Even as dealers begin delivering the first of the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays to customers, many buyers could be in for a long wait, General Motors officials are warning – and a potentially stiff premium.
The new Corvette continues to garner a wave of strongly positive reviews, while buyers also appear to be strongly attracted to a $51,995 base price that is significantly lower than key competitors, such as the Porsche 911.
But many dealers are acknowledging that early customers are ponying up anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 extra to jump to the head of the line.
“We probably have six months’ worth of orders,” said Chevrolet General Marketing Manager Chris Perry, adding that some dealers have already reported selling out their initial allocation.
And Chevy won’t even begin to fill the order bank for the new Corvette Convertible until early next year.
The first of the new Corvettes – the first of the two-seaters to use the Stingray badge since the mid-1970s – began shipping to dealers earlier this month.
GM invested $131-million to upgrade the factory in Bowling Green, Kentucky to handle production of the 2014 model, including approximately $52 million for a new body shop to manufacture the car’s all-new aluminum frame in-house for the first time.
The new Corvette is also the first relatively mainstream GM product to make extensive use of carbon fiber body components.
The lightweight material has a number of benefits, lowering the car’s center of gravity, improving its power-to-weight ratio and helping Corvette deliver the best mileage in its segment, GM claims, at an EPA-estimated 17 mpg in city driving and 29 mpg on the highway.
Catching up on the backlog of orders could become even more difficult as GM expands distribution of the new sports car to existing overseas markets while also targeting other countries where the Corvette traditionally has had little traction. Among the regions waiting for delivery are Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Even though the new ‘Vette may be in short supply, GM plans to help keep the buzz around the car alive in the months to come, Perry said.
While the Chevy marketing chief won’t say if the ads will feature the new Stingray, GM is looking at various possibilities when it returns to the Super Bowl next February.
The maker opted out of the 2013 football extravaganza but the Chevy brand is expected to make a splashy return in the upcoming game.
The Super Bowl also is just a warm up for the heavy advertising scheduled GM is preparing for the 2014 Winter Olympics, which will begin airing immediately after the Super Bowl.
The Corvette will figure in Chevrolet ads on the Winter Olympics, Perry confirms.
The 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is the seventh generation of the sports car, which has been built exclusively at the Bowling Green plant since June 1981.
“It’s an amazing sight to see the transporters filled with Stingrays heading to customers in all corners of the country,” says plant manager Dave Tatman.
Tatman says the Kentucky factory has produced approximately 1,000 Corvette Stingrays for customer deliveries. Most of these vehicles are expected to be delivered to dealers within the next few weeks.
Pricing for the 2014 Corvette Stingray Coupe starts at $51,995 including destination.
The Convertible is priced at $56,995 including destination. Production of the Stingray Convertible will begin by the end of this year.
Deliveries likely won’t begin until very early in 2014.
Chevrolet officials admit they’re frustrated by the potential up-charge many dealers are asking for to get to the head of the Corvette line, they also caution that the factory can’t directly restrict such premiums under the patchwork of U.S. franchise laws.
As much as some buyers in a hurry may have to pay to get early delivery, few are expected to pay anywhere near as much as dealer and race team owner Rick Hendricks did for the very first Corvette to roll off the assembly line.
The NASCAR team owner had to wait 10 months after shelling out a cool $1.1 million during a charity auction last January to get his car.
Chevy eased the pain at least a little bit, however, when it tossed in the second production Corvette, as well, this one carrying VIN number 0002.
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