Ten General Motors Co. studios across the globe are vying for the chance to have their designs used for the next-generation Chevrolet Corvette. In late 2009, Ed Welburn, GM's vice president of global design, sent out the invitations seeking for design proposals.
Welburn said that there were a lot to choose from and that there were a few that "were absolutely phenomenal." So far, the decision has yet to be made.
GM is looking to receive global input in deciding on the Corvette's design in order to appeal to European buyers who don't find the car appealing and to US buyers who prefer imports.
In an interview at the Geneva Motor Show, Welburn said that the company is having difficulty with raising sales in the US. He also revealed that the average age of the customer is increasing.
According to the Power Information Network, a unit of J.D. Power and Associates, the current average age of a Corvette buyer is 54. In 2009, only 13,934 cars were sold, a 48% drop from 2008.
The current Corvette debuted in the 2005 model year. The base coupe is priced from $49,880 while the ZR-1 costs about $107,830. Prices are inclusive of shipping costs. Industry sources reveal that a redesign will be done in two to three years.
Criticism on the Corvette had mostly been about its big size and its cheap-looking interior. Welburn addresses these comments, saying that the interior would have to be better and that to do so, there would have to be improved execution and materials used.
Welburn pointed out that the current Corvette has the same size as the Porsche 911, but because of its styling, it is perceived to be bigger.
He added that the company aims for a design that "feels trimmer, meaner" to match the car's "incredible performance." The company is also looking into the car's styling, content, pricing and marketing strategy. [via autonews]