Corvette Drops to 50-Year Sales Low as Sports Cars Sputter, Reports Edmunds'

Corvette Drops to 50-Year Sales Low as Sports Cars Sputter, Reports Edmunds'


Corvette Drops to 50-Year Sales Low as Sports Cars Sputter, Reports Edmunds'

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — January 21, 2010 — Corvette sales in 2009 were the worst for the nameplate since 1961. The precedent-setting sales decline of the Chevy Corvette could be construed as a simple symptom of a tough economy, but Edmunds' wonders if it is a potential indicator of a broader decline in interest for sports cars.

"Sports cars sales were down 17.8 percent from 2008 while the industry overall was down 21.2 percent; however, the return of the Chevy Camaro made all the difference for the segment," noted Senior Analyst Jessica Caldwell. "Over 60,000 Camaros were sold last year, and many of the buyers are unlikely to have chosen another sports car in its place had it not been on the market."

The Corvette, which slid 48.3 percent, was the third best selling sports car in 2008, consuming about 6.6 percent of the categories' market share. Web site metrics indicate that the Camaro was the Corvette's most frequently cross-shopped competitor. The last time fewer Corvettes were sold in a year was 1961, when the car was still in its first generation. As recently as 2006, Chevrolet sold more than two-and-a-half times as many Corvettes — 36,518 — as it did last year.

One high-ranking General Motors official told that he was not necessarily surprised by the Corvette's near half-century low sales figure in 2009. He said the Corvette is priced at the more affordable end of the segment, and as such has a higher ratio of aspirational buyers more likely to be affected by the country's economic downturn.

Here's how some other sports cars fared in the comparison of 2009 versus 2008 total sales:

  • The Porsche 911 dropped 17.8 percent last year, while Porsche's Boxster and Cayman were off 36.0 percent and 44.0 percent, respectively, in 2009.
  • The Audi TT — a comparatively new design — fell 56.9 percent last year to just 1,935 sales for the year. Even sales for Audi's R8, launched in 2008 and revered for being a relative bargain, dropped by 22.3 percent.
  • At Mercedes, sales for the SLK plunged 48.1 percent to 2,566, and sales for the pricey SL were off 26.3 percent.
  • The Dodge Viper, which the Chrysler Group LLC announced would cease production later this year, fell 58.9 percent last year and just 482 were sold.

About Edmunds Inc. ( Inc. publishes four Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders., the premier online resource for automotive consumer information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site. Inside Line is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. CarSpace is an automotive social networking Web site. provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Inc. is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow on Twitter @edmunds and fan on Facebook at

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