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GM takes global approach for next Chevrolet Corvette

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GM takes global approach for next Chevrolet Corvette

03/08/2010, 9:52 AMBY DREW JOHNSON

The Chevrolet Corvette has held the title of “America’s sportscar” for more than six decades now, but General Motors is going global for the design of the next-generation two-seater. GM has requested Corvette design studies from 10 of its global design studios.

Although the Detroit automaker has yet to make a decision on the design direction of the next Vette, it is considering several global design studies. Ed Welburn, GM’s head of global design, offered the challenge to 10 of GM’s design studios last year.

While the Corvette will always be America’s sportscar, GM is looking to give the next iteration of the performance machine a bigger global presence – particularly in Europe. The Corvette has never really taken hold in Europe – despite outperforming cars twice its price – but Welburn is hopefully the redesign will make the Corvette more attractive to European buyers.

The redesign – which is expected within the next two to three years – will also be important for the U.S. market. Corvette sales have dropped off 48 percent in the United States since 2008, with the average age of a Corvette buyer ballooning to 54 years.

“We have challenges in the States with the Corvette,” Welburn said. “The average age of the customer is really rising.”

Although the next Corvette will be the most global version of the sportscar yet, don’t expect the American icon to lose sight of its roots. “It can’t mutate into something that gets so far away from Corvette that it is no longer a Corvette,” Welburn added. Welburn failed to detail any design studies currently on the table, but did say the next Corvette would feature a much improved interior.

link:

http://www.leftlanenews.com/gm-takes-global-approach-for-next-chevrolet-corvette.html

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GM Drawing On Global Designers For C7 Chevrolet Corvette

The next-generation C7 Chevrolet Corvette may feature a design penned in Europe or China or anywhere else in the world General Motors has a design studio, according to one of the automaker’s top execs.

That’s the word from GM's vice president of global design, Ed Welburn, who revealed to Automotive News that the automaker’s design studios from across the world have submitted design studies for the C7 Corvette, which is expected to bow in around late 2012.

More than ten design studies have been submitted, some of which have been described by Welburn as “absolutely phenomenal”.

This is the first time that input from designers outside the U.S. is being taken seriously by GM. The reasoning is that a more international flavor will enable the new Corvette to sell better in Europe and attract younger buyers here in the U.S. who typically favor imports.

"We have challenges in the States with the Corvette," Welburn explained. "The average age of the customer is really rising." According to J.D. Power and Associates, the current average age of a Corvette buyer is 54 and sales of the model last year are down 48 percent from 2008 levels.

Some key areas Welburn hopes to address with the new design is the Corvette’s proportions, which he wants to make smaller and more aggressive, as well as its interior, which in the current model is universally slammed for poor quality.

One thing we do know is that the C7 Chevrolet Corvette will get a split rear window along with some other vintage styling cues--expect some influences from the 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept pictured above.

As for its powertrain, click here for our previous report and included computer-generated preview rendering.

link:

http://www.motorauthority.com/blog/1043197_gm-drawing-on-global-designers-for-c7-chevrolet-corvette

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As usual, the debate as to whether the Corvette should follow an evolutionary or revolutionary path will heat up. :)

Personally I am torn, as I see merit in both sides of the argument.

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Because of this:

Corvette sales have dropped off 48 percent in the United States since 2008, with the average age of a Corvette buyer ballooning to 54 years.

Go global or die. It's not enough just to be a 'fan' of the car, verbalizing from the sidewalk how pretty it looks on the street. For as much as they have done for the car in the last few years with regard to the higher-performance profile and model line, what else has to be done to get people into the car? I suppose the answer might just have to be more buyers from places outside of North America. Of course, as stated, the challenge there is to make the car actually appealing to more than just North Americans.

Edited by ShadowDog
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"We have challenges in the States with the Corvette," Welburn explained. "The average age of the customer is really rising." According to J.D. Power and Associates, the current average age of a Corvette buyer is 54 and sales of the model last year are down 48 percent from 2008 levels.

Because the Corvette is starting to stray from its original Mantra. It had limited accesories and came almost fully loaded. Now start ticking the box and the price jumps almost 33% of the base by the time you have loaded the car. I have never seen Corvettes do that in previous models. Tiering of the Corvette models into different trim levels is not good. Plus add to it the economy is in the crapper.

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Because of this:

Go global or die. It's not enough just to be a 'fan' of the car, verbalizing from the sidewalk how pretty it looks on the street. For as much as they have done for the car in the last few years with regard to the higher-performance profile and model line, what else has to be done to get people into the car? I suppose the answer might just have to be more buyers from places outside of North America. Of course, as stated, the challenge there is to make the car actually appealing to more than just North Americans.

exactly. corvette needs to be of world appeal. that doesn't mean it has to radically change a lot. but styling wise it needs to grow up. the current and forever styling themes are getting tired. the car needs to be a little smaller and has to give off a more mature yet still badass image at the same time. i am really tired of the huge flared fender thing. the next vette needs more of a pure shape that doesn't need to be be so ribbed.

just if the car had a real interior with real sport seats that would help tremendously.

the base every man's version of the car also has to be attainable by a certain group of regular folks.

i would not be opposed to a version of the corvette with a v6, if they feel they need to. although i would like a twin turbo 6, not necessarily as a base engine. i still think a well performing v8 is the identity of the car for the majority of versions sold.

corvette and its fan base need to branch out a bit. the corvette despite its true excellence is reaching geyser status and trailer park image.

the recent vette concepts i have seen quite honest look stupid to me.

they'll prob need to look at 8 speed automatics and such as well.......in 5 years, a six speed will be a tish draconian for cars of this ilk.

Edited by regfootball
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Report: GM scouring the globe for next Corvette design, first time looking beyond U.S.

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.

link:

http://www.autoblog.com/2010/03/08/report-gm-scouring-the-globe-for-next-corvette-first-time-look/

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54 years old is getting near Lexus buyer age. And the big decline in sales is part economy, but losing half your sales can't be blamed only on the economy. The Corvette has the noticeable problems of being too wide, having plastic body panels and a cheap interior, build quality obviously hurts it. But I think the biggest problem is price. There are a lot of good sports cars for $30k, they aren't as fast as the Vette, but they are fun to drive cars. GM tried to push the Corvette up to go against the 911, R8, Vantage, etc, but at the end of the day, it's a Chevy, not a Porsche. No matter how fast the ZR1 is, it is still a Chevy, not an Aston Martin, or Lamborghini or Ferrari. The solution to the Corvette is not more power or more performance, it is lowing price, which means getting rid of the Z06 and ZR1. They have to get the Corvette back to a $40-60,000 car, right now it is too expensive for most people to consider, especially when the Camaro, Mustang, 370Z, etc are $20,000 less.

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what other age can really afford a Corvette? It's not exactly a family car. By 54, the kids are starting to leave the nest.

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No Suprise here as Chevy and GM is on a global approch to almost all their vehicles.

As markets become more competitive, car companies will have the need to be more focused and profitable on a world market vs building 141 cars for 20 markets.

The life of the Vette needs and will depend on a world market for it remaining profitable. Most sports cars are now sold in a world market and few focus on one market. To keep the price of the Vette down volumes need to remain up. In a stagnet economy the more markets a car is sold in the stonger it will remain.

Lets face it the Vette has a world following. There are many people who spend a lot of money to own one overseas and many more who would if they could afford it. The Vette now has world class performance on several levels and still needs to retain some of it's identity as the present car is a very good car just needing a interior and some weight loss.

There is a large gap in sports cars between the Miata and 911. The Cayman and Boxster are about the only real competitors as the Asian cars just have never caught on. The Vette can and should own this market.

The car needs to remain front engine and V8. AWD is only going to add to the weight and price while eating power. Who cares if it has 8 gears many people would love to have less as long as it is still able to be shifted by them selves with a clutch.

I would like to see a few things added to make the car exciting like the 84 was over the 82 or the 68 over the 67. A car that looks like a Vette but makes some really cool changes.

If GM can find a way to sell the Aveo in large numbers to a world market they should have no issue selling the Vette world wide.

No matter what GM does half will love the changes and half will hate it with most warming up to it over time. Vette owners often hate change.

As for sales drops. The Vette usally drops each year after a new C model arrives since the C4. With the economy down it is a suprise sales are this good.

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54 years old is getting near Lexus buyer age. And the big decline in sales is part economy, but losing half your sales can't be blamed only on the economy. The Corvette has the noticeable problems of being too wide, having plastic body panels and a cheap interior, build quality obviously hurts it. But I think the biggest problem is price. There are a lot of good sports cars for $30k, they aren't as fast as the Vette, but they are fun to drive cars. GM tried to push the Corvette up to go against the 911, R8, Vantage, etc, but at the end of the day, it's a Chevy, not a Porsche. No matter how fast the ZR1 is, it is still a Chevy, not an Aston Martin, or Lamborghini or Ferrari. The solution to the Corvette is not more power or more performance, it is lowing price, which means getting rid of the Z06 and ZR1. They have to get the Corvette back to a $40-60,000 car, right now it is too expensive for most people to consider, especially when the Camaro, Mustang, 370Z, etc are $20,000 less.

Average age of 911 buyers is 55 years and for boxter it is 51 years. What is your point?

Your argument can also be made for it just a Nissan GTR. As for the Z-06 and Z-R1, they are money machines and pure profits. Getting rid of them is like committing financial suicide.

More than anything it IS the economy which is playing part on Corvette sales. Most of the buyers are upper middleclass males with small businesses or upper-middle managerial positions. Both of which have been hurt by economy.

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As for sales drops. The Vette usally drops each year after a new C model arrives since the C4. With the economy down it is a suprise sales are this good.

And keep in mind the current car is in it's 6th year. Still looks great, IMHO. Sales are going to no doubt drop that far into a cycle..there have been additional models added (Z06, ZR1, Grand Sport) and some engine upgrades, but the '10 still looks much the same inside and out as the '05.

The C5 had an 8 year run, so on that schedule, can we expect a C7 for MY '13 or later?

Another demographic footnote---82% of buyers are between ages of 40 and 69 (median age being 53).

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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And keep in mind the current car is in it's 6th year. Still looks great, IMHO. Sales are going to no doubt drop that far into a cycle..there have been additional models added (Z06, ZR1, Grand Sport) and some engine upgrades, but the '10 still looks much the same inside and out as the '05.

The C5 had an 8 year run, so on that schedule, can we expect a C7 for MY '13 or later?

Another demographic footnote---82% of buyers are between ages of 40 and 69 (median age being 53).

Cost is only one factor in price. The other in insurace is an issue for most that are younger. I could afford a Vette in my 20's but I was not going to pay that kind of money for insurance with a good driving record.

Though I do wish I had traded for the 427 68 Vette I was offered at one time for my Chevelle SS. It needed little work and would be worth a lot right now.

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nothing but good things can come from an approach that is open to design ideas from all corners of the world. i do think it is time for a retinkering of the vette formula/strategy, because of what it has evolved into in base form and what other carmakers are offering.

the 350z is pretty close to the corvette level of performance, in base form, and offers higher levels of interior refinement than vette. i think if chevy took to the strategy the 350z and gt-r combined give nissan, they could have a sports car for the masses and a technological powerhouse sports coupe for those invested in ultimate performance and technology.

the fundamental thing that needs to shift imo is the design concept for vette. i think the bubble pod look has gotten too low slung, too spaceship like. i think it needs to evolve away from that and become more upright like the 64 corvette. i think the corvette overall strives to be too much like a ferrari or lambo, in exotic flavor, and i think that a change would be good. a change might even open corvette to appeal to a lot more people.

corvette used to be beautiful without having the shark look, that's really where i'd like to see it return to. i think the forty years we've had of the shark formula is enough.

the interior design and materials are substandard. but other than that, vette performance is pretty great, although if it's going to be a technological powerhouse and compete against the 911, it should strive to be a better driver's car, for the model that goes against 911.

i would like to see vette span two levels. a base [twin turbo?] v6 for $38k. no frills, not too much in the way of tech equipment standard, but gorgeous to look at, a well designed interior, and really great performance/handling. something to compete with the 350z and open up the vette's market base a lot, bringing it to compete with a lot more makes and models.

the z06 would bring a V8 into the equation. something with over 500 hp in N/A mode. a direct injection and vvt version of the current LS6. the Z06 would feature magnesium and aluminum components, maybe a redesigned front suspension like the lacrosse does for enhanced driving characteristics. this car should be more performance focused but still liveable. this would base around $60k.

they could still intro a version above this with a supercharged or dual turbo v8 doing 600 hp, like the ZR1....but that would be later in life, and with weight loss, possibly not necessary.

based on that prescription, doesn't that make vette a whole lot more desirable? i think i just created a full-proof business plan. this vette could sell some 40-50k sales a year.

64red1.jpg

To me this is the best Vette ever. There are all kinds of great vettes, and I want to say I'm not trying to sound too much like I'm knocking the current flavor too much, I've loved the C5, C6, C4, and C3 all at different times for different reasons, they're all great. I think though the time is right for a departure. I think we could give the vette a little more relaxed appeal for a while. there is angling and surfacing they could change that would affect how smooth and relaxed the character of the car ultimately is......there is room for aggression.....but please not too much, let's have a casual vette that is handsome and cool and epitomizes solidarity and mystique as opposed to the cartoonish appeal and sensually curved current look.

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this is a good benchmark for the interior imo

epcp_1001_14_o+2010_porsche_911_turbo+interior_shot.jpg

this is also a good reference

2010-bmw-z4.jpg

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this is a good benchmark for the interior imo

That looks about as appealing to me as:

feature_explosion-747.jpg

I'm fine with the current dashboards, just give it some decent materials.

I don't normally care about the GM critics on dashboards... I like GMs stuff, but I will admit the Corvette dash has not been on par with the market.

That said, blatantly copying the Germans is not how to become class leading.

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Perception being a strong influence on how a Corvette performs market-wise, there are a few things that aren't so subtle that may be worth revising:

1) Interior quality is unanimous

2) Exterior differentiation between base and hi-po models somewhat similar to what Camaro has previously done with the RS / SS models

3) Good handling characteristics have been well proven; however, the perception of things like transverse-mounted, leaf-sprung suspensions over many years doesn't exactly exude overall refinement to 'everyone'

4) Price-point has been brought up; however, given the level of performance, two-tier pricing can be established so that the Corvette can compete in value with the lower-level sports car market (Miata, etc.) and have the upper-level performance car market entry somewhere similar to the existing Z06-to-ZR1 component-wise

All aspects, models and variations to incorporate a substantially revised and quality-driven interior and build to appeal to the global market overall.

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That said, blatantly copying the Germans is not how to become class leading.

That may not be necessary, since it's probably not too difficult to better this:

09123191990008-480.jpg

Quite vanilla-plain-jane-truckish if I may be so bold to suggest.

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Look at the interior of the Corvette, and ask yourself is this a $50-60,000 car? I still see the problem as price point. The Corvette used to be a more affordable car, but then they jumped it up in price. I think the Vette is better off in the $45-60k range where they can offer a lot of performance per dollar and not have to worry about the bad interior and Chevy nameplate. If GM wants a super car, do the Cadillac Cien and go after the R8, Ferrari, and DB9.

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Cost is only one factor in price. The other in insurace is an issue for most that are younger. I could afford a Vette in my 20's but I was not going to pay that kind of money for insurance with a good driving record.

Though I do wish I had traded for the 427 68 Vette I was offered at one time for my Chevelle SS. It needed little work and would be worth a lot right now.

Actually the insurance for my 2002 Z-06 was cheaper than the one I pay for the 2005 BMW 330i.

You are right, if you have a ticket, forget owning one.

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what other age can really afford a Corvette? It's not exactly a family car. By 54, the kids are starting to leave the nest.

54 year olds aren't buying the Nissan GT-R, their buyers are likely quite a bit younger

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Look at the interior of the Corvette, and ask yourself is this a $50-60,000 car? I still see the problem as price point. The Corvette used to be a more affordable car, but then they jumped it up in price. I think the Vette is better off in the $45-60k range where they can offer a lot of performance per dollar and not have to worry about the bad interior and Chevy nameplate. If GM wants a super car, do the Cadillac Cien and go after the R8, Ferrari, and DB9.

truth is vettes also get huge incentives these days. GM is building at least 10 grand of fluff in the MSRP on these things. If their real value was closer to the MSRP, then the MSRP's may be in the line you suggest.

IMO, its not asking too much to price a base corvette in around the 43 range and to get about 40-43 for that from a consumer. But that Vette should have a better interior. I would then option them so as most of the vettes sold were in the 45-50 range OTD.

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WTH is going on in here ??

OP references opening up C7 Corvette design to ALL GM design centers, internationally, and on the bell; everyone rushes in with a fluttering laundry list of Corvette problems, most of them not problems at all.

The Corvette is just about the only car in it's segment where I have read ready opinion that sales volume is primary and needs to be 'fixed'- have read zero on that topic WRT the 350Z/370Z, any ferrari, any lamborghini, the gt-r, or any of the other same/similar-segment vehicles.

'Expand the lineup', 'make it cheaper', 'make one of the lightest cars in it's class even lighter', '40 yrs of iconic, much-copied styling is enough', 'engineer a twin-turbo V6 to develop the same HP/TRQ as the existing V-8' :lol: --> 'the rear suspension is not perceived as hi-tech enough cause it's different' .... anyone up for a 4-dr version while we're killing one of the few inarguable gems of the road dead ??

I looked one over in the showroom last month. Yes- interior can use a LaCrosse / CTS flash/quality redux. Options should be re-examined. Givens. But everything else is already top-shelf. The series sub-packages are fantastic, the design is already global via worldwide exposure (certainly it's more efficient/cohesive than the long-nosed ferraris). Who gives a sh!t other than the bean-counters how many are sold ?? Corvette numbers have fluctuated greatly thru it's history- it's here to stay regardless, already proven. Bumping volumes to -say- 60,000 would be insanely hurtful to the line.

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This global styling approach is what could hurt the Corvette most, the problem isn't really styling. The Corvette has to look American, if it looks Asian or European it won't sell. I think $60-100,000 is a lot for a Chevy with a horrible interior, so I am with reg that the $43-50k range is where the Corvette needs to be. Then the bad interior won't hurt as much, because the Vette will never have a CTS-level interior, and that is what they need if they want to go against the 911, Vantage and R8.

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