Sized Like a C7
If you couldn't tell already from the recent spy shots, the C7 and C8 seem close enough in size, although the C8 is a just a test mule wearing heavy camouflage. Lately GM has been either downsizing or keeping successors close to their predecessors, the new alpha-platform based Camaro being a prime example of this.
Looking at the new shots, we see can see that the C8 will be similar in size to the C7 but with a lower, wider stance. It won't get vertical-lifting doors of many exotics though it looks like there will be a short front overhang. Flanking the engine bay looks to be a pair of chunky buttresses and we’re told designers will add a sheet of glass in the center to show off the car’s engine. One of the biggest challenges is thought to be heat management.
- Motor Authority
Plug-In Hybrid Model
To no surprise GM wants to get in on the boom of high performance hybrids. Looking at the shift taking place throughout the automotive landscape towards Hybrids and EV's its easy to see why GM is doing this and how paramount it will be to the C8's success. If there's any current example of how important this is, a look at the new NSX and what it has done for Acura might provide some answers.
Lutz told The Detroit News this month that the long gestation time of the next Chevrolet Corvette -- C8 in GM parlance -- could portend two things: a plug-in hybrid version, and a Cadillac sports car to replace the XLR.
GM has committed funds for a retooling of Corvette's Kentucky plant.
Lutz told The News that before GM's 2009 financial collapse, he had approval for a new-version Cadillac sports car.
As for the hybrid version, Lutz told the paper a Corvette hybrid could enable the sports car to attain an EPA rating as high as 50 mpg city and would give it all-wheel-drive capability.
GM, of course, is not commenting on its future plans for the Corvette.
With a shift towards a more exotic Corvette comes pricing to reflect that, $15-20k higher than the current base C7 is what's floating around. Fortunately what this might mean for C7 owners is depreciation that won't concern them that much. This pricing speculation puts the C8 right in line with its rivals from Nissan and Acura.
Going mid-engine won’t be the only major change for the C8: another will be price. While the base C7 starts close to $60K, the new price of entry is said to be rising to approximately $80K. The higher price can be justified by the more exotic layout, plus it provides a nice buffer with the Camaro. The change will also help the C8 become a semi-exotic halo model for Chevrolet worldwide, similar to what the GT-R is for Nissan and the NSX is to Acura and Honda.
- Motor Authority
Built in Kentucky
Hundreds of millions being pumped into the Kentucky plant is just about the best indication of the changes taking place from C7 to C8. So far there hasn't been any updates or insight provided, Chevy has been tight lipped, but before the C7 Stingray gets phased out in late 2018 it should become very clear.
DETROIT -- General Motors plans to spend $290 million on its Corvette plant in Kentucky, just as rumors about GM’s plans for the next generation of its iconic sports car heat up.
GM today said it will “upgrade and modify” the Bowling Green plant’s vehicle assembly operations for “technology upgrades and manufacturing process improvements.” It didn’t say whether the investment is needed for an eventual redesign of the Corvette, which is three years into its seventh generation.
The announcement comes amid speculation about the next iteration of the ‘Vette. Last month, Car & Driver reported that a midengine Corvette -- for decades the subject of enthusiast rumors and lust -- is slated for the 2019 model year.
The magazine’s report cited an “impeccable source” and includes plenty of detail, even reporting that some prototypes of the “C8” (eighth-generation) Corvette are housed in Building 54 at GM’s proving grounds in Milford, Mich. It says the car would use a version of today’s V-8 engine, be priced around $80,000 and will be shown at the Detroit auto show in January 2018.
The report also says that the current C7 Corvette Stingray will be phased out by late 2018. That would leave the critically praised current version in service for slightly more than five years, a truncated product cycle relative to previous Corvettes. The C6, for example, was in service for about eight years. Some industry forecasters don’t expect the next-gen Corvette to appear until after 2020.
GM last year said it would spend $439 million on a new paint shop at the Bowling Green plant, which employs about 940 people and assembles only Corvettes. Work on the paint shop began last year and will run until mid-2017.
“We are making technology investments that will continue to improve our manufacturing processes and ultimately the quality of our vehicles,” GM North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones said in a statement.
GM said the work related to the $290 million investment will begin this summer.
Chevy is expected to phase out the C7 Stingray by late 2018, and we have word of a C8 reveal taking place early 2018 in Detroit, but no word on when it could potentially go on sale and finally get delivered. Some sources are suggesting an on-sale date after mid-2018 and the others by early 2019.
Codenamed “Emperor”, the eighth-generation Corvette C8 could be unveiled early 2018 and go on sale early 2019.
Earlier, it was rumored that the C8 Corvette could debut at the 2018 Detroit auto show which is usually scheduled for the first month of every year. The Detroit News’ sources lent creditability to this rumor when they said the C8 is expected to be unveiled in early 2018. When asked about the C8 Corvette, a Chevy spokesperson said, “We do not comment on future product plans.” Other Chevy media reps are most likely going to say the same thing when questioned.
Of course, we have no way to verify this reveal date since the sources prefer to stay anonymous as the company plans have not yet been made public. A former GM employee who knows of the project said, “It’s happening. Mark Reuss wants it.” Reuss is Chevrolet’s global product development chief and he’s not really doing a great job with keeping things under wraps if the next-gen C8 Corvette is “the worst-kept secret in town.”
Another rumor suggests that the mid-engine format will give GM enough flexibility to produce performance variants based on the platform like an all-wheel drive model or a plug-in hybrid with electric motors powering the front wheels or maybe even a high-performance Cadillac halo car.
At this point the release dates are just speculation and GM has been teasing us with mid-engine Corvette concept cars for years. Let’s hope their teasing ends soon.