It’s always exciting when a car company takes a performance car and makes it even crazier. We see it happen all the time with cars like the Chevy Camaro ZL1 and the Ford Mustang Shelby GT350. One of the most recent examples of making a hot car even hotter is the new king of the Corvettes, the 2019 ZR1. The new 755-horsepower beast is sure to be a stunning supercar, but will it sell?
Details about the production of the 2018 Corvette from the National Corvette Museum show that the more expensive a Corvette gets, the less popular it becomes. The most popular Corvette is the base Stingray Coupe followed by the Grand Sport Coupe and finally the Z06. The same is true for convertibles with the lower-end models being the most popular.
To clarify, the Corvette currently has three basic flavors, the Stingray, which is the entry-level model, the Grand Sport with upgraded performance and aesthetics, and the supercharged Z06 which is currently at the top of the Corvette food chain in terms of price and performance until the ZR1 shows up later this year. All C7 Corvettes are available as a coupe or a convertible.
It’s worth noting that the most Corvettes built with a specific trim package is the Stingray 1LT, which is the most affordable, and the higher up you go on the Corvette ladder, the more popular higher trims are. For the Grand Sport the most popular is the mid-range 2LT package and for the Z06 it’s the range-topping 3LZ.
The fact that lower-end Corvettes are the ones that sell in the greatest numbers reveals a lot about why Chevy has been so hesitant to come out with a long-rumored mid-engine Corvette. The mid-engine ‘Vette still isn’t confirmed by Chevy, but we have a lot of strong hints that it’s happening for real this time. As we’ve previously discussed here on The Drive, moving the Corvette upmarket with a mid-engine configuration will only push an already-expensive car further out of reach for most drivers. Sure, the Corvette is affordable for what it is and it’s one of the best values in performance cars, but with a starting price of $55,495, it’s not exactly cheap.
Some other interesting data reveal low take-rates for convertibles and high take rates for automatic transmissions. Convertible take rates are lower the higher up the Corvette range you go with a total take rate of 17.5 percent. The C7 Z06 is the first Z06 available with an automatic and 72 percent of 2018 Z06 Corvettes are so equipped. We shouldn’t be surprised by that number, but it’s a pretty overwhelming majority for a car that’s traditionally been a manual-only track weapon. Transmission take rates are similar across the whole Corvette range.
Another surprising metric is the most popular color. It’s not red! Torch Red is relegated to second place behind Arctic White, which is the most popular color on every form of Corvette except the Stingray Convertible where Torch Red reigns supreme. Arctic White’s dominance is understandable because the C7 looks outstanding in white.
The Corvette’s biggest market is, predictably, by far, the United States. About 89 percent of ‘Vettes sold are sold here on its home turf. Remember how the cheaper the Corvette, the more popular it is? That trend is reversed in Europe. Apparently, when Europeans decide they want America’s sports car, they go big, with their favorite being the Z06 followed by the Grand Sport followed by the Stingray. The Z06 is also the most popular Corvette in Canada, the Corvette’s second biggest market.
There’s a ton of other data gathered by the National Corvette Museum and you can see all of it here. The biggest conclusion we can draw from this info is that affordability is still a huge part of the Corvette’s identity. A pretty big percentage of Corvette drivers don’t want the fastest, fanciest, or flashiest Corvette. They just want a Corvette. And who can blame them?