Beyond the C7 Corvette

So just where is this iconic sports car headed?

So the replacement for the Corvette C7, the C8, is going mid-engine; and as such, has some Vette fans throwing a hissy fit. Historically the Corvette has sometimes been referred to as the aspirational sports car for the "successful plumber." That's not to disparage plumbers in any way, but it definitely has blue-collar roots and appeal. Some may prefer it being described as "All-American", or "Middle Class", meaning within the reach of many if not most pocketbooks, and certainly not an "elitist" sports car. Okay, I can buy any of those descriptions. Many worry that this new-fangled Vette will be priced out of the reach of traditional buyers, claiming it will start in the 6-figure range, whereas the current C7 starts just south of $60K.

Besides the change to a mid-engine layout, there are rumors of a 32-valve DOHC V8, and maybe even ditching the traditional and "Oh-so-American" OHV 6.2L Chevy V8. Not only that, but there may be a hybrid version offered down the road — maybe even AWD!

So they're not happy. They point to the Viper. It eventually ended up costing over $100,000, and as a result, lost buyers and is now gone. C8 critics claim the same fate awaits this new model. Are they right?

The latest I've heard is that the C7 will sell along side of the C8 for a while, thus hopefully easing the transition to this radical new model. If true, I think that's a good idea.

All this brings up a bigger question as to where the Corvette is headed, as in C9 and beyond? There's no question the average age of Corvette buyers is north of 60 years. That's a problem. At some point these "gearhead geezers" aren't going to be around, or will be just too old to climb into a low-slung sports car. Soooo... GM has some hard decisions to make in terms of bringing new (and younger) buyers.

What about the Corvette as a stand-alone brand?
A mid-engine Corvette has been rumored for decades. Now it's going to happen. Also rumored — or at least (quietly) discussed is the possibility of the Corvette becoming a brand unto itself; ditch the "Chevrolet" association. This is not a new idea, but perhaps it should be revisited again.

The Corvette as a stand-alone brand does offer some pluses, especially if there is a range of models at different price points. The mid-engine C8 model would be the premium model, keep a RWD C7-like model as a mid price model, and perhaps even offer a smaller V6 or turbo 4-cylinder model. Is there anybody here young enough to remember the small mid-engine Corvair Monza GT concept from the early 1960s? Something like that could be a great entry-level Vette for those with a challenged wallet.

Also shedding the Chevy parentage would allow for other GM, but non-Chevy dealers, to sell the Corvette brand. Plus there would be no need to offer a Cadillac spin-off, as Caddy dealers could sell Vettes should they choose.

As to those who worry what would happen to Chevy, should they lose the marque Corvette? They still would have the sporty Camaro a model that perhaps better fits the brand image.

Thoughts anyone?

Related Video:

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