View Full Version : [Press] Does Europe need the Vette and XLR?

04-18-03, 03:40 PM
The following editorial appeared in the April 21, 2003, issue of AutoWeek magazine.

Europeans and others, what is your opinion on this issue?

<b>(08:30 April 16, 2003)
<div align="center">Does Europe need the Vette and XLR?</b></div>


WATCHING THE TWO YELLOW—soon to be red, white and blue—C5-Rs of GM’s Corvette Racing team growl around the roads near Le Mans every June is a thing not to be missed. All the German powerhouses are smoothly vacuuming around the circuit winning their classes while the Corvettes really rip it up and make a helluva racket winning theirs. Just once, stand by the pit wall as they barrel down the grandstand stretch between the Ford Chicane and Dunlop Curve and you know that the 7.0-liter “small-block” American V8s are a crucial ingredient to the race experience. Makes one very proud to be an American.

Then why do the 5.7-liter civilian Corvettes always seem so awkward anywhere outside of the North American open road? Not just seeing them in Europe is odd. Driving them there is even odder. Come to think of it, Corvettes look and drive a little like caged whale sharks even in U.S. cities. They are for the expansive suburbs at least, and are at their deftest on straight, wide, expansion strip-free roads with healthy sections of long sweepers. Ideally you also should be allowed access to a drag strip every 100 miles or so just to get the lead out.

That may be the only reason to bring a Corvette to Europe: to be able, every now and again, to cruise at 130 mph for miles and miles without a legal care. The only other reason could be to stand out like a parrot with a cow’s head on. You get noticed in a way that doesn’t necessarily pigeonhole you as a midlife crisis denial case.

But overall, the C5 is a fish out of water in the old country. Leaving them to get brought in one by one by overly moneyed dukes, execs and pop stars seems so much nobler than actually trying super hard to establish respectable volume sales numbers through dealer networks. Now GM is touting the XLR as Cadillac’s big relaunch poster monkey in the EU and it makes me scratch my head. The XLR is a C6 Corvette through and through, and will absolutely do no better a job in Europe than the Corvette ever has or will. In 2002, 758 Corvettes were sold throughout the EU with starting prices that range from $67,000 for the coupe with automatic to $75,000 for a convertible with manual. A 50th anniversary convertible brings $81,000. Woof.

So why the pressure on Corvette or XLR (or CTS) to perform in a market that will never accept it and for which it was never intended? There was a Bitter Coupe prototype by Erich Bitter at this year’s Geneva show that is exactly the car GM should buy for Europe. All the right proportions and sensibilities for the European market were there on a Holden Monaro platform with a Corvette engine, and Bitter has a long history with Opel. Just slap a Caddy badge on it, count the money and call it a day.

Or do more to back Opel’s upper range of cars like the slick new Signum. Or fix all the things that are wrong with the potentially great Opel Speedster/Vauxhall VX220 program. There are several terrific bits of engineering and design that are sputtering along and would seemingly cost a whole bunch less to steer to profit-able volumes than this eternal dream of getting more Europeans into Corvettes and Cadillacs. Ain’t gonna happen.

Europeans are getting much better product these days. Build quality is high throughout the range, usually better than on the average North American car, and Euro execs just plain know the Euro customer at every wage level far better than Cadillac or Chevy ever can. GM needs to drop this whole pipe dream in favor of a smarter plan.

04-18-03, 11:56 PM
lettes see ...... Auto Week.....Matt Davis.......Europe to buy Corvettes or not.......? sounds like battel ship mouth/row boat butt to me. Realy who cares? I would'nt want to force corvettes on them when I dont have all the corvettes I want yet.:booty

04-19-03, 09:16 AM
The absolute FACTS!


Wheelbase: 104.5
Length: 179.7
Width: 73.6
Height: 47.7
Weight: 3115

and ..the much heralded PorscheCarrera GT

Wheelbase: 107.5
Length: 181.5
Width: 75.6
Height: 45.7
Weight 3042
603hp which is sweet!

Price @ 430,000 dollars and the press and sports car enthusiasts around the world can't wait for this baby!

Ok..430 grand..maybe thats nuts..so lets look at the cutting edge Aston Martin AMV8 Vantage..the NEW Aston Martin..with its exciting new aluminum platform structure..truly cutting edge according to the automotive media!

Wheelbase: 102.3
Length 171.1
Width: 73.7
Height: 51.1
Weight 3300 lbs!


All great cars..I just fail to see how the 405 hp Z06 with its similiar dimensions and much less expensive pricing...is not at the very least "RElevant"!

04-19-03, 10:30 AM
Typical EU BS, they got sucked in long ago and expect us to do the same. It’s one of the reasons I don’t buy car magazines anymore. Another reason is that every one they tested was the greatest; when they flopped there was no comment. What we see published in no way tells us about the good people in Europe that may be reading their tripe, and can only dream of owning one. We have the same kind of journalistic crap here more than ever, thank you supreme court.

04-19-03, 02:15 PM
Question: Why are Porsche and Corvettes rased in different classes..... anser: because Porsche's repetably lost against C4'S .
SCCA....... the A stands for Americia but the Porsche prepies said we wont play if we have to rase Corvettes. truth is when they build Porsche's , Corvette is the standard they go buy. It's been that way since 1957.

Midlife crisis denial ? with the Austin Martin you get the gold finger..........:dance

Eu has alot of good things I admit, but the onership for everything a cut above the rest ? "well" I dont think they have a Clue. most of them can't aford to drive

04-19-03, 05:32 PM
Hey there echoecho11!!:Steer

We have a 16 year old Honda.. runs like a top.. just got it out of winter storage. Re-connected the battery and turned the key, once the electric fuel pump stopped clicking, hit the starter and it sprung to life.... does this every year!! Amazes me!

Did the same thing with the Vette.. exactly!! Only difference is, I expect it to do it while the Honda just amazes!

Much prefer things North American... kinda the "where's the jobs and money goin' thing!"

04-19-03, 08:55 PM
When I am out driving my Vette here in Germany I certainly notice the looks. One of the reasons I think is that a Corvette IS so unusual in Europe. Of course, you tend to see more around a US military installation than in other places, go figure.

I do certainly enjoy the speeds at which I can drive my Vette too. It can be enjoyed how it is supposed to be enjoyed. One fact I learned from the Opel dealer where I get mine serviced is that over half of all the Vettes sold in Europe have an automatic tranny. The only reason I can figure, since everyone knows how to drive a manual in Europe, is that Europeans associate an automatic transmission with a luxury car. Some high end German luxo-cruisers are available only WITH automatics.

The poor sales may have more to do with lack of a sales push in Europe than with the price. That same Opel dealer also sells some GM SUVs and Vettes and a couple of other US GM cars. However, I think his volume might be on the low side. US cars, with the exception of the Vette, just aren't seen as prestige cars in Europe the same way as some European cars are seen as prestige in the US. Also, there are no stand alone US GM dealers in Europe. There is only Opel.

Chrysler, on the other hand, has stand alone dealerships in Europe. Chrysler PT cruisers seem to be quite popular as well as Dodge Caravans and Jeep Cherokees.

Maybe if US GM had stand alone dealerships, that might increase sales instead of having them sold at Opel dealers.

Just my 2c worth.

04-19-03, 09:19 PM
Like the old commercial jingle says, "Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet." I say "Let them eat cake," us garrish cowboys will eat up the interstate.

As for the XLR question, aside from platform, the two cars don't really compare and I don't see how one can see it the way it is presented in the article.


04-21-03, 12:02 AM
Sounds like car mag (coffee blotter) drivel. Let's encourage GM to sell Corvettes over there...it could help the import/export trade deficit problem. A Corvette isn't awkward anywhere... it's an American Corvette!!!

04-21-03, 04:20 AM
Originally posted by ROCKETBLOCK
Sounds like car mag (coffee blotter) drivel. Let's encourage GM to sell Corvettes over there...it could help the import/export trade deficit problem. A Corvette isn't awkward anywhere... it's an American Corvette!!!

Rocketblock you make a good point there:beer

The way I see it is if those mag hacks can aford to buy and drive those cars then they are biest and way way way over paid. if they can't then it's a matter of animosity. I buy no means mean to say that there stuff is junk but I do mean to say Corvettes don't take a back seat to them. never did never will because they use the corvette as the standars to beat...... faster than a vette ..... better fit and finish than a vettte........more HP than a vette....... on and on . but you don't hear them say we are building 20,000 of them this year at a price that people can buy and yes drive them every day. I'm a 53 year old mail, I have had 2 corvettes In my life. A red 64 Sting Ray roadster( I was 21 then.) and the 91 coupe I now have. I boght them for myself and love driving them. the 64 and now the 91 are a trill for me to drive
( the red 64 was stolen and stripped back in 73) after raising and providing a home for 2 great children I get my hands on enouf money to buy" MY" dream car and it realy erks me to here some weeny (IE pri--) go of on a rand about me and my going through a mid life crisies because I have a Corvette. I think a person that does that is brainless,crule and does it because they are mean. why else. So for me the ansser to rob's Question about this artical and this persons Idea that there is/ is'ent a market for Corvettes in EU is... it is Insulting and not provocative and does not take a poor EU economy( or world economy) and many other reasonds for it in consederation and insluting me won't change my love for the "AMERICAN CORVETTE":v :Steer

04-23-03, 02:33 PM
I have already read this excerpt on a different site and the more I read it the more I realise that this Matt Davis is a complete halfwit. He should be writing a pram test for Mothers Monthly.
He doesn't know anything about the car, he probably never drove one, he knows nothing about Europe or the UK and his prices are so wrong he must have had his calculator upside down. The car is no more outsize than a BMW 7 series or a Merc. The build quality is fine, I have had three C5's in a row and have had warranty claims only for a broken door mirror on one car and a headlamp lift failure on another. Buyers that I have met are not " overly moneyed dukes, execs and pop stars ", the cars are bought by real people who recognise a supercar icon at a realistic price and don't just dismiss it because it was built the other side of the pond.
I bought my car at 6 month old in Europe for half his quoted figures and feel safe at 155 mph which I did legally in Germany.
Matt, if I were you I'd change drug supplier, you've been on a different trip to any Corvette C5 owner.

05-20-03, 11:39 AM
Its an AMERICAN Dream machine :) lets keep it that way... As for the imports Its funny how many imports we let into our country and the Uk is so stuck up and believe our cars are inferior lol Ive been driving chevys since I was 16. from vegas to monzas chevelles camaros and even had a 70 SS nova 4 speed :). they dont know what a real car is all about over there. plus look at their streets(well alleys) they need those little weenie cars lol plus all the car shows I go to DONT have a very big selection of OLD or CLASSIC imports for a reason they are throw away cars thats all :) LONG LIVE GM