GM looks for inspiration overseas for new Corvette
For the first time, General Motors studios across the world have submitted design studies for the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette.
Late last year, Ed Welburn, GM’s vice president of global design, invited GM’s 10 styling studios to submit design proposals. There is still no official model that will become the new Corvette from Chevy, but there is one concept that offers a lot of hints: the Corvette Stingray Concept (see photo gallery a bit lower).
“Some were absolutely phenomenal. There is a lot to pick from. The direction that we take is very important, and the decision has not been made. We have challenges in the States with the Corvette, the average age of the customer is really rising.”
said Welburn, GM’s vice president of global design.
Global input on the Corvette’s design is one of several steps GM is taking to attract buyers in Europe, where the car has little appeal, and young U.S. buyers who favour imports.
The current average age of a Corvette buyer is 54, according to the Power Information Network, a unit of J.D. Power and Associates. Corvette sales are in a tailspin. Last year 13,934 were sold in the United States, down 48 percent from 2008.The current Corvette debuted in the 2005 model year. Prices range from $49,880 for the base coupe to $107,830 for the ZR-1. Both prices include shipping.
Welburn admitted the interior has a problem:
“The execution, materials selection–it’s got to be a much better interior. Our customers desire that.”
In addition to styling, content, pricing and marketing strategy are under discussion, he said.
Welburn added in an interview at the Geneve Motor Show:
“It is a key time in the development of the Corvette. There is a lot of debate and a lot of study on the bandwidth of Corvette.(On the other hand, he added) It can’t mutate into something that gets so far away from Corvette that it is no longer a Corvette.”