The Corvette faithful and the media gathered at the 2020 Corvette Stingray’s unveiling were shocked when GM President Mark Reuss told the assembled crowd that the C8 would start at less than $60,000.
Corvette has long been a performance bargain, with the C5 really starting the trend of delivering excellent handling and world-beating performance for the price of a decked-out pickup truck. But a mid-engine car sporting nearly 500 horsepower and a price tag under $60,000 seemed just too good to be true.
It is, according to Motor Trend, which cited a source within General Motors. Chevrolet is poised to lose money on each budget-priced C8 because the eighth-generation Corvette development was based on the Stingray having an MSRP of $79,995.
Aside from the LT2 engine, which uses quite a bit of the LT1 as a foundation, almost everything on the C8 Corvette is new. We’d assume that there was nothing to carry over on the chassis, considering the monumental switch to mid-engine, and the suspension ditched transverse leaf springs for coilovers. There was also the cost of Tremec developing the eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle, the first time a production Corvette has used a true transaxle rather than a differential bolted to a short transmission, which has been the case since the C5 debuted for 1997. All told, we can imagine that the development for the C8 was the costliest to date.
Of course, we’d also argue it’s not fair to say that Chevrolet loses money on every C8 that sells for less than $80K because a healthy profit had to already be baked into that price. Profit-wise, we’re sure GM would rather sell a $68K Denali than a $68K Corvette, but if pre-orders are any indication, Chevrolet is also poised to sell C8s as quickly as it can build them, and options add up quickly. Motor Trend noted that the Z51 Stingray it tested was kitted up to more than $83,000. The Bowling Green assembly plant that churns out Corvettes has already added another shift to help keep up with the demand.
The real story here is that Corvette, just like it has been for most of its existence, is still a ton of car for the money. But don’t expect its $60,000 base price to last too long.