Just Say No: GM CEO Asked About Possibility of Corvette SUV
When Porsche introduced the Cayenne, the SUV was met with a sea of laughter. No one had attempted a sports-oriented utility vehicle before; on paper, the idea sounded totally daft. Yet Porsche quickly proved everyone wrong. Sales of the model have remained relatively consistent in both the United States and Europe since its 2002 production launch — paving the way for similar products around the globe.
While most of these models have taken the form of amped-up versions of mainstream SUVs and crossovers, a swell of performance utilities are blurring the line. Ferrari is supposedly working on an SUV called the Purosangue, Lamborghini developed the Urus, and Ford will reveal its “Mustang-inspired” crossover later this month.
During General Motors’ third-quarter earnings call, one analyst wondered if the manufacturer wanted to follow suit with a utility vehicle modeled after the Corvette. Sure, it sounds crazy, but so did those other aforementioned vehicles at one time.
According to the Detroit Free Press, GM CEO Mary Barra dodged the question as delicately as possible. “I appreciate that you think our Corvette franchise is very strong,” she said on Tuesday.
While we understand Barra doesn’t want to paint the company into a corner, a definitive “not at this juncture” would have sufficed. Instead, she avoided the question by saying the company’s present concerns revolve around getting the C8 into dealerships.
From the Free Press:
GM is focused on launching the 2020 Corvette Stingray, said Barra. It’s the first-ever Corvette with its engine mounted behind the passenger — a midengined layout. GM was supposed to start building it next month, but as the Free Press reported, that will be delayed because of the UAW’s nationwide six-week strike.
An SUV variant of a Corvette would be a first — sort of. Other performance brands are venturing into that space.
Frankly, a Corvette-based SUV is difficult to envision. How Ford plans to pull off Mustang-ifying a four-door crossover leaves us scratching our heads, but the Stingray only amplifies those questions. It’s an absolutely terrible shape for a utility vehicle and has an engine in the worst place imaginable, now that Chevrolet has swapped to an MR layout.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of future products jacking its style. The new Blazer has precious little to do with the Chevy Camaro, yet the design influence is obvious. Maybe GM would do something like that with the C8 Corvette — though it still sounds like an automotive abomination.
While there’s no evidence to suggest General Motors has such a car under consideration, it’s hard to imagine the idea hasn’t been brought up. The automaker could simply be waiting to see how the public responds to Ford’s Mock E (or whatever they’re calling it) before revisiting the idea … assuming it’s a success.
“We look at a variety of things as we go forward and we recognize the strength of the Corvette brand,” said Barra.
Sometimes it’s okay to just say no. Outside of that one analyst, it’s doubtful many people are clamoring for a rock-crawling ‘Vette. If you have evidence to the contrary, we’d love to hear about it.
[Image: General Motors]