Why Chevy Is Radically Changing The Corvette

Why Chevy Is Radically Changing The Corvette


The Corvette is widely regarded
as America’s sports car.
The Chevrolet Corvette has been in production
since 1953, making it one of
the longest running production
vehicles in history.
Of course, it’s also one that
has occasionally risked the axe, especially
in times of stress for
Chevrolet parent General Motors.
In spite of that, the car has endured
and it is about to undergo its
biggest change in history.
The Corvette is becoming a mid-engine sports car
and it is one of a small
number of mid-engine sports cars that can
be bought for less than six
figures.
GM President Mark Reuss told the crowd
at the Corvettes unveiling that the
car would start at less than 60
thousand dollars and gasps could be heard
from the audience to
understand what this means.
It is important to take
a look at Corvette’s history.
The first Corvette was designed
by legendary General Motors designer
Harley Earl.
Earl saw that American soldiers returning
from Europe after World War 2
had gone crazy for European sports cars,
and he wanted to create an
American competitor.
GM built 300 of the first Corvettes
in 1953, while the initial Corvette
was a virtual masterpiece
of automotive design.
The car’s performance was mediocre.
GM engineers had put the car together
from materials the company had on
hand. Its six-cylinder engine lacked the
horsepower needed to match the
car’s sleek looks.
The first Corvette sold poorly and was
being outsold several times over by
competitors such as
the Ford Thunderbird.
Just a few years after its creation,
the Corvette was already in danger of
being discontinued.
But the car had caught the attention
of a Russian born Belgian immigrant
engineer and race car driver named Zora
Arkus-Duntov, who soon got a job
with GM and became the
Corvettes first chief engineer.
Arkus-Duntov is credited with pushing
for a sportier, higher performing
Corvette. Over time, the car grew a
reputation as a working man’s answer
to high end Italian and German supercars
and developed a proud and devoted
following apart from its lower price.
It also, over time, became known for
keeping its engine in the front of
the car. Like many conventional cars.
But the performance and handling of
a mirror engine layout is often
favored among makers of super cars
and high end sports cars.
Arkus-Duntov
had pressed his bosses to make a
mid-engine Corvette, and for years the
company experimented with designs.
You know, creating a car with the
drive train centralized in the middle of
the vehicle helps
centralize the mass.
When you do that, you end up with
more equal weight between the front and
rear axles and on the front tires.
Essentially, that makes the car more
stable, even at higher speeds and
even around sharper corners,
braking and acceleration.
Everything you’re doing in the car especially
is a performance car is more
stable, more balanced when you have
mass centralised engine design over
time.
Chevrolet developed several different iterations
of what was called the
Chevrolet Experimental Research
Vehicle or CERV.
These cars were outfitted with
mid-engine configurations too, some of
which Arkus-Duntov himself held patents, but
none of the designs ever made
it to production, even as high
end performance vehicles from other
manufacturers routinely demonstrated the
advantages of the mid-engine
layout.
That Corvette was able to compete with
many far more expensive cars was
impressive that it did so while keeping
its engine in the front of the
car. For many of its fans added to
its charm, in some ways, the car
appeared to succeed in
spite of itself.
I think that when we talk about Corvette
and the idea that it stayed true
for so long to its heritage front engine,
rear drive and over time, as we
saw more mid-engine cars coming out,
performance levels getting higher and
higher.
Part of the mystique and the aura
around mid-engine was literally that was
the engines like right
behind your head.
Changes like ride and
drive dynamics, too.
But it kind of gave this idea that,
to compete at this level, you have to
have a mid-engine.
At the same time, Corvette soldiered on
and it was great Nuremberg lap
records.
It was crazy amounts of power grid,
all despite the fact that didn’t have
this latest and greatest
exotic car engine.
Part of its success has come
from the credibility Corvette has established
in racing.
Corvettes have been a popular choice
for racing enthusiasts for decades,
even when General Motors has not
been formally involved in racing.
In 1960, a private race team entered a
Corvette in the 24 hours of Le
Monde endurance race in
Le Mans, France.
In 1999, GM began sponsoring a Corvette
racing team, which has since won
107 races around the world.
That is more than any other car
in the history of the International Motor
Sports Association, one of the major
sanctioning bodies for racing in
North America.
In addition, the current Corvette racing
team has had eight victories in
the car’s class and the 24 hours
of Le Monde race since 2001.
The Corvette also benefited from some
clever publicity, courtesy of early
NASA astronauts in the early 1960s.
GM President Ed Cole and a Florida
Chevrolet dealer named Jim Rathmann, a
former Indy 500 winner, offered astronauts
from some of the Apollo
missions a special deal that let
them drive any Chevrolet vehicle they
wanted for a year for one dollar.
Many, of course, chose the Corvette.
That doesn’t mean things have always
been easy for the Corvette.
General Motors has been
close to canceling the.
Car a few times, but it’s always seemed
to save it at the last minute.
One famous incident was in the 1990s
when GM wanted to shut down the
Corvette program in favor
of more popular models.
At that time, the company was
reportedly losing 1000 dollars on every
Corvette it made.
But Corvette program manager Russ McClain
and his team secretly went to
work on a new Corvette.
McClain told no one except his wife that
he had been ordered to cancel the
car.
The car they created was released in
1997 and became Motor Trend’s Car of
the Year in 1998.
Corvette sales have seen a decline
in recent years, falling from 33,329
units in 2015 to
18,791 units in 2018.
GM, along with rivals Ford and
Fiat Chrysler, have rapidly been abandoning
traditional passenger cars.
However, industry watchers say the Corvette
name has now lived long enough
to attain a kind of iconic status,
not unlike the Ford Mustang, which Ford
has decided to hold on to even
as it slowly drains its portfolio of
traditional sedans and coupes.
But General Motors has decided it is
time for a big change to Corvette,
and many industry observers say the
mid-engine gives GM a shot at
attracting a new audience to the car.
I think for General Motors and
virtually every automaker whose main stream
or even the luxury brands
that have these halo cars.
The rationale is literally that is that
we have to have something that
brings you into the showroom or gets
our own employees excited because it
does have that trickle down
effect from said vehicle.
And it’s one of those things where
you’re never going to justify on paper,
you work in product planning, your
corporate bean counting, whatever you
want to call it.
On paper, it doesn’t make
a lot of sense.
Can you truly measure
its effect overall?
Not really.
I mean, if you really want extrapolated
down to word of mouth kind of
thing, which again, is pie 1, the
highest, you know, most reputable things
is , I heard it from X, Y, Z,
and you really can measure stuff like that.
You can say, you know, on the
internet we saw this much activity.
We saw as many clicks.
But at the end of the day, it’s
one of those things that you really can’t
measure people’s feelings.
And we know the cars of this nature,
they stir the soul and they get
people excited.
The new Corvette boasts
some impressive specs.
It will have 495 horsepower.
And when paired with a performance package,
we’ll be able to go from zero
to 60 in under three
seconds according to GM.
That is approaching
supercar performance levels.
For example, it is within just fractions
of a second of the times boasted
by the 350 thousand dollar Ferrari
488 Pista and the 573 thousand
dollar Lamborghini Aventador
SVJ Roadster.
Chevrolet said redesigning the new Corvette
from the ground up provided a
historic opportunity Chevrolet designers have
wanted for 60 years.
The company said the Corvette can stand
tall with the best the world has
to offer.
GM President Mark Reuss also said Corvette
has pushed the potential of its
front engine design as far
as it can go.
But not everyone is happy about
the switch to a mid-engine layout.
Some longtime Corvette fans have cried
foul over the change, some
considered a betrayal
of Corvettes legacy.
Some complain the car is just aping
European designs and some don’t like
how the mid-engine layout
changes the car’s proportions.
Others are more optimistic;
if a bit guarded.
General Motors has been trying to
cut costs and improve profitability, and
its push has resulted in some bold,
if controversial moves such as cutting
production of several of its
passenger cars in late 2018.
As of September 2019, shares of GM
had risen about 12 percent over the
past five years.
With sales being so small, many think
Corvettes status as a kind of ‘halo’
car becomes ever more
important to its survival.
It gives GM a chance to make
an inspiring, attention grabbing vehicle and
showcase the company’s
engineering talent.
By switching over to
a mid-engine design.
Corvette is showing it can make
a world class vehicle and undercut
higher-end makers of super
cars in price.
It’s always fascinating to
watch the supercar evolution.
This is a this is
a segment that doesn’t stop.
It’s never standing still.
It’s never static. Every
not even a year.
It’s really more like almost
every three to four months.
There’s another super car
coming around the corner.
I think General Motors has stepped
into this competitive segment with a
very capable entry in this
new C 8 Corvette.
And it will be fascinating to watch
how how effectively they compete at
their price point with
much higher priced vehicle.
When they’ve got a vehicle that already
looks like it’s going to be
offering performance based models that
are just being produced, despite
all the data that shows sport
utility is taking over the U.S.
auto market.
The next few years could be
some good ones for sports cars.

100 Replies to “Why Chevy Is Radically Changing The Corvette”

  1. At 2:58 "…makes the car more stable…" No, no and no, …while making the vehicle as a whole, easier to turn thanks to that centralized mass & that low polar moment of inertia, it also makes the car LESS stable…prone to disruption off the center-line due to turbulent airflow, pavement irregularities and driver errors. Look thru the various videos here & you will see many mid-engined cars seemingly going out of control with no apparent reason…this is the curse of mass centralization & a low polar moment of inertia.

  2. vintage cars aren't usually my thing, but that 1953 corvette was beautiful, that look still looks amazing today.. shame they built the engine so poorly on it..also this may get hate, but i do like the new corvette, i'd buy it

  3. Gee.. I wonder how much CNBC pays for a story consisting of the same information that has already been reported by a zillion others, way back when it was relevant? If you hadn't already heard all of this about the C8… you're living under a rock.

  4. So he said front engine cars can’t compete with mid engine cars, okay, because the Ferrari superfast is so slow right? Mid engine Vette looks hideous, if corvette didn’t scream “mid-life crisis” before, it sure does now.

  5. 10:00
    "had risen 12% over the past 5 years"

    That's noise and it's obvious to anyone with eyes. Even if it were taken at face value that's the same as inflation.

  6. I never liked Corvette's ever. But this new 2020 Corvette is absolutely astonishing. It's beautiful. I hope it performs on the track.

  7. Supercars in a world of increasing lowered speed limits. Clogged roads that used to be called freeways. Cops with radar everywhere. Unless it's a truck or SUV they won't sell enough of them.

  8. I had a conv Vette, and have a Viper. I think its fantastic what GM/Chevy has done with the C8! Great job! I'll buy one if I can find the cash and the garage space!

  9. Why does GM assemble vehicles so poorly? They make some great vehicles on paper, but then you drive or own one and…. FCA used to be the same way, but have made incredible changes since 2008. Most of GMs lineup is plagued with quality issues and look ugly as hell. It's like asking how far you can go half assing it and the management accepts it.

  10. I like the front of the car. I still like the older models better, not happy with the latest designs but I have to say this looks less like a transformer. The back I really really dislike. I have nothing against this new mid engine corvette i hope it will be a success.

  11. At that price this is an absolute no-brainer. It’s now even a better “ bang for the buck” buy than ever before. There’s only so much performance that you can realistically lay down on public roads. I predict a sharp rise in sales.

    (If I lived in a warmer climate where I could use it year round I would immediately go down and get one when it becomes available. For now I’ll enjoy/drive my ‘87 convertible.)

  12. Only part of this I'm bugged by is why it took this video to get to the 2 minute mark for them to introduce Zora. He's the only reason this car is what it is.

  13. The fact they made garbage cars between the mid 1970s through the early 2000s turned me off from the brand. But cutting American jobs and moving to Mexico and China has kept me from ever being turned on again. They produce their cars at a lower cost now then they did in the 1980s and yet charge 3 times as much.

    GM your not fooling me.

  14. The openned driver door, at 10:40. Oh boy, That door wing will have some banging!!! Lambo doors are cool. And easy in parking spaces.

  15. not everyone is happy about the change? some long time corvette fans cry fowl? cnbc fake news, i have not seen any Corvette fans that don't like this car, show me some on youtube. even the oldest most hardcore like this car., some people may not like a thing or two but overall i have not heard anyone not like it.. i personally don't like the hood, too many lines make it look too busy but thats a small thing and just a matter of opinion the car overall is awesome. its a super car that cost less than pickup truck

  16. They never answered the question "Why?" But they ignored the obvious, the floor traffic into the Chevy dealerships skyrocketed the day after the intro.
    The smart thing is that Chevy is keeping both the front engine and mid engine versions. I think they should have used a different name for the new car. but they are hedging their bets in case one or the other dies due to lack of sales. Maybe, they will have enough sales to keep both.

  17. Meanwhile Teslas are driving themselves, hitting 0-60 in 1.9 seconds, 1/4 miles the the 8’s and pushing speeds up to 250mph. Corvette will die with the baby boomers, as will GM.

  18. Chevrolet is radically changing the Corvette simply to make money. The same ole same ole wasn't going to cut the mustard anymore when competing with other sports cars from around the World.

  19. America's SECOND DEADLIEST CAR that is the subject of a class action lawsuit over overheating issues in the C7 and the successor to the FIERO! What could POSSIBLY go wrong!? 💩🔥☠️🤣

  20. its is a betrayal of its history, it turns it into just another European looking mid engine sports car all the speed comes with more $$$$ to it and the zr1 when ever it turns out will probable cost more than a gtr. i like the way they had it before its just too much change for that car. making the zr1 mid engine with all other trims remaining would have been a far better balance

  21. The C8 will not attract any cross buyers.

    The Corvette will lose its only hook with the mid engine layout – for the people that want an exotic car they will buy an exotic.
    The Corvette was already able to compete with the best, by ditching the front-mid layout they lose the very attraction the car had.

  22. IMHO too little…too late to make the change….leaving the new corvette abandoned from the own herritage…while still not in the new tech area of Tesla Roadster etc.

  23. Why mid engine? Win on Sunday, sell on Monday. The front engine, real wheel drive drivetrain is considered obsolete in many racing circles and the Corvette has not been very competitive in sales or competition for almost a decade.

  24. not only all of this info is correct,plus the car stays warmer longer in the snow country states,there are a lot of plus's, tires wear normally equal weight distribution,looking forward to the engine they bury in the body

  25. My first favorite car was the 78 Firebird. The 1980 Corvette was my second. Then it was the 1982 Ferrarri 380 GTS. Then of course the Countach. My first car was a diesel Mercedes. Hahaha!

  26. I bet 85% of americans cant afford a 60 month loan on any new car. and that, is ridiculous. especially when they fall apart in 48 months.

  27. At some point its no longer a corvette and GM has reached that point.
    The corvette was an American roadster,not a European wannabe.

  28. I owned a 99 C5, and I admit that at first I was indifferent to them switching to a mid engine layout, but at 10:10 of this video when that Corvette went driving across the screen the first thing that popped to my mind was "dated". I won't dare suggest that this will be a success or not, but I think it could be considered as needed.

  29. I'm fine with the engine layout change; but the styling, particularly in the rear, does not work for me. Too Camaro. Also, the interior is TOO driver-centric. The passenger has become an afterthought, with nowhere to put your left arm. Hopefully the next generation will address these problems. For now, the C7 is still the pinnacle of Corvette engineering and design.

  30. The mid engine layout not only makes it easier to achieve a 50-50 weight distribution, it reduces the rotational momentum that the tires have to overcome when turning. Get a dumbbell with adjustable weights, put several light weights toward the middle with the heavy ones out by the ends, then try twisting it around while letting it hang off your arm. Now reverse the weights so the heavy ones are in the middle, much easier to rotate quickly even though the total weight is the same.

  31. They have blatantly stolen the appearance of the Lamborghini's and anyone can see this! For that reason I would never buy one! Corvette is the ONLY chevy I would even consider buying but by ripping off the body from another company they have lost this buyer!

  32. You guys need to get someone that is a real car enthusiast narrating and writing these videos. The lack of expertise is extremely noticeable to anyone who knows the subject well.

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