Side profile of 2023 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 in Amplify Orange Tint parked on a cloudy day.
Chevrolet announced that the Corvette moniker, which for decades has been synonymous solely with the company’s flagship sports car, is being transformed into its own sub-brand of automobiles. While this news may catch many Corvette devotees by surprise (and may upset some of us), there are good reasons for this decision.
Chevrolet Plans to Transform Corvette Into Its Own Brand in 2025
The next move for GM with its valued Corvette nameplate will be to launch a Corvette subbrand.
The Corvette “brand” will include a four-door “coupe” and a sporty high-performance crossover to partner with the upcoming two-seater Corvette EV.
The new Corvette lineup will be positioned well above its rivals, such as a future trio of electric Mustangs.
For starters, the Corvette moniker has become one of the automotive industry’s “most heralded and valued nameplates.” The Corvette marquee has continued to gain ever-increasing popularity since its introduction in the 1950s, to the extent that the Corvette has its own museum, its own assembly plant, and countless aftermarket parts and merchandise distributors whose sole focus is to offer consumers products ranging from car parts, to clothing, to collectibles, to Corvette furniture, jewelry, cutlery, and much, much more. Moreover, Corvette’s return to racing in the early 2000s has resulted in a huge draw at race events across the United States, to say nothing of the national attention the team receives at events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Since the introduction of the eighth-generation mid-engine Corvette Stingray in 2020, the Corvette brand has expanded its offerings to the all-new Z06 and has also promised several additional iterations of the beloved sports car, including a possible E-Ray hybrid, an insanely powerful ZR1, and an even more powerful Zora hybrid, the last of which carries the unique moniker of the Corvette’s famous “godfather,” Zora Arkus-Duntov. There are even rumors of a Corvette EV in the foreseeable future.
While all of the above are variants of the traditional two-seat sports car, the multiple variants do suggest that the Corvette is capable of providing consumers with alternate offerings, and those consumers are hungry to invest in each. However, all of these examples share a common limitation – they are ALL two-seat sports cars that limit the usefulness of the vehicle and, as a result of this limitation, narrow the prospective customer base who might consider purchasing one.
Which leads to the heart of this article.
IN 2025, GM plans to transform the Corvette marquee into its own brand. As part of this transformation, the company looks to introduce a four-door coupe and an SUV crossover (akin to the Porsche Macan/Cayenne, the Ferrari Purosangue, and the Lamborghini Urus.) It has been reported that both of these future “Corvettes” will be EVs.
Now before “traditional” Corvette enthusiasts begin rioting, consider this: In 2024, the Chevrolet Camaro will be retired from General Motors’ lineup, due in large part to its poor sales numbers. While the Camaro was first introduced in 1967 to compete with the immensely popular Ford Mustang, the Camaro brand has frequently suffered from poor sales numbers despite ever-increasing efforts to improve its performance and build quality. Simply put, there are fewer automotive consumers who have the disposable income to invest in a car that has limited seating and functionality.
The same could be said about the Corvette. Fortunately, Chevrolet recognizes the incredible legacy that the Corvette represents. As a result, the company is looking for ways to improve the brand’s long-term viability without eliminating its flagship sports car from future production.
Let’s explore this for a minute.
Yes, the Corvette has been an image builder for 70 years. It has been a marquee that countless car enthusiasts have aspired to own in the course of their lifetimes. At the same time, car prices have soared ever higher, making the affordability of an “impractical” sports car difficult-to-impossible for many potential consumers, especially those with a young family who might need the added seating afforded by a four-door car, or even an SUV.
Porsche recognized this reality nearly twenty years ago and pioneered alternate vehicle offerings, including the Porsche Panamera, the Porsche Cayenne, and more recently, the Porsche Macan and Tacan models. Collectively, these vehicles proved very successful for the Porsche brand, counting for more than three quarters (80%) of all Porsches sold in 2021. By comparison, the Porsche 911 and the 718 (Boxster and Cayman), accounted for the remaining 20%, which is only a small percentage of the total brand penetration in the marketplace.
Of course, building a Corvette brand is going to require that the products introduced under that brand maintain the same high standards that consumers have come to expect from Chevrolet’s flagship sports car. These new entries will have to be more than just a Corvette in name only. Each entrant will need to be “best in class” – be it a four-door sports coupe, an SUV, a pickup truck, or an EV hypercar.
To quote the article originally published in Car and Driver magazine: “The pivotal starting point is a redefined, unique DNA that shouts “Corvette” in terms of design and driving dynamics. The switch to the Ultium battery platform allows the keepers of the brand to reimagine the proportions, stance, and engineering—or to adhere to the trademark elements which shaped the American sports car icon from the ’50s to the present day.”
The first design proposals have already been created, at least according to a source with General Motors. Said source (who had not been identified at this time), states that the new proposals are “copies of nothing,”, and that each captures “the encapsulated emotional purity” synonymous with Corvette. Nonetheless, recognizing the Corvette as a brand, and not simply as a sports car is going to present a unique set of challenges for those of us who have pursued Corvette ownership for most of our adult lives. For many, the addition of alternate offerings may appear to dilute the exclusivity of the Corvette marquee. For a great many more, however, it may present an opportunity to purchase a Corvette that provides an exhilarating driving experience while also providing practicality that a two-door sports car simply doesn’t provide.
From my perspective, Chevrolet’s decision to expand the Corvette offerings beyond their traditional two-doors sports car doesn’t bother me. Harley Earl, the father of the Corvette, envisioned the Corvette as its own brand when he introduced the original Corvette Corvair and Corvette Nomad in 1954. Had the Corvette been more successful when first introduced, it is entirely possible that the Corvette would have resulted in an entire fleet of different vehicles from its start.