An all-American icon, the Chevrolet Corvette, is going on sale in South Korea. The launch of the Corvette continues the expansion of the Chevrolet brand in Korea, and comes about a year after the Chevrolet Camaro sports car debuted there.
The Corvette coupe will go on sale in May for 86.4 million Korean won, the equivalent of about $76,500. Opting for a premium interior will bump the price up to 89.4 million won, about $79,300. Those prices represent a significant increase compared to the base price of a 2012 Corvette coupe in the U.S., which is $50,575 after a $975 destination charge. A Chevrolet spokesman said the price differential is due mostly to the cost of importing the Corvette to Korea, and takes into account the fact that it will have relatively modest sales volumes there.
It makes sense to launch the Corvette in Korea, as the Chevrolet brand has been rapidly expanding there and needs to have an attention-getting halo car in the market. General Motors has been working to reduce the prominence of Korean-market division Daewoo in order to expand sales under the Chevrolet banner. That was helped in part by the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement passed last year, which loosened restrictions on imports and exports, making it easier to sell Chevrolet vehicles that are assembled in North America.
Current Chevrolet offerings in Korea comprise the Malibu, Cruze, Aveo (known as Sonic in the U.S.), Spark, Orlando, Captiva, and Camaro. The Camaro, which went on sale in Korea last year, starts at 47 million won, the equivalent of about $41,700. Chevrolet also launched the Camaro in China last year, though it is rebadged there as the "Ke Mai Luo."
For now, the Korean market will only receive the Corvette coupe powered by a 430-hp 6.3-liter V-8 engine and equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission. The convertible, faster Z06 and ZR1, and manual-transmission Corvettes won't be available. The Corvette is also sold in Europe, North and South America, the Middle East, and Japan.
Sources: Chevrolet, The Detroit News