Oftentimes, launching a new model that lights up the desire of the buying public is all an automaker has to do to land a nice tasty profit in the bank. These days, with parts hard to come by and viral pandemics circling the globe, simply designing a great car isn’t enough. You need to be able to build it en masse and actually get it into people’s driveways. General Motors is struggling with that very problem with the C8 Corvette. The public can’t get enough, quite literally, as the automaker scrambles to fix the problem, reports GM Authority.
It may have taken half a century, but the long-awaited mid-engined Corvette had fans clamoring for build slots from the moment it debuted. The first hurdle was soon to come however, with production delayed three months to February 2020 due to a labor dispute. This was shortly followed by factory shutdowns thanks to COVID-19, and then chased with multiple halts to production thanks to parts shortages. In the end, many prospective 2020 orders ended up getting pushed into the 2021 model year. GM Authority reports the same is happening this year, too, with some customers who placed orders for 2021 having their build slot pushed back to the 2022 model year.
Tony Johnson, a marketing executive for GM, stated that the company was “not even close” to meeting demand for the C8 Corvette, in a discussion with GM Authority editor Alex Luft. The situation is so serious that GM closed orders for the 2021 model year back in March, and is not due to open up new orders for the 2022 model until early July. Highlighting the ongoing strong demand for the C8, Johnson states “We have more orders than we can handle.”
Road and Track notes that last year’s production, totaling 20,368 cars, is less than all but one year of C7 Corvette production. The previous model averaged over 30,000 sales a year over its six-year run. GM would love to beat that number with the C8, but with continual production delays hampering progress, it’s got a lot of catching up to do.
The global chip shortage will take some time to pass, of course, and it’s likely that pent-up demand could drive Corvette prices up in the meantime. The issues couldn’t have come at a worse time for GM, with ongoing headaches preventing it from capitalizing on the hype around the new model. Whether buyers will be willing to hold out for America’s mid-engined supercar, or whether they look elsewhere, will become apparent in coming months when orders resume.
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