New Corvette 'the best ever'

STEPHEN OTTLEY AND DAVID MCCOWEN
Last updated 09:26 15/01/2013
Fairfax Australia

All new Chevrolet revealed in Detroit

Chevrolet Corvette history

Stingray
The Stingray sits for all to see after being unveiled in Detroit.

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Chevrolet has resurrected the iconic Stingray nameplate for its seventh-generation Corvette sports car, unveiling the car at the Detroit motor show.

The new angular design harks back to the original Stingray of the second- and third-generation models built between 1963 and 1982.

Chevrolet started with a clean sheet design for the new Corvette and has produced a lighter, more powerful and more fuel-efficient design that the company believes is as good as any sports car in the world.

Former Holden boss Mark Reuss, now head of General Motors in the US, unveiled the Corvette at the company's Detroit motor show stand yesterday and didn't hold back on his praise for the new machine.

"Here comes the best Corvette ever," he said.

"In terms of design, technology and performance it is second to none."

The Stingray won't be heading down under however - General Motors has emphatically ruled out producing a right hand-drive version of the car.

The new car is powered by the new 6.2-litre, 335kW and 610Nm LT1 V8 which can move the Corvette from rest to 100kmh in less than four seconds.

The V8 now has direct injection and will be paired with either a six-speed paddle-shift automatic or a new seven-speed manual transmission.

It promises performance rivalling Porsche's 911 benchmark and Chevrolet says the new car is worthy of the Stingray nameplate.

"Stingray is one of the hallowed names in automotive history," said Ed Welburn, GM vice president of global design.

"We knew we couldn't use the Stingray name unless the new car truly lived up to the legacy. The result is a new

Corvette Stingray that breaks from tradition, while remaining instantly recognisable as a Corvette the world over."

Track-focused drivers can specify their cars with the optional Z51 Performance Package, which includes an electronic limited-slip differential, dry-sump oiling system, upgraded cooling for the brakes, differential and transmissions and an aero package for improved stability.

'NO PLAN' TO BRING CORVETTE TO AUSTRALIA

Despite reports suggesting a right-hand-drive version would be developed for the first time in decades, a senior GM executive ended any chance of the Corvette officially heading to Australia, emphatically denying the V8-powered two-door would be sold here.

"I'm telling you there is no plan," said General Motors' president of international operations and the vice president of global manufacturing, Tim Lee.

"We have no plan to put a right-hand-drive under that bonnet. It would be a significant engineering task."

The strong denial at the 2013 Detroit motor show came less than 24 hours after a report quoting GM CEO Dan Akerson as saying "yes" when asked if there would be a right-hand-drive version of the Corvette.

Lee suggested Akerson may have been "giving an exhortation" when talking about a Corvette for Australia.

"I recognise what my boss said, I recognise what [the Corvette chief engineer] said, I'm telling you as the operating guy in charge there is no plan."

After further questioning Lee tried to end the speculation.

"This is a non-story from my point of view. You guys write what you want to write, I really don't give a shit, but it is not in the mainstream plan."

He also said the new seventh generation Corvette hadn't been designed and engineered with right-hand-drive production in mind.

"I would say it's not package protected (designed to be right-hand-drive capable), I would say if we chose to make it a right-hand-drive ultimately we could do that, it would be a huge resource allocation decision, we haven't made that decision.

"There is no engineering execution, there is no plan. If the CEO said tomorrow that he wants us to do that it would take us years to get it done."

Lee also said bringing the Corvette to Australia would lead to a significant branding question as to what to call the car, with Chevrolet GM's mainstream brand internationally and in the United States but Holden fulfilling that role in Australia.

"The Corvette is a Chevrolet, we don't sell Chevrolets in Australia, we sell Holdens," said Lee before saying that if there was an executive vote on whether the Corvette should be badged as a Holden "my vote would be unequivocally no way".

He also ruled out replacing the Holden brand with Chevrolet.

"Holden is the Australian car company and we're pretty proud of it, so why would we mess around with it?"

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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