Earlier this afternoon, the Corvette Engineering Team took to the Zoom stage to announce current 2021 Corvette and 2022 Corvette production highlights
Every year, the National Corvette Museum holds their annual “Bash” in late April and one of the many highlights of the event has always been the presentation given by the Corvette Engineering team.
Instead of an in-person seminar like they usually do, this year Tadge Juechter, Harlan Charles and Josh Holder held a Zoom meeting-presentation for in-person attendees and online followers.
2021 Corvette Preliminary Numbers
There’s no questioning that the COVID pandemic has had a dramatic impact on 2021 Corvette production, but that didn’t stop the Corvette Engineering team from sharing production numbers and trends to date.
The images below are screenshots from their Zoom presentation so the resolution may not be the best:
As expected, the coupe is the primary model built for the 2021 Corvette model year, but what’s interesting to note here, is that convertible production took a huge jump. In fact, according to Harlan Charles, we haven’t seen Corvette convertible production this high since the early 1960s.
To me, this isn’t surprising. The C8 coupe is beautiful in its own right, but there’s something about the convertible that really gives this generation of Corvette an incredibly beautiful, exotic appearance.
I’ve never personally been a convertible kind of guy and love the additional structural rigidity that comes with a coupe while being able to remove the roof panel and still get that convertible feel. However, when the hard-top convertible was introduced in late 2020, something changed in me. For the first time ever, I felt lust for a convertible! I attribute it to the design of those nacelles and the overall lines of the convertible over the coupe.
Select the option for black nacelles and carbon flash roof and I’d be hard-pressed to select a coupe over a hard-top convertible if I was ordering a new Corvette.
However, the number one complaint I hear with the C8 convertible is that you can’t see the engine like you can with coupe. Many customers that come into a Chevy dealer showroom and want to see the engine are disappointed when you have to explain to them that in order to do so, you have to open the roof half way and remove a huge panel that hides the engine.
Unfortunately when you do – you’ll want to immediately put the cover back on. It’s not pretty!
I’d love to see the Corvette team re-engineer that section of the convertible. One of the highlights of the coupe for me is being able to see the engine – especially if it’s optioned with the Engine Appearance Package and the Edge Red Engine Cover.
2021 Corvette Color Production Stats
Torch Red was the most popular color for the 2020 Corvette model year and thus far, it appears that it will remain the #1 color for the 2021 model year as well.
What’s surprising to me is that Arctic White is coming in at 14% with Red Mist just underneath at 13%. Based upon what I’ve seen at the dealer level with incoming orders and customer feedback, Red Mist is definitely in high demand, and one of my favorite colors.
It will be interesting to see the final production numbers at the end of the 2021 run. My prediction: Red Mist just might overtake Arctic White!
As for interior color options, not surprisingly, Jet Black is at the top of the pack with Sky Cool Gray / Strike Yellow at the very bottom and tied with Morello Red.
I’m actually surprised that the Morello Red Dipped interior isn’t more popular. I was absolutely shocked when I first saw this interior color in person.
I was always a huge fan of the Ruby Red 40th Anniversary package that debuted on the 1993 Corvette. The Ruby Red interior gave the C4 Corvette an incredibly beautiful and luxurious appearance inside, and this is exactly what the Morello Red Dipped interior does for the C8 Corvette.
The color combined with the Nappa grade leather and suede accent interior is like something you would expect to see in an Aston Martin. Beautifully done!
However, feedback that I’ve heard on the dealership level is that it’s too much red.
If I was configuring my perfect C8 Corvette, it would be a convertible with black nacelles, Silver Flare with Morello Red Dipped interior with Edge Red hash marks, and Edge Red brake calipers behind Spectra Gray wheels. Swoon…
2021 Corvette Market Segment
While many critics were quick to point out that the Corvette was no longer a sub-$60,000 car when Chevrolet announced the $1,000 price increase at the beginning of March, there’s no denying that the Corvette continues to rank at the top of the luxury sport car segment for a second consecutive year in a row.
This can be attributed to the overall exterior design of the C8 Corvette as well as the incredible quality of the interior.
When the C7 Corvette generation debuted, it was a giant leap forward from the C6 generation in terms of design and quality. While I love the C7’s interior and the quality of the materials used, it still lacked that overall polish and feel of the competition when it came to the quality of plastic and carpeting used in the interior.
That is all gone with the C8. Even in a base 1LT Corvette, the quality of the interior is right up there with the competition.
What’s interesting to note here is that one of the top comments I hear from dealers is that a much larger percentage of people coming into showrooms to check out the C8 Corvette, are long time Porsche fans. In some conversations I’ve had with those customers, they sold or traded in their Porsche to buy their first Corvette. That speaks volumes given how hard-core owners are for the Porsche marque.
That brings us to the question of current Corvette demographics:
This slide presented by the Corvette Team isn’t a surprise to me. Based upon discussions I’ve had with customers coming into the showroom, the C8 Corvette is not only attracting a younger demographic, but it’s attracting a demographic of people that always balked at the marque.
When the V8 engine found its way beneath the hood of a Corvette in 1955, the Corvette’s Godfather, Zora Arkus-Duntov proudly proclaimed that the Corvette was “a dog no more”. Given the mid-engine configuration and the ability of the C8 Corvette to take on the competition on all fronts including performance and quality, I’m confident that he’d feel the same way about the 2021 Corvette.
What’s New for the 2022 Corvette
As I reported yesterday, three new colors will be available for the 2022 model year. Click on the images below for a larger view:
Not much more was revealed about the new colors during the presentation today, however, Josh Holder, who has been promoted to Vehicle Chief Engineer (Congrats Josh!), had some interesting comments about a couple of the colors.
While I’m sure the pictures available by Chevrolet don’t do them justice, I was correct in saying that the new Amplify Orange is much more vivid. In fact, according to Josh and Harlan Charles, it’s extremely bright and “in your face”, much like Rapid Blue is. Admittedly, I’m not a huge fan of orange for a car, but it will be interesting to see this new color in person.
What really has my interest piqued is the new Caffeine metallic color (and not just because I’m a coffee junkie). Josh Holder made a comment about the color: it’s a “coppery brown”.
Personally, I loved Zeus Bronze Metallic, but after Josh’s comment today, I’m quite intrigued about this new color over the others.
In 1994, the Corvette Team tried their hand at RPO 66U “Copper Metallic”. At that time, I was hearing rumors that it was probably going to be a limited production color because they were having major issues with the paint process for that color. According to reports, it was difficult getting an even layer of metallic to show over some of the Corvette’s body panels, and it wasn’t uncommon to see “runs” in the paint on some panels.
Sure enough, in late 1993, I walked into a Chevy dealer that had just taken delivery of a brand new 1994 Copper Metallic Corvette. In the center of driver’s door was a run of metallic flake that appeared like a long tear drop. Regardless, the color was absolutely stunning. To this day, it’s one of my favorite colors to ever grace the body of a Corvette and when walking the field at Corvettes at Carlisle, I still gasp whenever I’m fortunate to see one in person. Because of these quality issues, only 116 Corvettes were built in Copper Metallic.
If there was one color I’d love to see make a return Corvette, Copper Metallic would be it.
Along with the new colors, the Corvette Team announced a new rear spoiler option:
The only other major news about the 2022 model year released by the Corvette Team is a new low-profile spoiler option. This spoiler is meant to be a “go-between” the Z51 spoiler and the base model without a spoiler. If you don’t want to order the full Z51 performance and appearance package, you can still add a little extra bling to the back-end of your Corvette with this option.
The question weighing on everyone’s minds is when will 2021 production end and 2022 production begin. While the Corvette Team didn’t provide any definitive dates, there are currently just over 11,000 2021 orders in the system waiting to be built. GM has every intent on building all of those 2021 orders.
With that said, 2022 Corvette ordering information should be released to dealers sometime in July and Chevrolet is hoping to release an online 2022 Corvette configurator some time before that.
To wind down the Corvette Team’s presentation, attendees at the NCM Bash were able to step up to the podium and ask the team a few questions.
As expected, the question of a Z06 model came up. Unfortunately, the Corvette Team does not talk about future products and from a competition standpoint, understandably so.
However, a couple interesting questions were raised about the integration of adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
When it comes to cruise control – I’ve probably used that feature on my own cars less than a handful of times. I understand that some people love it, but for me, I love driving. I love being…”in-tune” with my vehicle and an active driver. Maybe if I was driving miles upon miles of open highway in Nevada, I might utilize the option. However, knowing my driving habits, it’s highly unlikely.
Regardless, people love it and Tadge Juechter explained that they explore the possibility of integrating the system, but the size and technology of the sensors needed at the time the C8 Corvette was being designed would have dramatically changed the sleek front-end profile of the car. With the speed or progression with today’s technology, it’s certainly not out of question for a future Corvette, but thankfully, it was left out with the introduction of the C8.
I say “thankfully” because it’s one option, I’d have no use for. I like the fact that the Corvette Engineering team is doing everything they can to try to keep the curb weight down, while keeping the performance and luxury standard of the brand up.
The Corvette is a sports car. It’s meant to be engaging and fun to drive. It’s meant to thrill the senses. To me – cruise control just disengages the driver from the main point of the automobile. If it’s a Cadillac CT6, or Bentley – fine, but keep the Corvette a driver’s car. Keep it sporty and entertaining!
The next interesting question was about the possibility of integrating rain-sensing wipers. This is a feature that I totally support, although Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter felt otherwise.
He explained that the majority of Corvette owners don’t necessarily like surprises in their Corvettes and that automatic rain sensing wipers might be intrusive to some owners and the sensor required in the rear view mirror “box” area in the upper portion of the windshield poses a packaging issue.
I don’t agree.
It’s no secret that my daily driver has been a BMW for the last 10 years. I’ve owned three generations over that time period and each one had rain-sensing windshield wipers. I absolutely love them. Being a daily driver, they’re basically a much needed necessity. I they intrusive sometimes – sure, once in a while they are, but to me, they make the driving overall driving experience that much better.
I don’t have to keep tapping the damn wiper arm every time it drizzles and contrary to Tadge’s stalactite comment, I don’t find the rear-view mirror box in my BMW to be intrusive with my line of vision out of the windshield.
In my opinion, I think that rain-sensing wipers would be an excellent addition to the overall Corvette driving experience – especially given that the Corvette Engineering team has gone to great lengths to make today’s Corvette an everyday driving machine.
BMW’s motto has always been “the ultimate driving machine”. This is exactly what I want the Corvette to be.
While options like adaptive cruise control are completely useless to someone like me – rain sensing wipers would be a huge plus if I was shopping for a sports car.
In closing, I would like to thank Tadge Juechter, Harlan Charles and Josh Holder for their presentation today.
One of the great things about Corvette has always been the ability to interact with the engineers who have first-hand experience engineering and building the car we all know and love.
I’ve been involved with the Corvette for about 30 years now (ugh, I feel old…) and I’ve met some of the most amazing people that have been Corvette Engineers since the early years of the C4 generation.
I’ve had incredible discussions and email exchanges with people from the Corvette Team such as Zora Arkus-Duntov, Dave McLellan, Dave Hill, Jim Ingle and Harlan Charles. The ability to have talked to these folks who play(ed) a major role in the development of an iconic brand like the Corvette is something that you will never find in another automobile manufacturer.