Photo Credit: Keith Cornett
A year ago on October 26, 2021 at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the all-new 2023 Corvette Z06 was revealed to the world. Since then, America’s newest sportscar has led enthusiasts on an emotional rollercoaster with highs and lows, and it doesn’t appear that this ride will stop anytime soon.
It’s been a year since the C8 Corvette Z06 was revealed, and my faith in Chevrolet being able to deliver a world-class sportscar to the masses is as conflicted as it has ever been.
As we stand right now and take stock of where we are, the one piece of good news and about the only positive thing is that it appears the Z06 is a really good sportscar. At least, that’s the takeaway from the reviews. Those rarified few who have seat time in the car have come away impressed with the major enhancements of the car. It’s loud, fast, and the brash “in your face” attitude is everything a Corvette should be.
But everything else about this car sucks to the point that many enthusiasts just don’t care anymore. We see it daily here in our stats and in the comments section. Does Chevrolet recognize this shift in momentum? If not, it’s probably already too late to right this ship. The signs have all been there for some time, but in the last few months we’ve seen the gathering storm that came to a head on September 2nd when Chevrolet announced it was stopping orders following the first Z06 allocation and order cycle.
Chevrolet’s problem with enthusiasts’ support tanking has nothing to do with supply chain issues, or the remaining after-effects from the COVID pandemic. It has to do with communication and meeting customers’ expectations, and that’s where the automaker is failing. It started with “Summer Availability,” which didn’t come to fruition. The reveal of the MSRP was an utter fiasco, with customers waiting over nine months only to be blindsided by the high cost of the C8Z compared to the previous generation. Then once ordering started, it was stopped immediately.
And during all that, Chevrolet dealers continued to kick their best customers off their reservation lists so they could charge exorbitant dealer markups and give those spots to those who have never supported Corvette or Chevrolet previously.
This launch has been a clusterfuck everywhere you turn. Now, we are at the first anniversary of the Z06s reveal, and still, no customers have yet to take delivery. Those tiny few new owners whose car has been produced have no idea when they will be released. Chevy has been building the car for over a month, and they have never released the celebratory photo of the first Z06 produced. Why is that? When they stopped orders, they said they wanted to ensure the car was right. What does that even mean?
Every action by Chevrolet regarding the Corvette results in a reaction from its enthusiast base. When they don’t tell us what is really going on, that leads to rampant rumors and endless speculation, which takes away from the fact that the Corvette Z06 appears to be everything it’s been hyped to be. We recognize hindsight is 20/20, that this is a challenging environment with supply chain issues and now a faltering economy, but these are all secondary considerations to the mess made by General Motors and Chevrolet and how they communicate to their dealers and customers.
As someone who has been promoting the purchasing of Corvettes professionally since 1996, when our Corvette classified ads website was launched, I’ve always said that buying a Corvette should be among the most fun thing you could ever do. Not anymore, at least when purchasing the new Corvette. Now it’s a chore that comes with the expectation that the order will be snatched out of your hands at any moment. I talk to many professional Corvette reps, and these are some of the most beaten-down folks working in the automotive segment today because of the crap they are taking from both sides. They can’t answer basic questions because GM/Chevrolet tells them nothing and they can’t plan for the future because GM/Chevrolet tells them nothing.
Finally, the one thing that has become obvious to any Corvette enthusiast is that the Corvette no longer enjoys the special status of being General Motors’ halo car. Today’s GM halo vehicle is anything that has an “EV’ attached to it. They think they are bringing Corvette enthusiasts into the fold by bastardizing the Corvette name by slapping it on an electric SUV the same way Ford did with the Mach-E Mustang. That’s not a Mustang, and a Chevy EV SUV will never be Corvette.
I could go on, but the Corvette fanboy inside me already feels bad for having to write this. This post is not directed at the great men and women who work tirelessly to bring us a great sports car. My criticism is directed at the leadership at GM and Chevrolet, which seems intent on trying to manage Corvette owners the same way they treat buyers of Malibus. If they want to get out of this storm, the lines of communication need to be better every way around.
BREAKING: GM to Halt New 2023 Corvette Z06 Orders Through the End of 2022
Today is Corvette Z06 Allocation Day and Orders are Open
Pricing for the 2023 Corvette Z06 is Officially Announced! Starting MSRP is $106,395