The first Chevrolet Corvette with a mid-engine doesn't have an easy start, to say the least. So much so that the production of 2020 versions, the first of this new generation (C8), could be limited to just 2,700 units.
The commercial debut of the highly anticipated next-gen Corvette was initially postponed due to reported development delays regarding its aluminum chassis and electric architecture. Then, production was delayed by at least two months due to the consequences of a labour dispute. Now it's the coronavirus’s turn to rain on the model’s parade, as production has been at a standstill for six weeks. All these delays mean that the 2020 edition could be limited to about 2,700 units, as reported by the Consumer Guide this week.
Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly confirmed that 2,700 2020 Corvettes have been built so far. Though he could not predict how many more might be produced for this year’s edition, he did say Chevrolet plans to assemble more when the assembly plant producing it reopens. By way of comparison, Chevrolet produced 18,791 Corvettes in 2018, and 25,079 in 2017.
Following the delay caused by last year’s labor dispute, production of the 2020 Corvette began in late February of this yearand the first edition, a black Z51 coupe, was delivered to NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick in early March. Production continued until the 20th of the same month, at which point the factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky was shut down.
On March 18, Chevrolet announced that it had stopped taking orders for 2020 models and would be able to accept orders for 2021 models starting at the end of May. At that time, it was mentioned that some customers who had ordered 2020 models would be able to receive 2021 versions. Given the current continued delays, it's near-impossible to know how things are going to play out.
Kevin Kelly also said that Chevrolet plans to build convertibles for the 2020 model-year, but he declined to venture any date for start of production start date, or the number of models that will be produced.
GM announced in recent days that it plans to reopen plants by May 18.
However, the only certainty right now is that plans like that can change quickly. Once again, it is the virus that will determine what happens next. If the pandemic keeps plants closed for much longer, the Kentucky plant may not be able to build any more Corvettes for 2020.
If the final count is limited to some 2,700 cars, that could actually be a good thing for owners and collectors, because the 2020 Corvette will be more valuable on the market. In truth, it will benefit from the dual effect of scarcity and the fact that it is the first mid-engine version of the model. Already, some U.S. dealers are asking more for the model than what the manufacturer requires.
If you're an owner-in-waiting of a 2020 Corvette, you might have been played a lucky hand with the C8.