Production started on the 2020 Corvette today, according to Chevy, following a strike-related delay and the need to finish the last 2019 Corvettes and retool the factory. GM expects to make around 40,000 new ‘Vettes this year, all of which are sold out, the company claimed. There’s also that new electric Hummer, which will change how we think about electric SUVs. See what happens when you take a risk for once (or twice), GM?
Now, you could argue that neither of these are risks at all, and if they are, they are small ones. That’s because the C8 was always going to sell well its first year on the market, helped along by the fact that this one happened to be mid-engined, and at a base price of $US59,995 ($89,093), there’s pretty much no car like it.
GM is reintroducing Hummer, meanwhile, in a market that can’t get enough of big and stupid SUVs. The fact that it’s electric is almost beside the point since this thing won’t be sold in huge volumes and GM’s strategy appears, instead, for it to be the flagship for a new line of electric trucks and SUVs.
And it’s true that for a normal car company, neither of these vehicles would appear to be too revolutionary, but this is GM we’re talking about, a company whose idea of risk is occasionally ordering the seafood at Applebee’s. GM, historically, has only appreciably changed as a company when the federal government ordered it to, or when it was bankrupt.
All of which is to say the fact that it conceived—and so far has been pulling off—a mid-engined Corvette after about five decades of flirtation has been impressive, even if GM hasn’t reached the finish line yet. GM had to teach itself how to build this thing, and it wouldn’t be shocking if they didn’t get everything right on the first go, much like they didn’t get everything right on the first go of the Pontiac Fiero.
Further, the C8's styling is a risk, too, and not the good kind. GM is ostensibly going after a younger generation of Corvette buyer with the C8, but the styling wasn’t much as updated as ... refined. The styling scans less as “cool, possibly even hip” and more just as “Corvette.” The same can basically be said of the new Hummer.
And those claims that the C8 is sold out for this year? It turns out GM was referring to reservations—which anyone can do online for free—and not actual sales, as Roadshow reported in December.
Even so, the C8 and the Hummer have generated more actual buzz of any GM car since the reborn Camaro. A few years from now, once the shine has dulled and sales numbers stabilise into something more consistent, we’ll know if GM’s bets on the C8 and Hummer will have paid off. But at least, for once, it did something a little bit interesting.