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Old 01-25-2013, 10:54 AM   #1
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Five reasons the new Corvette will stay an old man's car (AW article)

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The new Corvette Stingray has made its debut at the Detroit auto show, and there's little doubt it's going to thrill leagues of current Corvette aficionados. But Chevrolet has hinted it wants to broaden the Vette's appeal beyond its core Baby Boomer buyers, now in their 60s. GM design head Ed Welburn stated the Stingray aims for “a bit of a shift to appeal to younger customers,” according to Automotive News.

According to market research firm Strategic Vision, the average Corvette buyer is 59 years old. That means the “younger customers” Chevrolet is targeting are members of Generation X, born from about 1960-80. Big differences exist between the Vette's current core audience of Baby Boomers and the slacker generation (of which your author is a member), including these five significant hurdles that stand in the way of the Corvette's demographic downward drive.

Ghosts of Corvettes past

As good as the new Corvette is, Chevy's got skeletons in the closet that many of us Gen Xers remember all too well. Consider that drivers in their 40s and early 50s came of automotive age from the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s -- exactly the time the Corvette was huffing 200 or so horsepower through a long-in-the-tooth Mako Shark body. It wasn't an object of lust for many of us -- exotics like the Lamborghini Countach, Porsche 911 Turbo and Ferrari 308 were what stirred the soul, not the paunchy next-door neighbor's two-tone '78 C3.

We still have kids at home

Getting married and having kids happened a lot later for those in Generation X. Many put off child-raising until their mid-30s, meaning those parents won't be empty-nesters until their mid-50s (at the earliest). What good is a two-seat sports car to someone who has to haul three or four people around regularly…and pay tuition, all while hiding the keys from irresponsible hands? For the same money, an Audi S4 or even a Cadillac CTS-V makes more sense.


It'll still be too expensive

Remember that nasty little recession we had a few years ago? Most of us Gen Xers were just hitting our peak earning years when that whole mess hit and wiped out jobs, savings accounts and IRAs. Yes, things have improved, but a lot of us are either gun-shy or still broke, so a $60,000+ plaything isn't on the shopping list at the moment, nor is it likely to be anytime in the next few years.


We don't like flash

Not every member of Generation X slouched about in flannel several years longer than they should have. But car sales trends continue to show that the majority of buyers continue to value an understated automotive presence. We're snapping up silver Passats with abandon, luxuriating in lookalike Audis and even revering the gawdawful Prius as an aspirational vehicle. A low, sleek, hyperventilated land missile doesn't fit the image many of us have of success.


We've been tipped off

Chevy showed its hand when it announced the Corvette would attempt to appeal to younger customers. Now we know that Chevy is coming for us, and we'll be watching for telltale target marketing around every corner. As marketing trade publication CRM Magazine notes, “Gen Xers are averse to ad hype and overstatement and keep a constant lookout for hypocrisy and self-importance. They're also far less daring when it comes to spending their money.” None of these characteristics bode well for a splashy Corvette campaign.

CRM also notes that experts “warn against ads that appeal to a broader sense of heritage, history, and tradition, because Gen X doesn't go for that.” In other words, two years of “Chevy runs deep” probably hasn't helped matters, and the resurrection of Stingray is likely to fall on indifferent ears.

What the new 2014 Corvette does have going for it are the same things Corvette has long offered: Tremendous performance for the dollar, striking looks and everyday usability. Once the new car goes on sale this fall, we'll find out if it offers something the Corvette hasn't had in decades: Youth appeal.

Read more: http://www.autoweek.com/article/2013...#ixzz2J0jy6tQv
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Old 01-25-2013, 11:14 AM   #2
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All of that analysis is wasted words. It will stay an old man's car for two reasons:
1) They make more money than the young, and their kids are gone, so they have extra.
2) Corvette was king of the world in the REAL muscle car era - 1964 to roughly 1972. Baby boomers who were into muscle cars as teens and kids during that era are the current buyers. Those born in the 80's and 90's may or may not like Corvettes, but it was nowhere near the symbol of a pinnacle car during that era as it was in earlier years.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Longtimer View Post
Read more:
blah, blah, blah.

Truth is, not everyone can afford a $55,000 car, sports or otherwise. Most people who can are older. No revelation there.

GM simply wants to additionally attract their share of younger buyers who actually CAN afford this price point but doesn't need a four-seater yet. People do not buy M3's or S4's for the rear seat.

As far as the ad hype comment is concerned, if this were true we wouldn't see so many smartphone commercials. People will be separated from their money by ads no matter how "adverse to ad hype" they think they are.

Someone wanted to write a contrarian article, period.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:03 PM   #4
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This is all a bunch of hooey...

Any product has a target market defined by common demographics. Affluence, sex, age, and other proclivities. HOWEVER, these are not hard and fast. And consumer behavior can and does often defy the carefully laid plans and fortellings of my fellow marketing soothsayers and gurus.

A good example of that is the Honda Element. "Targeted" to the youth market, it sold in droves to a much older demographic. And for good reason. It was a superior package of utility, value and charisma. The old folks didn't give a damn about the marketing. They went for the value.

GM can say they're targeting the younger buyer all they want. And indeed they've made subtle changes to the package that may skew things to a bit of a younger crowd. But other demographic factors trump mere age. As pointed out in these postings, not many twentysomethings have the disposable income to buy a Vette.


The best GM can do is build a great car, integrate superior engineering, performance and value, and imbue it with as much differentiation and "cool" as possible. But "cool" is an "X" factor that's much harder to identify much less harness.

The new design is decidedly bolder, sharper, more aggressive. It's a good start, but that alone will not ensure capture of the younger mindshare. A major committment to creative and intelligent marketing is required. And as pointed out in another thread, GM has plenty of leverage here via the racing program, should they choose to mine it.

And even then, the race to the magic cool is full of blind curves and slick spots and never certain...
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:05 PM   #5
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I really dont care what they say, Longtimer and I will drive the C7 with pride!

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Old 01-25-2013, 12:07 PM   #6
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I really dont care what they say, Longtimer and I will drive the C7 with pride!

BLK 1
Of course you will.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:15 PM   #7
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1. I'm not sure if I was Gen X or Gen Y or Gen whatever, wasn't Gen X the Nirvana and Pearl Jam era? That was my high school and college years. But, for me, I also remember the ZR-1. And that was no slouching drunk, that was the meanest kid at the bar. And I remember the first time I saw a C5, I was cruising around in a Nissan 240sx with my brother, and we saw it, and followed it around, and we didn't hate it, we didn't scoff at it, we lusted after it, and we knew fully well that our modded up cammy 240 wouldn't hang with it because... well, it had torque, we didn't.

I'm not sure I buy that argument, but it was interesting to read.

2. I'd say thats a valid point. The 45-50 year old demographic often still has kids at home. Each generation of Americans gets wealthier than the one that came before, and I thinka ss cuh they tend to indulge themselves longer into adulthood, and settle down later.

3. This is a valid point. It will always be, by and large, preponderantly, older guys who can afford what is a tremendous luxury (that being a Corvette). A relatively impractical (2 seat) car thats relatively expensive (maybe not for what it is, but seriously, a $55k toy is a big deal).

4. I agree with the 4th point. The C7 is too ricey. What European car, which is probably what the typical 40-50yr old desires (???) is go gauche? So intentionally angular, so lacking in flow and smoothness? The Cadillacs wear their angles far more gracefully than the C7's rear does. What BMW, what Benz, what Audi, what Ferrari, what Aston or Jag, what status symbol luxury car looks so excessively styled? They went the Japanese tuner car route of styling, especially on the rear, and I don't see how that is possibly going to hit their mark.

5. Agreed, telling people you are trying to woo them is not that great of an idea. What the old saying, which I probably heard first in "The Usual Suspects", the greatest trick the devil could ever pull is convincing you that he doesn't exist. Telling someone you are tyring to influence them probably isn't the best policy.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:23 PM   #8
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I really dont care what they say, Longtimer and I will drive the C7 with pride!

BLK 1
Yeah, right... They are forecasting snow in Hell and looking up, I see a flock of pigs heading South for the Winter.

Dismiss it because you don't agree with it if you like. The article makes some valid points, and some not so valid.

Time will tell.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:27 PM   #9
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Quote:
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4. I agree with the 4th point. The C7 is too ricey. What European car, which is probably what the typical 40-50yr old desires (???) is go gauche? So intentionally angular, so lacking in flow and smoothness? The Cadillacs wear their angles far more gracefully than the C7's rear does.
Great article, and this point (#4 by Dreamcars99), sums up how I felt when I saw the C7 emerge on that stage.

The Era of Confident, Cohesive design is over! Cadillac may use hard edges in their design, but they all "line up" and the design makes sense.

This new Corvette doesn't appeal to me in the least, but MANY enthusiasts just love it, which is great. I'm sure it'll be a sales success.The model will live on. It will just live on without me. Lots of older Vettes to lust after
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:37 PM   #10
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I truly believe that folks who buy Corvettes could give a crap less about demographics or that article. Like myself, I buy what I like because it looks good, runs good, and I feel good going down the road, and what I can afford has a role too.
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:46 PM   #11
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I truly believe that folks who buy Corvettes could give a crap less about demographics or that article. Like myself, I buy what I like because it looks good, runs good, and I feel good going down the road, and what I can afford has a role too.
I am 41 and this will be my 14th Corvette if I really like the car. If not a 2013 427 vert will be the next one. Could care less what the sheep in the Honda/Toyota econo cars with kids think.

BLK 1

Looking back at my 08 Z06 my favorite thing was to pass a soccer mom on the onramp at 7K rpm. That car hauled ass...
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Old 01-25-2013, 12:59 PM   #12
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Of course it will mostly stay an old man's car. It will cost 60+ with options. How many 20 somethings can afford that.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:11 PM   #13
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I don't buy the "it costs too much" reason at all. They will pay a $10,000 premium on a hybrid and trade it off before they will get their monies worth on like /equal vehicle. They are still buying sport utility and cross over vehicles with abandon and they are in the same price range as a Corvette. A LTZ Suburban will run $57,680 before options. Trucks are the same. I do think that GM has not idea how to "market" to the market. You don't tell the market you are aiming for them. They will be turned off without seeing the product. Put the product in the proper venues to target desired market age range. That is Marketing 101. GM go back to school!
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:25 PM   #14
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I don't buy the "it costs too much" reason at all. They will pay a $10,000 premium on a hybrid and trade it off before they will get their monies worth on like /equal vehicle. They are still buying sport utility and cross over vehicles with abandon and they are in the same price range as a Corvette. A LTZ Suburban will run $57,680 before options. Trucks are the same. I do think that GM has not idea how to "market" to the market. You don't tell the market you are aiming for them. They will be turned off without seeing the product. Put the product in the proper venues to target desired market age range. That is Marketing 101. GM go back to school!
A Hybrid retains the vast majority of that $10k premium.

A Suburban makes a mom feel safe while driving and holds the whole family + stuff.

A vette is a toy, to a family. It could be a daily driver to a person or a couple, but not to a family. Its an extremely expensive toy. Its an extreme luxury in a way that even an Escalade can't be, because an Escalade can do whole family duty. Same price, the Escalade is still far cheaper to the family. Because the family with a 'Vette still has to have... a family vehicle.
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Old 01-25-2013, 01:33 PM   #15
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I think the goal, in my opinion, was to more so create a new found fanbase in the younger demographic, not necessarily to sell them car. It's obvious that young people can't afford a Corvette, I've said it a million times, but you need to grab their attention now.

If a teenager becomes a Corvette enthusiast, he will buy a Corvette when he can afford it later in life. Look no further then myself....I was hood when I was 10 years old, by age 12 I started Corvette Info Center, by age 18 I was well know if the Corvette community, by age 24 I became a writer for Badboyvettes.com.....I live for this now.

If you don't grab that audience now, they will find something else. I just heard the other day about a guy at Barret-Jackson, he is looking to trade in his Audi R8. Someone suggested a Corvette and the guy had no idea what the specs were, he had no idea the price, he had no idea that Corvette has won the 24hrs of Le Mans 7 times in the past 10 years. Moral of the story, he was shocked, and said he would definitely be looking into it.
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