The Corvette Hits 60

On Sunday General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) unveiled its latest redesign of the iconic Corvette sports car at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit (more often referred to as the Detroit Auto Show). Today, GM will mark the 60th anniversary of Corvette’s January 17, 1953 debut at General Motors’ Motorama in New York City with a visit to the Big Apple by the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray.

In a GM press release, Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet Marketing said: “The all-new 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most advanced and engaging Corvette in the long, prestigious legacy of this uniquely American success story.” and continued “It is a car woven into the fabric of American culture and it got its start right here in the Big Apple.”

The 2014 Corvette, which will go on sale in the third quarter of this year, is the seventh generation ‘Vette. It also revives the “Stingray” designation. The new model will have an estimated 450 horsepower and be able to go from 0 to 60 in under 4 seconds. But it will also be the most fuel-efficient Corvette in history. Both speed and fuel efficiency will be aided by weight-saving materials and innovative engine technologies – the use of advanced technologies having been a hallmark of Corvette from the beginning.

As with most redesigns of an iconic product, reactions have been mixed. That goes with the territory.

For GM, the stakes are high. Although even in good years the number of Corvettes sold is small relative to other popular models, by all accounts its niche is profitable. More important to GM is the rub-off effect on all GM models. Besides creating excitement and luring customers into GM and especially Chevrolet showrooms, a car such as the Corvette represents the company’s engineering prowess and even its soul. Customers can believe that more ordinary models share Corvette’s virtues – which is not entirely unreasonable as cars such as the Corvette serve as laboratories for technologies that often migrate to more ordinary vehicles. The effect of a car such as the Corvette on downstream sales can be significant.

Pricing for the new Corvette has not been revealed, but the company has indicated that it will be in the range of current models. That means that customers can expect prices beginning at about $50,000 and exceeding $100,000 on some configurations.

Happy Birthday Corvette!

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