It seems like ages since the much-anticipated 2020 Corvette C8 debuted back on July 18, 2019. Buyers’ response to the new supercar broke records. According to General Motors, almost a million orders were submitted by the end of July. Of those orders, 40,000 customers committed to buying the C8.
The massive order volume resulted in the C8 Corvette being completely sold out even before production began, according to Chris Bruce of Motor1.com. But the Corvette C8 production was fraught with its own issues, creating delays for eager customers. When will they finally see a new ‘Vette in their driveways?
Chevrolet Corvette C8 production issues causing delays
Originally, GM planned to have the Corvette C8 in dealerships at the end of 2019. But these plans were foiled when thousands of United Auto Workers union members at GM plants went on a six-week strike in September 2019. The strike cost GM $10 million a day and delayed production of the front-engine C7 at the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant, which was still going on at the time.
Once the strike ended in late October, GM needed more time to finish C7 production, retool the factory and hire and train a second shift to build the C8. With the plant and workers ready to go, production for the latest generation Corvette started in early February 2020. Some new C8s trickled out to dealerships in early March, but GM has not released just how many it delivered.
But the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic curbed production of the C8. In a recent article, Chris Bruce of Motor1.com reported that GM, along with Ford and Fiat-Chrysler, has paused North American production to protect workers’ health as of March 18th. It’s uncertain when production will resume, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that it would be no earlier than mid-April.
How will Chevy handle unfulfilled orders?
On the same day that the temporary shutdown was announced, GM sent an email to Chevrolet dealerships advising them to stop taking orders on the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8, according to Rob Stumpf of TheDrive.com. The automaker denied that its decision was connected to the pandemic. Instead, it placed blame on UAW’s six-week work stoppage for the order cutoff.
Patrick Rall of TorqueNews.com wrote that General Motors instructed dealerships to fulfill orders using the inventory they already have. It also tried to set expectations by telling dealerships that, as a result of the strike, there was a chance that some sold and stock orders for the C8 Corvette may not be produced as scheduled.
GM added that it would start taking orders for the 2021 Chevrolet Corvette C8 30 days ahead of schedule, on May 21, 2020. It advised dealerships that they could order next year’s ‘Vette for existing customers waiting for the 2020 version. But it’s unclear whether the pricing for the 2021 model year will remain the same as this year’s.
Many buyers will have to wait till next year for their Chevrolet Corvette C8
At the time of this writing, GM is making no promises about fulfilling remaining customer orders for the 2020 Corvette C8. This uncertainty compounds the worries for buyers who haven’t yet taken delivery on the 2020 models they’ve ordered. Prior to GM’s halt to production, they’ve already tried to calculate where they were in line using their order numbers. They also fear that the cars they’ve ordered will be devalued if their orders get pushed out to a 2021 model year.
What about prospective C8 buyers who don’t have orders in and hope to find this supercar in their dealership’s lot? If they’re lucky enough to find one, they should expect a significant but temporary increase in the Corvette’s $60,000 sticker price—if indeed any cars were sold at this price in the first place. As dealerships continue to take delivery on the remaining C8s, buyers should also expect price wars because of the car’s limited availability.
In any case, customers who are hoping to drive a new C8 off the lot will have to play a waiting game until GM deems it safe enough to resume production.