It's True - the Mid-Engine Corvette Arrives in 2019: Report
There’s already plenty of evidence of a looming mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette variant, but multiple sources with knowledge of General Motors’ plans now say the near-mythical model will absolutely arrive in early 2019.
Insider sources told The Detroit News that not only will a mid-engine ‘Vette bow in 2019, it will soon be the only Corvette offered by GM.
The report confirms earlier whispers that the Corvette C8 (which carries the codename “Emperor”) will first appear in early 2018, likely during a splashy reveal at the North American International Auto Show in January.
Clues began piling up earlier this year that GM had a shakeup planned for the 63-year-old nameplate. A source in a Car & Driver report from May claimed exactly what the Detroit News report states. In June, spy photos showed an unusually proportioned C7 test mule on a track, alongside other GM vehicles. The rear buttresses and long deck pointed to an engine mounted amidships.
A slew of investments at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Kentucky assembly plant also raised eyebrows. The new funding totaled about $800 million, including $439 million for a new paint shop, and just this past June, $290 million for assembly upgrades and modifications.
GM won’t comment on future products, but the sources say it’s a done deal. One source told The Detroit News, “It’s happening. (GM global product development chief) Mark Reuss wants it,” adding, “It’s the worst-kept secret in town.”
According to the same sources, the C7’s LT1 V8 engine will find a home in the C8 to keep costs down. An earlier report said GM planned to offer a twin-cam V8 as an upgrade sometime after the C8’s debut. They also said that the current C7 lineup will last until 2021, after which the C8 will take over as the only offering.
In the report, former Corvette chief engineer Tom Wallace speculated that aging demographics forced GM to target different buyers — and competitors. “The median age of the Corvette buyer got three years older while I was there, which scared the hell out of us,” he said. Wallace held that post from 2006 to 2008.
Bob Lutz, former GM product development chief, added his two cents to the report. He claimed the recent investment into the Corvette plant almost equals the cash he asked for back in 2007, before his mid-engine Corvette plan bit the dust due to bankruptcy. Because of the long development period, he expects to see a plug-in version and a Cadillac variant.
[Image: General Motors]
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