Corvette has a future but maybe a lighter, greener one

Rick Kranz
Automotive News
January 21, 2008 - 12:01 am ET

DETROIT The Chevrolet Corvette will live on despite tougher fuel economy rules. But the redesigned car, expected in about 2012, could be lighter and smaller than today's Corvette.

And the V-8 that powers the Corvette of the future may be smaller than the one used today.

"I don't think we're going to design a 700-hp Corvette," Tom Wallace, vehicle line executive for the Corvette, said here at the auto show.

"What's going to be more important is fuel economy, carbon footprint and green. We have already paid a lot of attention to those areas. Where we can pay more attention is pounds per horsepower."

Two engines are offered for the 2008 model year, a 430-hp 6.2-liter V-8 and a 505-hp 7.0-liter V-8. The 2009 ZR1 features a 620-plus hp supercharged 6.2-liter V-8.

Wallace won't talk about specifics of the next-generation Corvette. But he said if the car's weight was dropped by 300 to 400 pounds and a 4.7-liter V-8 is offered with 150 fewer horsepower than the 2008 models, the "pounds per horsepower are the same."

Wallace said he envisions a Corvette that is "more fuel efficient ... even nimbler than it was before. But he said no decision has been made about horsepower or engine size.

The 2009 ZR1 will have a top speed over 200 mph.

Rather than trying to top those performance numbers, Wallace said: "I think we need to say, 'We reached performance levels that are pretty good. Let's maintain those and improve fuel economy.' "