Chevy Loses Money on Every C8 Corvette Stingray Under $80K

An insider indicates the new 2020 Corvette is a loss leader.

Scott EvansWriterSteven PhamPhotographer

The all-new mid-engine C8 Corvette's impressive $59,995 starting price is only good for the first year, and unless it goes up by $20,000, Chevrolet will continue to lose money on low-trim cars, a senior GM source told our colleagues at MotorTrend. The price increase for the 2021 model year isn't much of a surprise, as the base price of a C7 rose nearly $2,000 in its second year and by another $2,000 the following year. While we still don't know how much the C8's price will rise in 2021, a more senior GM official says it would have to go through the roof in order to cover GM's costs.

According to the source, the original budget for the C8 project assumed a starting price of $79,995. This is certainly reasonable considering the enormous amount of work needed to redesign the car into a mid-engine configuration, but that figure is a massive jump from the C7's base price of $56,995, so to keep customers from revolting, Chevy is taking it on the chin and willingly losing money on every C8 it sells for less than roughly $80,000. The C8's laundry list of options and dress-up parts no doubt resulted from the hope buyers will load up their cars with extras and turn their $60,000 Stingrays into $80,000-plus Stingrays. The C8 Stingray Z71 3LT we drove rang up at $88,810.

More critical are the base prices of upcoming performance variants, including the Z06 and ZR1. According to the GM source, the sweet spot for profit and volume is between $80,000 and $100,000. Once the car crests six figures, they say, sales volume drops off precipitously. This will be a trick for Chevrolet, because the C7 Z06 starts at $82,990, which doesn't leave the company much room for an increase without upsetting customers and breaking out of the aforementioned sweet spot. The C7 ZR1, meanwhile, already starts at $135,090, so Chevrolet has more discretion to price the C8 ZR1 knowing full well it will be a low-volume car.

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