Corvette sub-brand and SUV on the horizon?

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Thanks to the astute engineering and fetching design GM invested in the long-awaited, mid-engine, eighth-generation Corvette, it has become the automaker’s hottest property. New Stingrays are sold out. Used C8s command over-sticker prices. For a spot on the 670-horsepower Z06’s waiting list, passionate fans are begging dealers.

Credible rumors and top management projections point to even more excitement on the horizon. Half-a-dozen additions to the C8 family before the clock strikes 2030 will rouse unprecedented interest in America’s only sports car. GM President Mark Reuss recently mentioned two new editions without providing much detail. He differentiated them by referring to one as “electrified” and the other as “full electric” while touting GM’s goal of adding 30 new BEVs to its roster by 2025.

E-Ray

Some of this should sound familiar, especially if you read my deep-dive article from last May on the future Corvettes. “Electrified” is code for the Corvette E-Ray hybrid due in a year or so. A battery pack inside the Stingray’s hollow center spine, coupled with a 100-horsepower AC drive motor propelling each front wheel and a motor-generator within the eight-speed dual-clutch transaxle will provide improved performance and slippery road poise. Critically, it will also add the ability to drive into European urban centers that prohibit tailpipe emissions. While the 495-horsepower LT2 V-8 is the most likely engine to be tapped for the E-Ray, there’s nothing stopping GM from also adding a 670-horsepower LT6 version to the Corvette lineup for those with a thirst for additional speed.

Corvette E-Ray camo front three-quarter track
CarPix

Corvette EV

While Reuss won’t expound on any details concerning the “full-electric” Corvette(s) heading our way, we and others have been busy speculating and poking around for answers. The first most likely possibility is a five-door hatchback BEV constructed atop the company’s Ultium skateboard platform. The role model here is the Porsche Taycan Sport Turismo. If the GMC Hummer is the platinum brick in GM’s BEV family, this as-yet-unnamed all-electric Corvette will be the company’s .50-caliber bullet. GM designers will have their work cut out combining sleekness and reasonable rear-seat access with a credible exterior appearance.

ZR1

To balance out all of these dancing electrons, the coming Corvette ZR1 will be powered by a 5.5-liter LT7 V-8 consisting of the Z06’s LT6 engine augmented by two turbochargers. Expect a monstrous 850 horsepower, 825-850 lb-ft of torque, and enough raw speed to make Ferrari engineers weep. While this Corvette’s timing is unknown, we’d expect it to serve as the meat in the coming BEV sandwich. Pencil the ZR1 in on your 2025 calendar.

GM

Corvette crossover

To continue Corvette’s growth spurt, there are rumblings (from Car and Driver, among others) that a larger BEV crossover will bow later in the decade under a more formalized sub-brand. Imagine a fully electric Porsche Macan or Cayenne. This brief for this vehicle: ample room and comfort for five adults with sufficient cargo space to support cross-country voyages. GM’s hope, one imagines, is that America will be outfitted with conveniently spaced fast charging stations by the time this Corvette SUV hits our highways.

Zora

To close out the eighth-generation Corvette’s lifetime, a remarkable model to be called “Zora” awaits. Picture the union of E-Ray and ZR1 technology, combining forces into a mega C8 good for 1000 horsepower and torque targets GM engineers are striving to meet between coffee breaks. In case you’re behind on your Corvette lore, Zora Arkus-Duntov was the Vette’s patron saint from the mid-1950s through the mid-1970s and the engineer who identified the need for a mid-engine powertrain layout.

For those who can’t afford the $200,000 price tag likely for the Corvette Zora, GM has an appropriate consolation prize in mind: the next-generation Corvette, nicknamed C9. It’s not a stretch to imagine the C9 Vette will be a more affordable BEV two-seater with no internal combustion engine in the mix. (To read our comprehensive design and engineering forecast click here.)

Chevrolet Corvette sports car logo
Jaap Arriens/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Shedding the bowtie?

The potential flurry of coming Corvettes begs one additional question—is this sporting champion about to snip its Chevy apron strings? Given the fact that today’s C8 already carries crossed flags inside and out, with absolutely no Chevrolet or bowtie identification, one could argue that ditching the “Chevrolet” in “Chevrolet Corvette” would be something of a formality at this juncture.

Three considerations are almost definitely floating around GM headquarters concerning this subject. The first is fear about rocking the Corvette boat with any break from the Chevy fleet. The second is the strategy of mimicking Genesis’ split from Hyundai dealerships, complete with its own distinct (and more high-end) sales and service facilities. The third alternative is Tesla’s successful circumvention of the entire traditional sales and service model.  Instead, the seller-to-customer dialogue would be all digital, via website and cellphones the way Polestar operates. If service is required, the vehicle is hauled off to a facility for work and a loaner if provided to avoid inconvenience.

While GM would show unprecedented courage with such a dramatic expansion of the Corvette product line, we don’t expect the automaker follow Tesla into a fully digital sales and service interface. We’d wager you’ll still purchase the next Corvette in person, perhaps in at a stand-alone showroom in which Le Mans victory décor lines the walls in place of Silverado pickup and Suburban banners.

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Comments

    Chevrolet and Corvette go together. Corvette SUV? Ugghhh. Don’t they have an SUV platform to introduce an SS or some other similar performance spec on?

    The difference is that Porsche is a make with various models – whereas Corvette and Mustang are models. The electric (so-called) Mustang may be a decent vehicle – but nobody I know really considers it a Mustang.

    We own and love one and consider it a Mustang because: there’s a horsie emblem in front and our Mach E consistently out gallops ordinary Mustangs from a stop light.

    As the owner of a first generation Mustang and a C6 Corvette, I can’t tell you how cold the Mustang Mach-E leaves me. Please don’t do this to the Corvette as well. The “woke” management teams at Ford and GM are dragging us all down a path that only ends in disaster. We can’t support electric cars with our current grid, the range is too short and recharging time is too long. The batteries eventually do run down and have to be replaced. At what cost and what do we do with the exhausted ones full of environment rare metals? Otherwise, a great idea.

    I agree 100% with Ken. Nobody ever mentions the drain on the batteries of the EV cars for the optional equipment like air conditioning in the summer and the heater / defroster in the winter. Dumb idea that restricts mobility.

    Ahmen – what a shame so many in this country are are willing to engage a narrative instead of truth/facts.

    recycling precious battery materials is part of the electrification scheme just as steel, iron, and aluminum are recycled from ICE cars.

    Come on GM, leave Corvette a Chevrolet and no Corvette SUV!

    GM, you dropped brands yet have redundancy through your vehicle lines. Not that your redundancy isn’t anything new, lol. There’s no need for yet another GM rebranded, rebadged SUV!!!

    CHEVROLET CORVETTE, AMERICA’S SPORTS CAR, THAT SAYS IT ALL!!!

    This is very upsetting. I currently own a 65 Convertible (for 33 years) and a 2021 Convertible retirement present to myself that I waited a year and a half to get. With several others in between. Corvettes are SPORTS and GT cars with GAS engines. NOT grocery getters. NOT sedans. And NOT SUV’s. I have an SUV for a daily driver. And I do not crave that it to go faster or corner better. This will destroy the cachet of Corvette. It’s a bad idea whose time should never come. Bring back the Pontiac brand for this load of crap.

    I agree with Gary. Leave the Corvette/Bowtie alone. They have all but eliminated the SS, Impala. How many SUVs you need? Chevrolet has lost its mind.

    I’m not really a Corvette person, but I’m in the boat with Gary Bechtold: messing with such a rich tradition by either splitting the brand off or creating an SUV just seems ridiculous to me (and maybe a bit risky). An E-Ray? Well, okay, I can see that – as long as you don’t try to meld it into something totally off-base like the Mustang. Pretty sure GM doesn’t care what I think – I’ve never owned a Corvette and likely never will – but as an automotive performance enthusiast, I cringe when I see some of these departures from the history of some iconic cars.

    Of course they don’t care about you, they want the young folk who would NEVER buy an ICE vehicle. Pretty good idea to get all the older, loyal corvette fans to pony up money for legit supercar specs, but then turn around and dump the ICE vehicles completely and go full EV. Mary could not have come up with that lol

    Short term sales bloom to the long-term detriment of the brand. Accountants not car people making calls like this (should it happen).

    Being a Chevrolet has never hurt Corvette’s image, I would argue the “everyman/woman” attainable dream is part of the whole point.

    Corvette drivetrain as a high-end option in a GMC Denali, Cadillacs, etc. –could be a smart play. A “splash of Corvette on that” is an easy thing to walk away from.

    Be the last pure sport car brand. Sneer at the lame Porsche, Ferrari and so on sell outs. “They had to chase volume and sell their sport car soul. We refuse. America’s sports car, then and forever: Corvette”.

    I have agreed with snailish numerous times before in previous posts, but NEVER more than I agree with him today on this one…

    My sister is a CPA and owns multiple large displacement Vettes and is waiting to upgrade her ’22 for the new Z06.

    Amen brother! Couldn’t have said it better myself. I think it would cheapen the image of the only remaining true sports car America has! It was never meant to be all things to all people , it is meant to be treasured and cherished . I treasure my ’66 Stingray which in my humble opinion is the most beautiful car GM ever built.

    I couldn’t agree more! The greed of auto manufacturers now knows no limits. Some would argue it’s smart business, others would argue tradition breeds loyalty!

    Stay focused on what made the Corvette such a beloved product line. Follow everyone else, and become like everyone else….a slave to the numbers.

    You might not but it’s still called a Mustang . Please GM keep the Corvette as a Chevy branded stand alone model .

    Pretty clear GM has either lost touch completely with its customers, or, they just don’t give a crap, and are going to market whatever they see fit, because in this day and age, the old adage, “There’s an ass for every seat” is 100% true.

    GM can’t even make electrical systems last in the Northeastern road salt for the past 30 years … and they think EV’s are the answer? As a mechanic that works on this junk every day, all I can say is, LOL.

    All you high tech engineers at Chevrolet know this thing still has “pushrods.” You going to take them too?

    Leave it alone.One of the best things about the Corvette is the fact that it’s unique.Keep it that way

    Can’t wait to order my Corvette Zero Turn mower. As I mentioned in my previous post, the auto enthusiast is on life support…unbelievable………

    Lots of assumptions with this e-vehicle push the biggest being that a deep recession with rising rates won’t punish the automobile industry. It wasn’t but 20 years ago these companies were bailed out in the last melt down and how about the late 70’s and 80’s mess. When sales of all vehicles ultimately slow, which they are doing now, how will that effect things ? Has a young company like Tesla or Rivian ever navigated through a deep recession before? Nope. Time will tell. But a cross over electric Vette sub brand will likely go the the way or Saturn for GM.

    have been a corvette fan and owner since a kid in the 60’s. the vette has always been an icon and a dream of many young people. don’t make it just another copycat suv.

    I’m not a Corvette guy, although I think they are nice cars and would consider one if I had the cash. Been a Mustang fan my whole life but my stomach turned at the introduction of a Mustang SUV, if it was sporty and had class, maybe, but it’s an ugly turd. Is this where GM is going with the Corvette? Even I am appalled at this

    Im an electrical contractor and can tell you that the battery technology is NOT THERE YET! Do Not waste your resouces on basterdizing the Corvette in any way especially electric! BIG MISTAKE!

    GM management has not been known for ‘great decisions’ over the past 20-30 yrs, so they probably will make this decision which will begin the death of both Corvette and Chevrolet.. and perhaps GM? The way they are going… no great loss!~

    I concur. GM in its infinite wisdom will go all in on EV, fail huge, we the taxpayers will bail them out AGAIN. As long as we use plastic we will never get rid of oil. Ultimately it’s the consumer ( gear head) that will decide its success or failure. Some time ago Ford wanted to replace the mustang with the probe, and we know how that worked out.

    I agree completely Eddie. Oil will be around for a long time as our electrical systems will not support a major EV incursion unless the world population is reduced to 1/4 of current number. Automobiles are not just a means of transport, especially the Corvette.

    You guys are getting carried away. Corvette is a low volume car that has very little impact on Chevy or GM’s bottom line.

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