A Corvette Conceptualized

“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.” by Jeremy Korzeniewski

So I came across this article on Autoblog about how GM is looking to European design studios to design the next generation Corvette. The article talks about how statistically the average age of Corvette buyers has gone up to 54 years of age. It also emphasizes that people think the Corvette is a “big” car compared to its target competitor, the Porsche 911. They say that the design needs to display the power that is under the hood, and currently, it just isn’t doing that.

Well…here is what I think.  The average age of the buyer is rising because those who can truly afford a Corvette, would be those people who are 54 and above. Seriously, it’s a $48,930 base price car! And who really gets the base model? Not to mention, it’s not a practical family vehicle, so there would be no actual need for a younger buyer to purchase a Corvette. Although I would if I could. I’m single and 21, but I’m a poor college kid who is a car freak.

In regards to the size…the wheel base is the only thing larger on the Corvette than the Porsche. (unless, the Corvette is counting mirrors into the overall width, which Porsche is not. See what I mean by clicking on these links. Porsche 911Corvette) In either case, this is no excuse. Why people think the Corvette is bigger than a Porsche is beyond me.

Finally, I think that if they want to display in design what is under the hood, than they need to do something radical to the Corvette. Similar to what was done in 1963 when they came out with the “Stingray.” Now, what I am about to purpose to you however might shock you, but hear me out.

They need to make the Corvette mid engine.

No, I am not anti American, and please don’t call me a Corvette hater, or some radical against American car ingenuity. Seriously. If GM is going to European design studios to come up with a fresh new design to capture the true performance of the car, then why not just take a simple European hint, leave, and tweak it the way we Americans would like it? Do what we do best…and innovate!

The Audi R8, Ferrari 458 Italia, and Lamborghini Murcielago, are all iconic European mid engine cars. For goodness sake, the Porsche 911 is a rear engine car! And that’s their target competitor? Take that and run with it.

As far as design, yeah, they need to go with a radical new look…and a mid engine design would be perfect to resurrect a new style of “Stingray.” The use of a back window on a mid engine Vette would be little to none, which would provide perfect styling elements to create a “split window” as they did in 1963. That was a bold and radical design which no one saw the Corvette going and it produced some of the most iconic Corvettes that are still highly regarded to this day. I just wish GM would think outside the box and go for it today.

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