...according to the Corvette's chief engineer.
It's hard to believe that it's been three years since the C7 Corvette had its debut at Detroit. Since then, the Z06 and, just last week, Grand Sport have been added to the Corvette lineup. And while the C7 is leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, there were still many Corvette loyalists not happy with the latest generation's styling, especially those angled taillights. Tadge Juechter, Chief Engineer of the Corvette, told me at Geneva that he initially received tons of letters complaining about the switch from oval to angled rear lighting.
But here's the thing: Those very people are now writing to Juechter saying how they've warmed up to the styling and now love those taillights. Ed Welburn, GM's Vice President of Global Design, further explained to me that during early C7 focus groups, participants were asked what they didn't like about the existing C6 styling wise. Their majority response? The taillights. Go figure. More specifically, it was the younger people who pointed out how the Corvette's rear lights hadn't dramatically changed in years, and that something different would be good. So Welburn, Juechter, and crew took a chance, and today it's paying off big time.
Juechter pointed out that some C7 buyers have traded in Bentleys while others have actually cancelled placed Ferrari orders. Most importantly for GM, the C7 has been attracting a lot of younger as well as longtime Corvette buyers. Around 10% are new to GM. Today's Corvette has undergone some dramatic changes but it's still very much America's sports car. Perhaps Mr. Welburn summarized the C7 best: "It's a world-class athlete that went back to the gym and got leaner and more fit."