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.