The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 has arrived, bringing with it a brand-new mid-engine layout. No doubt about it, moving the motor to the middle is a huge leap forward for the iconic Chevy nameplate in terms of performance, but does the new platform also change who’s buying the sports car? In a recent interview with Autoline After Hours, Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter answers that question and several others, providing an insider look at the new Vette.
For starters, Juechter is asked about right-hand-drive versions of the C8, which mark the very first time in the history of the Chevrolet Corvette to offer the driving configuration, thus making it acceptable for a broader range of markets. As a result, the Corvette C8 is more accessible to a broader range of buyers, at least from a global perspective.
Juechter responds that the C8’s mid-engine layout actually makes it easier to do right-hand-drive conversions. Nevertheless, it’s still a risky maneuver.
“We’re taking a little bit of a bet there,” Juechter says. “We have people come to Corvette events from Australia, Japan, which we sell in okay. U.K. we don’t sell a lot but I think our volume will go up there by doing a right-hand-drive [Corvette].”
Later, Juechter is asked point blank if the new mid-engine platform changes who the typical Chevrolet Corvette buyer may be.
Juechter responds that the mid-engine platform was the right choice in terms of physics. “It’s a bad business strategy to bring out a new Corvette that has lower performance than the old one, or even equal performance,” the Chevrolet Corvette Chief Engineer said.
Juechter also said that the development process didn’t utilize customer clinics, but that current customers were more or less satisfied with the new model. Additionally, consumers that were never interested in Corvette prior to the C8 were now interested.
“But people who don’t consider a Corvette today, it was vastly different,” Juechter said in reference to customer feedback on the C8. “It was like 90-10 would prefer a mid-engine architecture, and also those folks queued younger.”
“So we’re not walking away from our current customers, we love our current customers, and wanna do a car for them that they’ll be happy with,” Juechter adds. “But at the same time you can’t continue to have your demographics continue to get older every year or eventually, you won’t have any customers.”
Juechter adds that the only about five percent of owners regularly take their Chevrolet Corvette to the track, and that percentage is likely to stay the same with the C8.