2011 GT500 will be able to hang with a base Corvette either.

        GT500 interior is definitely better than the Vette. Sync is great. Exterior styling is subjective.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The current look is not dated, so no need to be changed. According to me
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just redesign the front, and it's a go.
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