- Sep 16, 2000
- New Hampshire
- 1990 Corvette ZR-1
From Automotive News
(11:04:50 Feb. 19, 2002)
GM rules out mid-engine design for potential high-end Corvette
By RICK KRANZ
General Motors is exploring another Corvette model with higher horsepower, but a mid-engine design is no longer under consideration.
"The small, hearty Corvette group under Dave Hill is still thinking of something beyond the C-6," said Robert Lutz, GM vice chairman, who was interviewed this month at the Chicago Auto Show.
C-6 is the code-name of the next-generation standard Corvette, expected in 2004.
Hill is the vehicle line executive directing the redesign.
If produced, the high-end Corvette "would have absolutely earth-shattering levels of performance," said Lutz. "But it would still be recognizably and identifiably as a Corvette."
Last August, Ron Zarrella, then president of GM North America, said the automaker was looking at adding a second car to the Corvette brand, an extremely high-performance model with a $100,000 price.
Zarrella said all options were being considered, including a mid-engine design.
But Zarrella at that time expressed serious reservations about expanding the Corvette brand.
"Corvette has had one very unique, very focused position for a long time," he said.
"Do you risk watering down that position by expanding it, or do you keep it as an icon brand within General Motors focused on the kinds of vehicles that it is known for?"
Company insiders have speculated that GM might turn Corvette - with an expanded product line - into a separate marketing unit, similar to what GM is doing with the Hummer brand.
GM plans to offer three Hummer nameplates, giving the brand a price range of about $40,000 to $100,000. The trucks will be marketed as the H1, H2 and the H3.
But Lutz said if a high-end Corvette "is going to be affordable, it can't be a mid-engine Corvette." He added: "We do not want to make another division out of Corvette. Absolutely not."
Lutz said a high-end Corvette would be "somewhat stylistically differentiated, would be made of alternative, lightweight technology materials, which would have substantially more horsepower."
Lutz didn't say when a decision would be made.