Corvette Wants To Age Gracefully
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.
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