Chevrolet began delivering its Corvette Stingray in earnest last month, and some interesting early trends are developing. Unsurprisingly, Chevy spokesman Monte Doran tells Autoblog that essentially 100-percent of all early customer orders have been placed by the Corvette faithful – that is, buyers that already have another Crossed Flags keychain in their pockets.
Given that the early adopters are disproportionately enthusiast buyers (even among sports car enthusiasts), it's no surprise that the cars being ordered have a high option count. Some 38 percent of Corvettes built so far have been equipped with the brand-new, 7-speed manual gearbox. That may sound like a low percentage to the uninitiated, but it's actually the highest three-pedal percentage of any car in General Motors' stable – well above the company's low-30s estimate for the Camaro, for instance.
In addition, 75 percent of all orders thus far have specified the Z51 Performance Package, which includes features like dry-sump lubrication, electronic limited-slip differential, auxiliary coolers for the brakes, transmission and differential, along with larger brakes and some additional touches. Of those Z51 buyers, 54 percent have also selected the company's excellent optional magnetic ride suspension system.
GM expects for the high option levels of new Corvette orders to taper off as hardcore enthusiasts get their cars, and it also expects for the percentage of manual transmission orders to shrink over time, with more people selecting the six-speed paddle-shift automatic. Doran notes, "As the first orders get out of the system and it starts settling down, what you'll see is that the take rates on the performance options will go down and stabilize." Doran cites the launch of the fifth-generation Camaro as an example, wherein a disproportionate number of early orders were equipped with V8 engines and high option counts.
Last month, Chevy delivered 485 Stingrays to customers.