By on November 1, 2019

When Porsche introduced the Cayenne, the SUV was met with a sea of laughter. No one had attempted a sports-oriented utility vehicle before; on paper, the idea sounded totally daft. Yet Porsche quickly proved everyone wrong. Sales of the model have remained relatively consistent in both the United States and Europe since its 2002 production launch — paving the way for similar products around the globe.

While most of these models have taken the form of amped-up versions of mainstream SUVs and crossovers, a swell of performance utilities are blurring the line. Ferrari is supposedly working on an SUV called the Purosangue, Lamborghini developed the Urus, and Ford will reveal its “Mustang-inspired” crossover later this month.

During General Motors’ third-quarter earnings call, one analyst wondered if the manufacturer wanted to follow suit with a utility vehicle modeled after the Corvette. Sure, it sounds crazy, but so did those other aforementioned vehicles at one time. 

According to the Detroit Free Press, GM CEO Mary Barra dodged the question as delicately as possible. “I appreciate that you think our Corvette franchise is very strong,” she said on Tuesday.

While we understand Barra doesn’t want to paint the company into a corner, a definitive “not at this juncture” would have sufficed. Instead, she avoided the question by saying the company’s present concerns revolve around getting the C8 into dealerships.

From the Free Press:

GM is focused on launching the 2020 Corvette Stingray, said Barra. It’s the first-ever Corvette with its engine mounted behind the passenger — a midengined layout. GM was supposed to start building it next month, but as the Free Press reported, that will be delayed because of the UAW’s nationwide six-week strike.

An SUV variant of a Corvette would be a first — sort of. Other performance brands are venturing into that space.

Frankly, a Corvette-based SUV is difficult to envision. How Ford plans to pull off Mustang-ifying a four-door crossover leaves us scratching our heads, but the Stingray only amplifies those questions. It’s an absolutely terrible shape for a utility vehicle and has an engine in the worst place imaginable, now that Chevrolet has swapped to an MR layout.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of future products jacking its style. The new Blazer has precious little to do with the Chevy Camaro, yet the design influence is obvious. Maybe GM would do something like that with the C8 Corvette — though it still sounds like an automotive abomination.

While there’s no evidence to suggest General Motors has such a car under consideration, it’s hard to imagine the idea hasn’t been brought up. The automaker could simply be waiting to see how the public responds to Ford’s Mock E (or whatever they’re calling it) before revisiting the idea … assuming it’s a success.

“We look at a variety of things as we go forward and we recognize the strength of the Corvette brand,” said Barra.

Sometimes it’s okay to just say no. Outside of that one analyst, it’s doubtful many people are clamoring for a rock-crawling ‘Vette. If you have evidence to the contrary, we’d love to hear about it.

[Image: General Motors]

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44 Comments on “Just Say No: GM CEO Asked About Possibility of Corvette SUV...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    Already have it, it’s called the Denali. If we’re talking a crossover just say no.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      I remember seeing a Corvette that had been turned into a station wagon. Any ‘Vette SUV would have to be along those lines – but the new mid-engine placement pretty much rules that out.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    GM needs to concentrate on making a decent SUV outside of the Tahoe/Suburban, forget about a “Corvette” SUV

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Ford’s Expeditions are better than the Tahoe/Suburban, and Toyota’s Sequoia beats the both of them in the Tahoe/Expedition class with its refinement, road manners, naturally quiet interior by design, and its all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC 5.7L V8 engine.

      Purely subjective, I understand. But when it comes down to parting with that much money for a depreciating asset, I’d check all of them out before buying the one that brings a smile to my face.

      A guy at my church drives a Nissan Armada and once told me his may be one of the first ones sold in the US but it still puts a smile on his face, even with more that 150K miles on the clock – still has the original plugs in it. Never done anything to it except routine/scheduled maintenance.

      A “Corvette” SUV, like a Porsche Cayenne would have a following, but pricing would have to start at a level outside the realm of most working people’s households.

      If they built it, they will come.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “Ford’s Expeditions are better than the Tahoe/Suburban, and Toyota’s Sequoia beats the both of them in the Tahoe/Expedition class with its refinement, road manners, naturally quiet interior by design, and its all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC 5.7L V8 engine.”

        With that Gas guzzling DOHC V8 and cheap interior, it somehow beats in refinement?

        I don’t think so.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Purely subjective, I understand.”

          And to each his own.

          Who cares about gas guzzling? I don’t. Never have. It’s possible I never will.

          I’m addicted to gas. Prefer driving over walking. Been that way since I got my drivers license.

          I’ll buy gas until I run out of money. Like millions of other Americans will, and do.

          BTW, there was nothing cheap about the interior of my wife’s Sequoia. Like sitting in a leather easy-chair at home.

          • 0 avatar
            thelaine

            Couldn’t agree more, hdc. Give me a powerful, smooth-running, reliable, understressed V8 all day long. I am happy to pay for the gas and turn up the air conditioning. It means I’m not poor anymore.

            Luckily, North America is awash in oil, and gasoline (outside of Commiefornia) is cheap.

            Go ahead and hug a fracker.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            U.S big SUV sales

            thru Sept.
            Tahoe 80,000
            Suburban 41,000
            Yukon 53,000
            Escalade 26,000
            Expedition 67,000
            Navigator 13,000
            thru October
            Armada 27,000
            Infiniti G80 15,000
            Sequoia 8,500
            Land Cruiser 2,600
            Lexus GX 18,000
            Lexus LX 3,600

            The buying public has voted with their dollars, and they say Toyota’s large SUVs Stink.

          • 0 avatar
            87 Morgan

            Couldn’t agree more, hdc. Give me a powerful, smooth-running, reliable, understressed V8 all day long. I am happy to pay for the gas and turn up the air conditioning. It means I’m not poor anymore.

            This totally explains why you see all of those 5.7 DOHC Toyota engine swaps at the drag strip…oh wait you don’t see them running twin turbos on junkyard motors from wrecks making 1000 hp.

            Say what you will, but no one makes a more reliable, easy to use, V8 than GM. The market for new, classic, & race cars have clearly spoken and proven this to be true.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Peter, what you left out is the pricing stratification between everyman’s large SUVs, and Toyota’s large SUVs.

            Were it not for business tax deduction advantages, there’s no way that my father-in-law would have bought that Sequoia as a business vehicle for his daughter to drive. He would have bought another Suburban.

            The price is always what separates the men from the boys.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            87 Morgan, I don’t know if there even are ANY Toyota 5.7L available in the wild to swap.

            GM V8s have been around for many decades, and long blocks at junk yards can be had for as little as $600 (I bought one for a Rebuild&Swap.)

            GM engines and trannies are highest on the list of keepers at junk yards these days. Ford not so much. Fiatsler even less.

            Check out some of the sites on line that deal in “pulled” parts. Good stuff out there. Great pricing compared to new.

          • 0 avatar
            Peter Gazis

            HighDesertcat

            Toyota has set the price of the Sequoia and the Lexus GX very close to that of the Tahoe. The difference in sales is due to Toyota selling sub-standard outdated products.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        ” naturally quiet interior by design, and its all-aluminum, 32-valve, DOHC 5.7L V8 engine.”

        The roller cam 5.3 in my 2007 ‘Hoe buttery smooth. I’ve ridden in a Tundra, with that 5.7. Sounds like it is always working harder than it needs to be. Not as refined or quiet as the the 5.3 in my ‘Hoe. The best V8 you can get in any FS BOF SUV or PU, if your spending my money, is engineered and manufactured by GM.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Carlson Fan, you can’t even hear that Toyota 5.7L running!

          And even under load, climbing a grade at 4000rpm or more, all that can be heard is a soft, distant whine, that is less invasive than an F150 Ecobust.

          My friend Nguyen had one but he ended up trading it for an F250 with a V8, ‘cause that’s just the better truck for his applications.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        The 5.3L GM SUVs aren’t fast enough for me. The 6.2L is awesome but they certainly make you pay for the privilege. Toyota’s engine is fine. I don’t get misty-eyed over it but I don’t grind my teeth over it either. The Armada’s 5.6L is probably my favorite just because it is relatively swift and there is no paywall in getting it.

        IMO, none of the current V8s on offer seem to be particularly “smoother” than other competing V8s and if it came down to it I’d rather have power & speed over smoothness anyway. YMMV.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          IIRC, the Armada 5.6 Endurance is an iron-block 32-valve DOHC V8, but I know very little else about it. It’s sturdy and been known to last a very long time in real use.

          What made the Tundra 5.7L All-Aluminum so special was that Toyota used Mercedes-developed technology and nicasil-alloy to prevent block warping, then slapped Lexus 460 32-valve DOHC heads on it, squeezed 381 horses out of it over a wide power band, and still managed to keep the engine understressed.

          Remarkable feat the automotive press went wild over in 2007.

          No wonder Toyota isn’t going to screw with a good thing.

          Not long after that we saw GM incorporate many of those Mercedes/Toyota cues into their newly redesigned 4.3L and 5.3L engines (which truly are the best that GM has to offer.)

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    OK, but offer a factory package including:
    – Fully-loaded his-and-hers/yours-and-mine C8’s
    – Top-of-the-range Silverado 3500 HD, fully decked out for towing
    – Top-of-the-line enclosed and equipped trailer painted to match Silverado, with custom Chevrolet/Corvette graphics

    Add up the separate retail cost of the components and add $50,000 to arrive at the package MSRP. Give it a catchy name and some promotional tie-ins. (Examples: Large Yeti cooler with matching graphics. Track-time certificates at various courses. Meet and greet with Chevrolet/Corvette influencers/designers/celebrities. Numbered signed limited-edition coffee table book detailing the development of the C8.)

    Trust me.

  • avatar
    thornmark

    they could call it
    the

    CheVETTE

    no, wait

  • avatar
    hausjam

    They just released the Blazer. Give it a ttv6, fortify the drivetrain and they would sell as many as they could build. But that’s never gonna happen.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Yeah, could be built in Bowling Green alongside the C8, just like when they built the XLR Cadillac! Build it in the USA !!!!

  • avatar
    redgolf

    Keep it in the GM Family – it would draw more families to the Corvette Museum! Mom , Dad, gotta have one!!! ;-)

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    “When Porsche introduced the Cayenne, the SUV was met with a sea of laughter.”

    I’m still laughing. The idea of a sport crossover is still ridiculous. What changed? No matter how hard the media tries, the Explorer ST and Edge ST are not serious performance vehicles.

    • 0 avatar
      snakebit

      Same with the Jeep Sport and Jeep SRT- emblems that can climb boulders. No Corvette or Mustang SUV for me, I have a new small one(RAV4) and it’s four cylinders gets me from my snow-bound 5,000 foot altitude home to my sisters at 6,500 feet just fine in the winter, without a V8 or ‘Armada’ flag. Like dating a overweight girl in your early twenties, you’re concerned with what your friends think. When you start nearing your thirties, you’re only concerned with what you personally feel about her. Likewise, I don’t buy a car to park in the driveway to prove anything to my neighbors-I’m perfectly fine with my station in life- don’t need a Navigator Black Label or Cayenne, though I’m glad for Ford’s and Porsche’s sake that these things are helping to keep the lights on at their respective factories.

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        Yup, I feel the same as you. While I do not like SUVs and CUVs, and think the sporty versions are particularly silly, a lot of people disagree. I can handle that if it keeps Americans employed building them and the economy rolling. Keep buying ’em and keep pumping ’em out! I’ll just buy a car myself. There are some good ones still around, and then there will be the used car market if those ever vanish.

        My concern is that there’s too many eggs being put into this basket by the domestics. While foreign automakers are wisely sticking with economy cars and sedans, despite the numbers going down, it seems Ford, GM, and to a lesser extent FCA are all-in on the trend going on forever. So when the trend does turn, and history tells us it will, then these major companies may have a hard time adjusting. We’ve heard that song before! Then the burden will land on the taxpayer.

        I think the longer the SUV/CUV trend lasts, the worse the ultimate impact will be, given that GM and Ford are no longer building any brand equity on the passenger car side. If this goes on, say, 10 more years, people won’t even think of Ford and GM as “car” makers. They’ll not only have to spin on a dime and design and build competitive cars, they’ll have to convince people to buy them over, say, an Accord, which will be two “generations” ahead of them. That’ll take a lot of taxpayer money to subsidize!

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    Who would want a two-seat. fiberglass bodied, mid-engined SUV?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Branding. They’ll take a Daewoo powered by an I3 and call it Corvette Bel Air or something and proles will eat it up.

    • 0 avatar
      Peter Gazis

      namesakeone

      Modern Corvettes use Carbon Fiber and high strength steel not fiberglass.

      • 0 avatar
        ravenuer

        Corvettes aren’t made of fiberglass anymore?

        • 0 avatar
          ToolGuy

          ravenuer,
          In 1973 the Corvette’s body “changed from conventional fiberglass to sheet-molded composite, or SMC”. The composition has continued to evolve since then (it is potentially confusing because the earlier SMC did contain some glass fibers). This article from 2012 (straight from GM) goes into more depth:
          https://tinyurl.com/y3spyktb

          Peter Gazis,
          The answer to this is “it’s complicated” – but it is extremely misleading to say ‘carbon fiber and steel’ – there is much more aluminum than steel, and relatively limited carbon fiber. There is a diagram at this link which shows *part* of the materials composition of the 2020 Corvette:
          https://tinyurl.com/yxkmzhmz

  • avatar
    thelaine

    People have said that the Cayenne saved Porsche. I think a Corvette SUV is a great idea, along with an affordable little lightweight Miata-like Corvette roadster. Unfortunately, if GM did it, they would screw it up so comprehensively that they would destroy the brand. GM should stick to the single world-class thing they still do: Corvette.

    Maybe some day GM could take lessons learned from the excellent Corvette team and apply them to Cadillac (or maybe they should just chill at the martini bar and take another bailout – it’s easier).

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Wow – something I agree 100% with you! I suspect GM would take an existing SUV, and give it Corvette “bits” of styling and add 25HP. No thanks. If you are going to do it, follow the mold of what Porsche did. But that costs real money and GM will not make that gamble. No way.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    There is absolutely zero chance of me ever buying a Corvette.

    There is a small chance that I’d buy a C7 Corvette or Mustang GT that received some kind of “Outback” treatment.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    If Corvette makes a crossover I will be the first to buy one! I am sure it will be like the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and BMW X5M in terms of seating and performance.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    “Corvette” needs to spin off into its own brand. Then it can do all the SUVs it wants.

    The Corvette is supposed to be a halo car (loss leader, write-off, etc) for Chevy and there’s not a Bowtie on it anywhere or Chevrolet mention, which is appallingly stupid. It might as well be its own brand.

  • avatar

    So a bunch of years ago (2010) I was invited to an ///M Power Tour event. There were the various M cars for a 30 min spin on local roads, and a presentation. I asked the speaker, someone from M, why they made an M X5….it didn’t seem to be a sports car (ah we were so young, and cared about such things)….his answer was that they’d noted many of their best customers had “another car” in the Garage (the Porsche SUV) and that there was absolutely no reason BMW shouldn’t get that sale.

    Case Closed.

    GM has shown itself slow off the mark…hey, VW finally came out with a big SUV, 15 years late. Expect an ICE Corvette SUV at about the time that electrics take over the market…

  • avatar
    markf

    “Expect an ICE Corvette SUV at about the time that electrics take over the market…”

    So never

  • avatar
    Spartan

    This would print money for GM if executed correctly. I think they should. Give us an Escalade Sport while you’re at it. I’ve been waiting on that to come to fruition for years.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      DeLorenzo at Autoextremist has been pushing this idea for years, and deserves credit for it. I agree with Spartan and others here that it’s an idea whose time has come.

      At one time, I was vehemently opposed to this. But it’s hard to argue that an SUV is unsuited for a sports car brand when Porsche, Lambo and Ferrari have one.

      There’s nothing that says the SUV would have to be mid-engined just because the sports car is. The Cayenne and Macan are front-engine even though the Cayman/Boxster is mid-engine and the 911 is rear-engine. The outgoing ‘Vette gives GM a front-engine platform that would instantly become an extremely capable CUV with a 4-inch lift and a 4-door hatchback restyle. Voila. No, it wouldn’t keep up with the new coupe, but it wouldn’t have to. The Cayenne doesn’t keep up with the 911, either. So what?

      The fact is, exactly as at Porsche, that car brands don’t exist to win the approval of car geek sites. They are businesses that keep the lights on by selling product and receiving checks. And there are simply several times more people writing those checks now for SUVs than for 700-hp two-seat coupes.

  • avatar

    I used to think differently, but the SUV should be called the Urban Assault Vehicle. Living in the NYC metro area, you get places you can go fast, in bits. When you can’t you are in traffic and need power for the occasional opportunity. So, something with more power than 90% of the traffic cluster, plus the ability to see (mama likes the high up part) plus road that just suck, mean that a classic sportscar is not the ideal vehicle. Oh, a few miles north and in some of the parks and farmer’s lanes, I love some low profile, low slung and peaky power, but in the city, you need invincible 0-50 with occasional ability to hit 80, while digesting potholes that eat low profiles and runflats for breakfast and laugh.

    Mama’s next car will be an UAV, with power.

    There are a lot of folk in the Green Leafy Burbs like this. Why leave the $ for someone else.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Like with sedans, a CUV “with power” is not the same thing as a “Sport CUV” though. It sounds like your wife would be more interested in something like a reborn 9-7x Aero or a 6.2L Yukon or a 2.7T Nautilus instead of a “utility Corvette”.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I don’t get this class of car but they are sure popular among very, very rich people in rich places. The fiftysomething finance industry multimillionaires around here all seem to drive either X5 Ms or the hi-po variants of the Cayenne. But I don’t know (1) whether, even after the C8, “Corvette” is a brand that can attract that type of spender or (2) whether GM can cost-effectively develop a FR-platform SUV in the style of the X5 or Cayenne. I think they would have to take the CT6’s Omega platform and raise it, an expensive proposition. I think it’s telling that Cadillac declined to do so and released a blinged-up Acadia instead.

  • avatar
    GoNavy99

    Odd article.

    First, it was BMW – not Porsche – which should be given credit for coming out with the first “Sports Activity Vehicle” (or whatever you want to call it) with the X5 way back in the early 2000’s.

    Second, we don’t have a “911 SUV,” you have an “SUV by Porsche.” By that measure, GM is doing just fine with its “SUVs by GM,” so no need for a “Corvette SUV.”


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