It is not a secret that General Motors has struggled to satisfy the demand for the C8 Corvette. The mid-engine sports car has been one of the fastest selling vehicles in the country this year, though pandemic-related constraints continue to limit production. Nevertheless, the world keeps on spinning, and Bowling Green Assembly is gearing up to build the 2022 Corvette Stingray family, so MC&T sat down with Chief Executive Engineer Tadge Juechter to discuss if the situation is looking brighter for Chevrolet’s third year of production. The answer was no.
“We Could Have Probably Sold Triple The Amount” Of C8 Corvette Stingrays
“I wish I could say so,” said Juecther in an interview with MC&T. “Every time we think we clear one hurdle… you know we have this magnificent product, super well-received all around the globe, and we just had one head wind after the other. I mean we could have probably sold triple the amount of cars, maybe more. So all I’m gonna say is that we’re gonna knock down the hurdles.”
The Corvette team is otherwise ramping up global availability for the C8 Stingray, while trying to meet demand locally.
“Our long term aspiration is to build a lot more cars than we are, we just started sending cars to Japan, we’re gonna send cars to Europe and Australia for the first time this summer. So at the same time we’re under crushing restraint, and we’re expanding our market footprint. It moves us and all our supply base to get it in gear.”
It is no surprise that General Motors would like to up the production totals of the C8 Corvette to fall more in line with demand, which continues to be white hot. The automaker had to cut allocations again for the end of the 2021 model year, in an effort not to under-deliver on orders like in the year prior. Whether or not General Motors could sell three times as many units as they are now, they certainly don’t have any trouble getting them off dealer lots. The situation isn’t that simple to remedy however, as supply chain issues persist. As Juechter noted to MC&T, the troubles go far beyond the semiconductor chips we’ve been hearing about.
The Ripple Effects Of The Pandemic
“The pandemic is perverse in the amount of effect it had, integrated circuits get the headlines but everywhere you look the whole pipeline is empty, and it’s long,” said Juecther. “So everybody all around the globe that produces all the commodities, the raw materials, and the up-level assemblies as they make their way to Bowling Green, they’re all challenged. And so one may be the source of production constraints today, it might be a different one tomorrow. We just have to keep knocking, it’s like whack-a-mole. We haven’t been affected by the integrated circuits, which is unusual, we’re one of the only ones, but we’ve been affected by a ton of other stuff.”
So as the 2022 C8 Corvette looks to enter production this fall, things continue to look rocky. This is not an issue that is exclusive to the Chevrolet by any means, but it only adds to the frustration felt by fans. This will be the third year of C8 production, and yet it feels like the car has never had a chance to get on track. That is a shame, because it’s a genuinely great sports car. Here’s to hoping that 2022 brings some tangible improvements in the C8 Corvette supply chain, and that these production issues become a thing of the past.