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GM Planning Entry Level Corvette?

While GM isn't confirming anything yet, sources are claiming that an entry level Chevrolet Corvette is in the works.

At the moment, the iconic sports car's average customer is a 50-something male. GM is hoping to broaden the car's appeal with a sub- $50,000 sticker price. The less expensive model would likely make an appearance in mid to late 2015, about two years after the long awaited release of the Stingray, the first new Corvette seen in nine years.

This may be a sign that Chevy's Corvette brand is starting to think out of the box, and might capitalize from the newfound interest in the brand generated by the new Stingray. Expanding the line-up and range of appeal wouldn't be a bad thing at all.

The Corvette is celebrating it's 60th anniversary this year, and the new seventh generation C7 Stingray is attracting some serious interest, even winning the highly coveted "Best In Show" award at the 2013 Detroit International Auto Show. It also pulled in awards for "Best Curves" and "Sexiest Car." It's the first Corvette model since the 70's to carry the Stingray name. In recent decades, the car has appealed to those who remember those days with nostalgia. The company is hoping to attract a new generation of fans with the incredible power and luxury offered by the C7. An entry level model could introduce an entirely new generation to the iconic American sports car.

An entry level Corvette would have a smaller engine than the new Stingray, and fewer features. The Stingray's interior is pretty posh, in line with European luxury sports cars, and an entry level model would need to be somewhat stripped down, removing such features as automatic climate control. It would only be offered in a coupe model. It would also need to be less expensive than the Stingray. While GM still hasn't announce pricing for it, the current Corvette starts at $50,000 and gets as high as $112,000.

GM says talk about an entry level model is premature as they are focused on the launch of the Stingray.

Despite the fact that sales have dropped significantly from their 1977 peak, the Corvette reigns supreme as the only legitimate American built competitor to European brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari. When the Corvette launched in 1963, it featured state of the art technologies that not even Ferraris could match. In terms of performance, design and technology, the car typically sets a very high bar. The company has sold 1.5 million cars from it's Bowling Green, KY plant.

With all of the attention being lavished on the Stingray, GM has an opportunity to use it's halo to draw customers to the Chevy brand, benefiting both the Camaro and the upcoming SS. It also opens the door to the possibility of further Corvette models, especially an entry level version. A Corvette at a lower price point would expand the brand's reach significantly, removing cost as a barrier to entry for many. During the last nine years, the company has added more powerful and expensive versions of the Corvette. With more models in at a variety of price points, the Corvette could even possibly succeed as it's own division. The Chevrolet brand was responsible for 71 percent of GM's sales last year.

In the late 1990s, GM considered a lower cost model approach with it's fifth generation Corvette, but abandoned it. At the time, plans called for cloth seats, manual locks, and smaller wheels and tires.

By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca

 

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