GM rages on end of combustion era with 670-horsepower Corvette

DETROIT, Oct.26 (Reuters) – General Motors Co on Tuesday stepped up its drive to expand its Corvette sports car brand globally, with a roar of a 670-horsepower eight-cylinder combustion engine, defying Ferrari NV, Porsche and McLaren.

The latest Chevrolet Corvette Z06, a high-performance, race-ready version of the Detroit automaker’s sports car, is leading the brand’s growth outside the United States, company officials told Reuters.

Corvettes will now come with steering wheels on the right side, for drivers in the UK, Europe, Australia and Japan.

“There are a lot of benefits,” said Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter.

The Bowling Green, Ky. Plant that assembles Corvettes can build more than 40,000 cars a year, but has been hampered by the pandemic and supply chain disruptions, said Steve Majoros, vice president marketing from GM’s Chevrolet division that makes the Corvette.

GM said it sold 23,858 Corvettes worldwide in 2020 and 27,376 in the first nine months of 2021. US customers have purchased more than 24,000 new Corvettes this year.

The latest generation Corvette has evolved into a mid-engined sports car that looks and operates more like a Ferrari supercar.

But while Ferrari introduced gasoline-electric and turbocharged hybrid engines, the 2023 Corvette Z06 is designed for fans of cars from an earlier era, wrapped in modern skin. It features a handcrafted 5.5-liter V8 engine capable of roaring at 8,600 rpm without the use of a turbocharger or battery booster.

GM has not disclosed pricing for the latest Z06, which will go into production next summer. The current Corvette starts at just under $ 61,000, and older Z06 models cost around $ 25,000 above the cheaper model.

Like other automakers, GM is working on the challenges of designing fully electric battery-powered supercars – an imperative as regulators of the main markets propose to ban sales of petroleum vehicles from 2030.

Batteries and motors capable of propelling a vehicle to track speeds are heavy and do not provide long range.

“We’ll be slower at the party,” Juechter said. “We won’t do it until the battery technology is ready.” (Reporting by Joseph White; Editing by Richard Chang)

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Kevin A. Perras

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