GM just notified customers. They're not happy.
First, the good news, or rather, a reminder of such. Despite rumors to the contrary, there will indeed be a right-hand-drive Chevrolet Corvette program. Due to industry and supply complications as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, word got out the RHD Corvette was over before it even started. Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter, however, confirmed this was not true and RHD pre-production prototypes are currently undergoing final testing. That's certainly great news for C8 customers in RHD markets such as the UK, Japan, and Australia. But there's now a problem with the latter country.
According to local site Carsales, the Australian distributor for the C8 - the newly formed General Motors Specialty Vehicles (GMSV) - has informed hopeful future owners their deposits are essentially worthless.
Just because they placed a deposit does not guarantee them a car. Holden dealerships had been accepting deposits since mid-2019, right around the time the C8 was unveiled in the US. Australian market pricing had not even been announced at that time but the demand was there. GM continued to take deposits but here's the problem: the Holden dealership network no longer exists because Holden, as we all know, is being permanently retired.
GM still intends to do business Down Under, though in a very limited capacity, hence the creation of GMSV. However, GMSV isn't exactly ready to do business. It hasn't even created the necessary dealership network. The now-closed or soon-to-close Holden dealers who took deposits still don't know whether they'll become GMSV dealers.
"We understand that some customers may have already placed deposits with Holden dealers," GMSV said in a recent bulletin. "Unfortunately, deposits will not guarantee your purchase of a Corvette when they arrive towards the end of next year and we recommended that all dealers to [sic] refund these deposits, while we finalize the ordering process."
In addition to issuing those refunds and finalizing the dealer network, GMSV has another significant task to do: fair distribution of the 250-300 Corvettes expected late next year. Some possible solutions being floated include an online ordering system or a lottery. Until GM sorts things out, Australian C8 customers are essentially back to square one.