The first-ever factory-made right-hand-drive Chevrolet Corvette has had a bit of a stalled start in Australia, after GM asked Holden dealers to refund deposits. Now buyers are queuing up.
The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette has received more than 100 orders in Australia a year before it is due in local showrooms – and before anyone knows the price –according to dealer sources.
The iconic US sports-car is due in Australia by this time next year as the first ever factory-built right-hand-drive model.
The right-hand-drive production process was made easier for the eighth-generation Corvette since it switched to a mid-engine layout after decades of having a V8 under the bonnet.
The 2021 Chevrolet Corvette will be distributed in Australia through the newly established General Motors Specialty Vehicles network, most of which are former Holden or Holden Special Vehicles dealers.
Whereas HSV had a network of 65 showrooms at its peak (among the 220 Holden outlets), GMSV has for now appointed 50 dealers nationally.
GMSV has already begun freighting new shipments of the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (pictured below) to the new dealer network, ensuring there is no interruption to supply from the HSV-sourced vehicles.
HSV’s parent company, the Walkinshaw Automotive Group, will still engineer and convert the left-hand-drive pick-ups at its Melbourne facility, but will charge GM on a per vehicle basis rather than being responsible for importing and distributing all stock.
The factory-built right-hand-drive Chevrolet Corvette was originally due in Australian showrooms this year but the coronavirus crisis delayed the engineering program of that and other GM products.
However, the iconic V8 sports-car is now finally back on track and will help fill out the new GMSV showrooms. By this time next year, GMSV dealerships will have at least three models, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 heavy duty, and the Chevrolet Corvette. The pick-ups will be converted to right-hand-drive locally but the Corvette will be ready to roll.
A Corvette test vehicle has already been spotted testing at the former Holden Lang Lang proving ground; GM struck a deal with new owners, Vietnamese start-up Vinfast, to be granted free access to the site to test future vehicles.
When CarAdvice asked a representative for GMSV how many deposits dealers were now holding for Corvette – after GM asked Holden retailers to refund initial deposits – a spokesman said: “GMSV will reveal more about purchasing details for Corvette closer to the launch of the vehicle.”
However, a number of dealers contacted by CarAdvice claim – by their calculations – GMSV is holding at least 100 orders so far, even before price is known.
One dealer told CarAdvice: “The publicity around Holden dealers having to refund deposits actually brought more buyers out of the woodwork. People were ringing and saying ‘add me to the list if anyone’s deal falls through, here’s my deposit’.”
While Corvette pricing is still being negotiated with Detroit – and could be affected by currency fluctuations over the next 12 months – a number of dealers have estimated the car will cost somewhere between $120,000 and $140,000, depending on the model grade.
While Australia will initially get a mid-spec Corvette, CarAdvice has been told GMSV is considering introducing limited numbers of certain high-performance variants of the new-generation Corvette as they become available. However, none have yet been confirmed.