- General Motors is developing a less expensive, so-called entry-level Chevrolet Corvette that is expected to be priced thousands less than the model that goes on sale this fall.
- Chevrolet is also considering a two-tier naming strategy for the sports car.
- Chevrolet denied that such a plan exists.
DETROIT — General Motors is developing a less expensive, so-called entry-level Chevrolet Corvette that is expected to be priced thousands less than the model that goes on sale this fall, industry sources familiar with the strategy tell Edmunds.
As part of this plan, Chevrolet is considering a two-tier naming strategy for the sports car. The low-priced model may be called Corvette, while models above the entry-level Corvette may be identified with the "Stingray" name. As such, the faster, pricier models may be called the Corvette Stingray Grand Sport, Corvette Stingray ZR1 and Corvette Stingray Z06.
However, a Chevrolet spokesman denied that such a plan exists.
"While we have not announced Stingray pricing yet, we can assure you that the car will deliver on Corvette's promise to offer world-class performance at an obtainable price," Michael Albano, a Chevrolet spokesman told Edmunds in an e-mail on Tuesday. "Stingray is the most capable standard Corvette ever and we have no plans to offer an entry beneath."
Yet, industry sources who asked not to be identified and are familiar with the program said the entry-level model likely would be introduced in a few years, possibly midway through the car's lifecycle. It would be an effort to attract buyers to a brand that has seen its sales dramatically decline over the past several years. Last year Chevrolet sold 14,132 Corvettes.
General Motors' executives "know that price is still going to make it a little expensive for so-called young buyers," said one source. "This is more about getting people who want a Corvette but can't afford it into one. A lot of this thing is about maintaining interest and volume in the car for the lifecycle."
The timing for the entry-level Corvette coupe has not been finalized, according to the sources. A convertible is not planned. The car likely would be introduced sometime after the Z06 and Grand Sport models are on sale, and possibly the ZR1.
The entry-level model would have less standard equipment and a V8 engine that is smaller and less powerful than the 2014 Corvette Stingray that hits showrooms this fall, sources said. In addition, styling differences are planned to separate the base Corvette from the faster, more expensive models.
The 2014 Corvette Stingray that goes on sale this fall will be equipped with a 450-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. However, the entry-level Corvette could carry a 5.3-liter V8, although the powertrain has not been decided. To further distinguish the lower-priced Corvette, a restyled front fascia and hood is planned. Under debate is a separate roof design. Hotly debated is whether a rear split window should be offered, one source said.
"There is talk it won't have automatic climate control," one source said. "There is also talk there will be things that won't be available that are available in the other Corvettes. So it may not have certain interiors. It may not have certain entertainment systems."
Interestingly, the project to develop an entry-level Corvette was code named "Stingray," the name that also had been intended for the low-price car. However, a source said last August the automaker came to the realization that "Stingray" is an iconic name that would be severely devalued if it was placed on an entry-level Corvette. The plan to place the "Stingray" name on an entry-level car was abandoned and the name was adopted for the other models.
The Stingray name is synonymous with the 1963-'67 Corvette Stingrays, a timeless design that many car enthusiasts view as a classic.
Edmunds says: An affordable Corvette may be in your future.