Chevrolet Corvettes have always been an American design. However, late last year, General Motors’ vice president, Ed Welburn, sought out design studies from their various styling studios from around the world, particularly in Europe, for their next generation Corvette.
Why would GM even look at European designs for a uniquely American car? Demographics. Welburn said, ď”We have challenges in the States with the Corvette. The average age of the customer is really rising.”
The average age, according to the Power Information Network, is 54 years old. It appears that the younger generation in the U.S. favors imports more than they do in the current Corvette, which likely played a good part in the carís 48-percent sales decline in 2009 over the year before.
Performance isnít an issue. Itís the Corvetteís perception that is the bigger problem. Welburn said, “We have to develop a design that feels trimmer, meaner, to go along with the incredible performance that the car has,” referring to many beliefs that the current Corvette looks too big, although it is roughly the same size as the Porsche 911.
Welburn is fully aware that they canít stray too far from the Corvetteís heritage. He said, “It can’t mutate into something that gets so far away from Corvette that it is no longer a Corvette.” Itíll be interesting to see how things go for the quintessential American sports car within the next two to three years time. Canít wait!