Corvette sub-brand and SUV on the horizon?

John Keeble/Getty Images

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.

Corvette E-Ray camo front three-quarter track

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.


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.

Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 badge

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.


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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    well almost ALL of what I’ve read is right on the Logic – but I’m afraid Car Makers these days are only focused on what can sell not what’s a Driver’s Car. I’ve owned 3 Corvettes – 63 Coupe 86 Coupe and 2006 Coupe – each time they became more diluted from the 63. The C8 is a spectacular car but each time I see the C7 I think to myself “that’s the LAST TRUE Corvette” – and now we’re headed to SUV’s and Electrics – just keep the old cars you have and keep them maintained is my advice – this Electric Vision is pretty bogus – I really wonder just what the “carbon footprint” is on these EV’s

    I have owned a 1972 454 Corvette and currently own a 2018 Z06/Z07. Personally, I am surprised that GM has made it this far and is still producing the Corvette, and surprisingly, with future plans. I am again surprised that many of those commenting have not figured out that this has not been standard Detroit short-sighted behavior.

    I agree over the years there have been plenty of GM threats to shut down Corvette production. But, to quote the famous thespian Gomer Pyle, “Surprise! Surprise! Surprise”, it has not happened. There are plenty of complainers out there, yet few who appreciate what has happened over the years.

    GM has continued to produce a relevant automobile over a 69 year period, give or take. It has continued to evolve. They should be commended. You may not like the current mid-engine. You may not like my 72 454 with 190 hp, or whatever it was, you may not like the dual clutch automatic, and you may not like the 1953 blue flame six. But it lead to progress within the brand. Find that elsewhere in a special purpose vehicle.

    The Corvette is a world class car, beating out some of the big boys that think they produce a world class car. Will I buy a new one? No. I like standard transmissions. Is the new one relevant today? Damn right it is. And GM will continue up until the end of the gas-fired era on both sides of the equation.

    I don’t like electrics and will not own one. l will respect GM’s efforts moving forward. This world is changing, for the worse in my opinion on a number of fronts. Electrics are not bad on their face, but to force me to have one is bad. Who knows? Electrics may become much more efficient from a range and charging perspective. I have to assume that they will. They just do not interest me.

    It seems GM maybe treading on very thin ice with this one. Is the “ice” forming or melting? Only time will tell. To compare with Porche is a non-starter. Porche was never a “model”. It was always a manufacturer and “brand”. Thus, addition of the Tayan and Cayenne were natural diversification of the “brand” into new models and new markets. Corvette has always been a “model”. And a very specific model at that. Even comparing to the Mustang has its problems. Yes, the Mustang was a model. But always a model with an identity problem. Not quite sports car, but also not quite a family car. It always tried, with varying success, to blend the two. The Mach-E is an alternative take on that blending of identity. I think a naming mistake, but I never accepted the Aussie platform cars as “Mustangs” either. To treat the Corvette name as a brand could be the beginning of the end for the car and its name. As for a battery Corvette – that is a forgone conclusion. No matter how ill-advisable, the government is forcing the issue. For the Corvette to survive in any form, it must adapt.

    Did GM bring back whoever was in charge of marketing when they wanted to import Holden’s Sport Ute and call it a Pontiac Sport Truck rather than a new Chevrolet El Camino? I couldn’t believe how stupid that would have been but then of course Pontiac was folded and we haven’t heard anything since . Corvette as a Brand vs. a car..I think not.

    The Corvette sub-brand concerns me to some degree. I don’t get using the Ford Mustang name for both the “classic” Mustang and an SUV-ish sort of thing. But, if the marketing geniuses think they can parlay breaking Corvette away from Chevrolet, go for it. I have a problem with all of these expected vehicles being called a “Corvette,” and making it a sub-brand facilitates the other naming (Stingray, Z06, Zora, etc.). Also, while I am a big fan of big horsepower, I also get concerned that someday the same people who don’t want anything larger than 10-rd magazines will also want motor vehicles with no more than (500?) horsepower. Imagine the range or efficiency certain EVs could have if they weren’t also chasing 0-60 times.

    Aren’t there enough redundant SUVs and crossovers in the market these days that GM wouldn’t have to go cannibalizing another model to make yet one more?

    “The Heartbeat of America …….. Yesterday’s Chevrolet”

    I’ve been saying for years that Corvette should split off and become its own GM brand. Corvette is practically considered a “brand” already as it is typically mentioned along the likes Porsche, Ferrari, etc. As a business model, all they need to do is follow the Porsche model, focusing on the sports car (ie. 911) but relying on high volume SUVs and sports sedans to generate the majority of the revenue, which helps support the sports car development.

    Who cares what GM does with the Corvette, The average Joe can’t afford one in the first place, or even the older Vets. I also feel that no Corvette after C3 should even ware the Corvette badge, all they are now is a Lamborgine want a be for the billionares.

    Electric is the key word to stop reading the article . Not interested at all. I wonder where all the ingrediencies to make all those batteries and power to charge them? Mining requires diesel hmmm.

    Well I was wrong about Porsche (SUV winners). Do it like Porsche and NOT like Mustang.
    An old 356 Spdstr driver. 😉

    Maybe along with branding the Corvette independently GM should consider adding GTO and Trans Am back into the picture. Dodge is doing something similar bringing back Challenger and Demon

    I don’t get the fascination with the Government Motors corvette of any generation! In my lifetime (61 years), most every overconfident jack-wagon I’ve had dealings with drove or had owned a corvette! I can name seven of them by name. Good riddance corvette of any type, drive a real American icon like a GT350 or 500! Strait from a 2018 GT350 owner in Lead Foot Gray.

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