For decades, the Chevy Corvette has served as the informal gauge of the state of General Motors as an automaker and as a business: when the Corvette was perceived to be awesome, GM was selling cars, turning a profit, and taking names; when the Corvette disappointed, GM was likely in disarray. And while serving as GM’s barometer, the Vette did double-duty as Chevy’s halo car, making
everyone most drivers wish that they had one. But not everyone can afford a Vette, which has commanded premium prices through its lifetime; this circumstance, in particular, makes the car sell in significantly lower volumes than the Chevy’s other, more mainstream-oriented offerings. Prime example: the Corvette sold 14,132 units in the United States in the 2012 calendar year; by comparison, over 21,000 U.S. customers opted for the Chevrolet Cruze in the month of December 2012.
But that’s not to say that the Corvette’s sales are underwhelming — quite the contrary: for a car that’s about to be replaced by an all-new model — the 2014 Corvette Stingray — the C6 sold well in 2012. But with that kind of low sales volume, one might think that The General might be taking a loss on the Corvette to drum up the image of the Chevrolet brand. This is not the case, as the Corvette turns a healthy profit by itself, according to President of GM North America Mark Reuss.
“This [The Corvette] makes as much money as any of the top-profit models in our company,” Reuss said. “That is why we do it.”
The engineer-turned-executive also confirmed that the Corvette begins life as a vehicle for the American market first and foremost, and that other markets are just extra gravy.
“From a business case, the car is done for North America first,” Reuss said. “Anything else that happens because we made a fundamentally sound car is extra benefit.”
The GM Authority Take
Not only is this good to know, it’s also music to the ears of performance car enthusiasts. Here’s to a bright, successful, and powerful Corvette future.