Corvette sub-brand and SUV on the horizon?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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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I’ve owned ten Corvettes over the years, including my current C7 Stingray. Wouldn’t have any other car, but leave the future of an American icon in the hands of the Zora’s and Harley Earl’s and away from the corporate politically correct bean counters who are more interested in building a sports car for European globalists.
“Being a Chevrolet has never hurt Corvette’s image”
“Oh you have a Chevrolet Corvette? Chevy makes the Spark also, great car”
Said no one ever
If Ferrari and Aston and Bentley and Porsche and Alfa can make an SUV and do it in a way that enhances the brand and brings in money for further development of the two seater then you have to do it. Simple economics. A Corvetter branded LT6 four door that rivals the Panamera while costing $40k less and without the retiree-white-sock-wearing Corvette factor? Sign me up.
As all the above have stated, from an enthusiasts perspective ( and enthusiasts by Corvettes) this is just plain wrong. I’m still angry at Ford for the Mach E. Not because its a bev, but because they branded it Mustang. I have seen Mach E taxis in NYC , if that does not dilute the brand Mustang nothing well. Looks like GM is traveling the same path. To all those who say Porsche, Lamborghini, etc.. have done it.. well Porsche does not all the bev a 911 nor does Lambo. call theirs a Muciealago.
It is time for Corvette to stand alone from Chevrolet as the “sporting” brand. Probably should have happened a long time ago when GM kept trying to stick sporty cars into other brands such as the Pontiac Fiero and Buick Rialto. Those could have been alternative models for Corvette and may have been more successful.
I drive a C7 Corvette. But I also drive a GMC truck! Please, GM, don’t bollox up the brand with ugly crossovers and SUVs like Porsche, Jaguar, Maserati, et. al. have done. You have other brands to cover that territory.
At the very least, ditch the Chevy label and allow it to be sold at Buick-GMC stores as well as at and alone Cadillac dealers.
I had a bunch of Corvettes, last one was a 63 split window FI I paid a grand for. Still have some large plenium speaker stands. My cars are more interesting now.
The world needs another Grand Cherokee ?
If Chevrolet follows this path I will be extremely disappointed as a devout Corvette custodian. As a boy, I fell in love with that White ’53 C1 that made the cover of magazines. Later in ’57 I wanted one but could not afford one. But since have owned 10 C2/C3/C4/C5/C6/C7 models. Had small blocks, big blocks, ZR 1, LS 1-2-3, and LT4. Loved them all. I have never owned a foreign brand, 95% have been GM.
I was one of the lucky few that managed to snag a preorder for a Lyriq back in May. Based on my experience since then I feel that GM has a long way to go before relying on a direct ordering scheme. Their current system falls a little short of being half-baked.
I have owned 26 Corvettes and the mark up on new Corvette’s along with this proposed dilution of the brand means the three classic Corvette’s I still own are my last ones. Bad decision.
My C8 is such a great pleasure-they really got it right. You can sell me a Z06, but I will never buy an E-Ray. I also own a 2023 Subaru BRZ w/6-spd manual and have a Porsche Caymen GT-4 on order. I am accruing as many NA cars as I can afford, and we’ll see where it all shakes out.
A Prius is about the maximum I’d spend on anything electrified. Toyota, in my opinion, is right to realize that the EV solution is way oversold. Again, time will tell, but I’ll have what I need.
I purchased a new Corvette via Museum Delivery a number of years ago. That experience was great! However, I will not buy a Corvette that does not have a manual transmission and a clutch pedal. And I have not. I guarantee you that I will not buy an electric Corvette – just watch me.
Lets be honest – In truth, the ‘bean counters’ @ GM have been both salivating and soiling themselves, while looking at the results of the abortion & dilution of what is the Ford E-Mustang, scratching their heads and trying to figure-out how to replicate or copy those results – while trying to NOT look like they are ‘jumping on the bandwagon’..
And, as long as we are on this ‘honesty’ tirade, there are really only two models that ‘make the grade’ to assist GM in this envious quest –
– The Chevrolet Camaro;
– The Chevrolet Corvette;
While GM may well be drooling at the prospect of an equivalent to Ford’s E-Mustang, I would say that their thinking will be more of a ‘shotgun’ approach, i.e., why do ‘just one’ when we can do BOTH!?!..
GM will most likely do an ‘entry/mid-level market approach’ with the Camaro, and go ‘sport/luxury-level market approach’ with the Corvette..
Pfffft…as Bill the Cat would say…