GM is now saying that beginning with the 2023+ Corvette models, they are doing away with the cylinder key lock mechanism for the rear hatch.
For access to the rear hatch, they suggest using any of the three electronic buttons (driver’s side door, key fob, hatch release button) first.
In case there is an issue with the latching mechanism that has seized, or loss of battery voltage, the only solution for opening it is to use a 3-inch hole-saw and drill into the hatch so that the fasteners holding it closed can be released.
Here is the technical update from GM :
If you need to access the rear compartment on a 2023+ model year Corvette:
Attempt to open the rear hatch /rear compartment using all 3 electrical attempts.
Try the interior switch, the exterior touchpad, and the key fob.
This will electrically command the rear hatch/rear compartment to release.
There is no alternate method to gain access to the rear hatch / rear compartment if these attempts do not work.
The vehicle will have to be damaged in order to open the rear hatch / rear compartment.
See the section later in this document titled, “Accessing the rear hatch / rear compartment with a seized up latch.”
Accessing the rear hatch / rear compartment with a seized up latch:
First, obtain a 3-inch hole saw for the following procedure.
Send the vehicle to a body shop as needed.
Starting at the trailing edge of the rear hatch / rear compartment, measure forward 3 and 1/2".
Make this mark at the centerline of the panel.
This will be the center of the hole that will have to be drilled into the panel.
This will place the pilot hole location right in a portion of the stingray emblem when it has been positioned properly.
Drill a 3" hole through the rear hatch / rear compartment panel.
This will allow the technician to lift the rear panel upwards, and the 3" cut-out portion of the panel will stay attached to the rear latch / striker assembly.
The servicing technician will then have access to the fasteners that hold the latch to the vehicle and can continue servicing the vehicle from there.”
The hatch will then have to be replaced
We’re not exactly sure why this change was made, but most likely it comes down to the cost of the locks and installing them on every C8 Corvette versus the costs to warranty a defective hatch mechanism whenever those issues arise.
Imagine if this happens when the car is out of GM warranty and the total cost to replace the hatch, all for GM to save a few bucks on a lock