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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So if Corvette becomes a sub-Brand; what does that make a Corvette Touring Sedan? Corlibu? Corvonic? Corpala? Maybe Malivette?…..and what about the SUV? Corhoe? Corburban? Tahvette? Subvette? Equivette? I can hardly wait for the Corverado!
Seriously though, I see this as more compliment than insult to Corvette: how many models in automotive history can you name that have transformed themselves into an entire brand?
None that I can think of.
Unfortunately, I don’t think GM’s higher-ups have the brass to pull-off such a bold move. Launching a brand is not cheap and GM is the Queen of Cheap. Besides, GM is in the business of killing-off brands, not nurturing new ones. Every single Corvette already sells itself with very little in the way of marketing spend, which is not likely to be the case in the Sports Sedan/Touring Sedan and SUV categories. And we all know how protective GM is of its precious Net Profit.
Even Chevy Marketing Chief Steve Majoros – as talented as he is – can’t fight city hall. Look at the current Malibu and Blazer: Malibu was a clean-sheet design with decent looks, performance, and dynamics, yet Chevy thought resurrecting a nameplate whose glory days were 50+ years ago was the smart play…without stopping to consider that they were marketing it to a generation raised on malaise-era Malibus who knew nothing of the model’s heritage.
And Blazer….I can’t even….one simply has to look at the new Bronco to see where Chevy missed the boat on this one.
So great idea on paper, but my wager is someone on the 38th Floor at the Ren Cen wads up that piece of paper and tosses it in the garbage.
Don’t make the corvette (suv) it’s a Chevy corvette not a suv. Corvette’s are known for sport, fast driving with big block engines and yes the loud, rubble noise that everyone likes. Please don’t change….
Here is the unvarnished truth. Slapping the Corvette name on a sedan or SUV is a cheap money grab nothing more.
GM should know better as they slapped Cutlass on three cars at the same time and it fooled no one and tarnished a respected name on 3 bad FWD cars.
Look companies like Porsche needs models that create volume because they can not live on the 911 alone. But on the other hand Chevy is a volume brand and has no need to slap the Corvette name on anything but a good sports car.
To do this you risk 70 years of hood name equity. There is no need for this and one bad sedan or SUV can tarnish a great name.
Like the MachE there is just no connection to the original car.
I really am disappointed in GM doing this and I would like it if they reconsider this.
Chevy has many iconic names they could use. Super Sport Nomad etc.
Call the SUV a Chevy Nomad tuned by Team Corvette or something like this.
The Corvette is a unique model as No other two seat car has lived near as long as it has. It has been a great value for the dollar even today.
Most sports cars are much higher in price and have no volume near what it has.
Corvette is a model not a brand and keep it this way.
Somehow, the idea of an electric Corvette just seems anti-American !
Mid-engine, well, that had to be in Chevy’s mind since a Ford GT won LeMans in 1966, if for no other reason than it’s a HUGE plum for advertising for any manufacture.
The only electric cars that are practical are RADIO-CONTROLLED !
I almost puked when I first saw the Maserati SUV. I will puke for sure if I ever see a Corvette SUV.
Yuppies will buy it, just like every other suv they bought. They will ruin the Corvette tradition. Leave this car alone !!!
I don’t see the point of making an electric SUV with a Corvette badge on it. Why not put a GMC or Chevy badge on it? I see comments that seem to be saying that Porsche is building some SUVs to prop up their less profitable sports car lineup. Doesn’t GM build GMC and Chevy trucks and SUVs to prop up their less profitable (corvette) lineup?
When the EV’s started getting rave review from the green crowd I installed a free charging station at my business. Almost every day I find someone plugged in which has given me a chance to talk to a good many EV owners. (I don’t allow hybrids to charge there) All of the new EV owners are happy and elated but the ones who have had the vehicles for more than one year are suffering from what I call Charging Fatigue. Un like car owners with gas engines who can fuel up instantly on any street corner they must plan their car use around finding and using charging stations. Electric cars have been the next great thing in the automotive industry since 1917…….
“Corvette” and “sports car” are synonymous. Definition of a sports car:
A small, high powered automobile with long, low lines, usually seating two persons.
I’ve owned my Vette for over 46 years….say it ain’t so GM.
To me, a Corvette SUV would be much like a bowel movement with the pants left on.
Corvettes as they are. I would never buy one because I’m too cheap and they are impractical for my lifestyle. I drive a Buick Tour X wagon and that’s sporty enough for me. However, and SUV, EV Corvette is Un-American in my opinion. Keep it as the sole Amercian sports car. GM going all EV by 2030 has me looking to another corporation for my transportation desires.
I agree with the others that the government and the builders never mention the limited life of these batteries or the dangers of fire that they pose. I think if the government is responsible for the disposal or recycling of the batteries, we might have a different amount of pressure placed on consumers to but these. At the same time the EPA and the other big regulatory agencies are completely mum on providing the energy to make America’s car fleets EV. How about some new nuclear plants? None built since the NRC was established in 1985. All requests have been denied. go figure that logic.
How come there is no SUV racing series? That because SUVs are not sport cars! The S in SUV is for sporty? So, GM put the corvette drive drain in a Tahoe and call is a Tacovette…. “Delivering Mexican food while it is still hot!” Corvettes were never meant to be delivery vans….
They would flip over. Top heavy.
“The potential flurry of coming Corvettes begs one additional question—is this sporting champion about to snip its Chevy apron strings?”
It sounds like GM is lost and doesn’t know which way out of the woods.
To bring in a sedan or SUV with a Corvette name is just a money grab.
GM did this with the Cutlass name when it bestowed that name in 3 very poor FWD cars but they fooled no one.
Look Porsche and Lamborghini are small companies that need volume over the sports cars low volume. They may have a SUV but it is a VW based model and it is not called 911.
Chevy on the other hand is a high volume company selling a model called Corvette. They have no need to use the Corvette name on any other model. If anything the could damage 70 years of top name equity with it.
On exception is to do an off road. Version of the Corvette. Porsche has done several 911 off road and now Lamborgini is doing one. These are true sports cars that can rally off road and on based on present production models.
As for the EV models they are coming like it or not. The Corvette will be one of the last ICE models offered when the time comes but EV is the only way to survive regulations and to offer sales moving forward.
Now if they want to do a sedan like a Chevelle tuned by Team Corvette I am ok with that. Make other models with a tune by Corvette label much like AMG.
If this idea becomes “reality “, I will lose all interest in GM. I currently own my 9th and 10th Vettes. Dump the woke crap.