Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

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Thread: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

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    Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully
    Dallas News
    May 19, 2011
    by Terry Box


    Mean, middle-aged Corvette, America’s barroom brawler of a sports car, got a Facebook page last year.

    Like its boomer buyers, the two-seat fiberglass ’Vette came of age in the 1960s, and the dazzling V-8-powered road warrior has been celebrated in songs, books and even a TV series.

    But 20- and 30-something consumers, who generally care far more about high tech than hot cars, are barely aware of the Corvette’s prowess and place in American culture.

    And with the average age of Corvette buyers now about 60, Chevrolet’s iconic halo brand is thinking more these days about the future.

    “Maybe we got a little complacent,” said Harlan Charles, Corvette product marketing manager for General Motors Co., who will be in the area this weekend for the Lone Star Corvette Club Classic 2011 at Texas Motor Speedway. “Maybe we need to tell the younger generation about just how special the Corvette is.”

    For the first time since 2004, Corvette is buying television commercials to extol the car’s virtues.

    Although the ’Vette struggled with weak cars and a cheesy image in the 1970s and ’80s, it roared back to life in the ’90s.

    Still, Corvette sales dropped 9.4 percent last year from a puny 2009. And since 2006, when business hit a recent peak of 36,518 cars, sales have plunged 65.4 percent, according to numbers reported by Automotive News.

    Sports car sales always plummet in a bad economy, and other manufacturers such as Porsche suffered serious declines as well. Sales of its vaunted 911 tumbled 16.1 percent last year.

    But Chevrolet wants to make more people aware that the Corvette offers fine styling, powerful and efficient engines and excellent handling in comfortable cars.

    Full article at link.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    It's $49,000 and the aging middle class is not being replaced by successful youth
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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralViscen View Post
    It's $49,000 and the aging middle class is not being replaced by successful youth
    In NA perhaps but in China alone there are over 1 million people earning $1.5 million annually.

    The brand needs to be reinvented and expanded. GM has its Porsche - a little thinking outside the box will reap dividends.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    What does China have to do with this? The article is about the Corvette's place in American culture.
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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    The problem why "youth" is not embracing the Corvette is not a problem, but a multiple of problems.

    -I have heard some 'younger' people in my workplace talk about the Vette and say it is an "old persons car". In all honesty, whether is who can afford it...the the 'baby boom' generation's love for the car...I cannot disagree with that assessment. I'd say 80% of people I see in a vette are 55 or older. That is fine..but a lot (not all) of young people don't want to be in an 'old persons car'.

    -For what you are paying, the Corvette is a wonderful performance machine. However, more young buyers today are interested in 'technology first, performance second.' Once again, I'm not saying there aren't many young buyers who want an all out performance car. But this article isn't saying No young buyers are buying the Vette, it is saying a smaller percentage are. Knock a few thousand dollars off the base Vette, pump it full of technology (Whatever GM's version of the Ford Sync and MyTouch system are), and you will attract young buyers.

    Of course, the problem with that is, you might displease some of the 'older' buyers who are still paying top $ for the car the way it is now.

    GM has to decide...do they want younger buyers to buy the Vette? if they do, they may have to do things with its design, performance, and content that the 55+ might not be fans of.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    A lot of people I talk to know of the corvette and know its a fast car but they don't know how fast or how special it really. For me I think GM knows what they need to do to the vette for the next Gen, bring out an award winning interior full of all the tech you can in a car in its category and on the exterior make it something that stands out but recognizable as a corvette.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    In NA perhaps but in China alone there are over 1 million people earning $1.5 million annually.

    The brand needs to be reinvented and expanded. GM has its Porsche - a little thinking outside the box will reap dividends.
    I almost think that GM would have more success in creating vehicles that would compete with Porsche at Cadillac, rather than Chevy.

    Of course Cadillac would retain their more mainstream vehicles, like the ATS, CTS, SRX, etc. Cadillac would add a roadster on Alpha, a hardtop version to compete against the Cayman. If Cadillac were to have a few more performance oriented vehicles in their lineup in addition to mainstream ones, I think it would only help to build their image as a credible luxury/performance brand. It would certainly be interesting to watch the Corvette brand expand, almost in the way that Mini has done with the Cooper, but I don't think it is as practical, at least in North America.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Quote Originally Posted by AdmiralViscen View Post
    What does China have to do with this? The article is about the Corvette's place in American culture.
    We live in a global economy.

    If the Corvette is limited to a declining domestic market comprised of sexagenarians it's time to put it out to pasture.

    The brand should be leveraged, the audience should be extended and the number of Corvette models should be expanded. If not, the Corvette's place in American culture will shift to being a part of American history.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Quote Originally Posted by CadiEldo67 View Post
    I almost think that GM would have more success in creating vehicles that would compete with Porsche at Cadillac, rather than Chevy.
    The positioning of performance cars from Chevrolet and Cadillac certainly creates a bit of a conundrum but Corvette already has its own identity as a sub-brand.

    There are some obvious opportunities for incremental technical change: an EV version of the next generation to compete with BMW/Fisker/Porsche/Tesla or a sport sedan paired with a Cadillac to compete with the Panamera.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Quote Originally Posted by majicbz07 View Post
    A lot of people I talk to know of the corvette and know its a fast car but they don't know how fast or how special it really. For me I think GM knows what they need to do to the vette for the next Gen, bring out an award winning interior full of all the tech you can in a car in its category and on the exterior make it something that stands out but recognizable as a corvette.
    I definitely agree with this. I'm 25 and it seems like a lot of people my age aren't aware just how impressive their performance (speed and handling) really is. Even in the group of guys that I go track/autoX racing with, most seemed somewhat unaware, although riding in my C5 and my roommate's '04 GTO has started changing perceptions quickly!

    The new Corvettes have plenty of technology packed into them, performance wise, although not everyone is knowledgeable enough to realize it (thinking Gen III+ engines are not advanced just b/c of OHV architecture, confusing the transverse composite mono-leaf spring with truck style leaf springs, etc.). Although interior tech gadgets do seem to lag behind. Even my car, which is the poster child for "bad corvette interiors" still has decent tech for a car that was released in '97, such as memory power seats, proximity locking, advanced driver info center (with code read/clear!), etc., but I think it might be more that after the cars I've owned previously, I'm easily impressed in that area :P

    It sounds like Chevy/GM is prepared to fix that with C7, retaining the impressive performance capabilities, but making the interior nicer for those who desire it. With how good the newer GM interiors have been recently, I have high hopes that they will be successful.

    Honestly, not long after C6 was released in '05, the economy started to take a downward turn, and by now the car has been on the market looking very similar for 6 years, so it's not unreasonable that sales have slacked off.
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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    This is a plum non-issue. First of all, sales of ALL sports cars are down, which ALWAYS happens in a bad economy. Folks have less cash to spend on toys, so the whole class suffers. In spite of that, the Vette STILL is dwarfing the sales of the high-tech import sports cars. What does that tell you? Second of all, American V8 auto culture ain't going nowhere. The Camaros is a sales success, so is the Mustang, so is the Challenger, so is the Charger, and so are the American big trucks and SUVs. The Chevy smallblock aftermarket is stronger than ever and rebounded nicely after serious competion from the tuner/Honda/Mitsubishi/import hot rod scene a decade ago and in the late '90s. Chevy just needs to forget the silly nonsense about trying to get folks whose dream sports car is a 911, S2000, Ferrari, RX-8, NSX,etc to like the Vette and pitch it to the MANY kids who still love V8 America performance, and it will continue to be a sales success, period.



    On another note, man all this "Caddy should have a sports car" talk is plum nuts. If that's true, then Lotus, Benz, BMW, & Ferrari should build fullsize pickups.
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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Quote Originally Posted by ne_one View Post
    In NA perhaps but in China alone there are over 1 million people earning $1.5 million annually.
    There are still 4X that number of millionaires in the US, according to this article:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-bud...t-millionaires

    Looking toward a communist country for individual wealth is probably not the best idea. The US is still by far the largest economy in the world.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Corvette's re-entry into LeMans and ALMS has helped boost it's image globally and here in the US. The performance levels of the ZR1 at the 'ring and elsewhere are world class by any standard. GM's job is to get the real information into the heads of the 30 somethings, not to redesign the Vette into a 370Z or a BMW3 series or a miata.

    The C7 will likely shrink a tad in all the physical measurements, sport aluminum HF rails, even on the base model, run a slightly smaller displacment, normally aspirated, V8 making slightly more HP than todays LS3, while attaining more than 30MPG with an interior that will be shockingly attractive. These are all conservative predictions and should be easy for GM to communicate a high tech to anyone who will listen if Marketing does there job.

    Today's C6 is shorter, lower and ligher than a 911 Carrera 4 Porsche, yet is far more practical (22 Cubic feet of storage), performs as comparably or better in most categories and gets better gas milage.

    How about this for High Tech - the DOHC powered V6 Nissan 370Z makes 332HP2 7000 RPM, 270 Lb Ft Torque at 5900RPM and gets 26 MPG.

    The base Vette LS3 makes 430HP at 5900 RPM (still pulling hard all the way to 6500), 424 Lb Ft Torque at 4600 RPM and gets 26 MPG!

    Which car is higher tech and why hasn't GM marketing pushed this point into today's youth?

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    Everyone I know thinks the Corvette is for old men who can't get it up anymore and need something to make them feel younger. I used to own a Vette so I'm not being biased. I love the Corvette.. But seriously - a lot of people think it's an old man's car. Not good.

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    Re: Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully

    I'd love to see a Corvette commercial with 20 seconds of running on the Ring at 183 mph, with the ad saying
    "Ring out the old, Ring in the new. Congratulations to Corvette for winning the 24 hours of LeMans and setting new records on the Nurburgring. Corvette, America's True Sports Car!"

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