Chevrolet surprised us with the launch price for its 2020 Corvette Stingray C8, but there are hints that its Porsche-worrying sticker will get nudged upwards sooner rather than later. The new 2020 Corvette isn’t set to arrive in dealerships until later in the year, but with a sub-$60,000 starting price, many are already readying their orders.
The expectation had been that, with a serious architectural change from the front- to mid-engine, a whole new design, and all of the other changes involved, Chevrolet could easily have priced the new Corvette significantly higher than the outgoing car. That may have gone against the grain for what has always been a relatively attainable performance vehicle, but be an understandable change all the same.
Instead, the 2020 Corvette Stingray 1LT starts at $59,995 including destination. Certainly, there are ways to send that price tag up – like sports seats, the GPS-enabled nose lift feature, and other niceties – but for those just wanting 6.2-litres of V8 and a 194 mph top speed, the 1LT is hard to argue with.
Problem is, those prices may very well not last. According to MotorTrend‘s sources, this sub-$60k starting price is only intended to be available for the first model year. Come the 2021 Corvette Stingray, it’s going to increase. Exactly by how much is unclear at this stage, but Chevrolet does have a track record of bumping up its ‘Vette prices – often citing greater demand as the motivation – by several thousand dollars.
To upend things a little, we’d argue that no matter how affordable it may be, the entry-level Stingray isn’t the C8 configuration you actually want. That would be the 2020 Corvette Stingray with the Z51 Performance Package, a $5,000 add-on which cuts the 0-60 mph time and adds beefier brakes among other improvements. Top speed may dip a little, but we suspect most people will get more use out of the Z51’s enhancements.
Indeed, dealer mark-ups on the initial 2020 Corvette models are likely to be considerable, given the balance between predicted demand and Chevrolet’s ability to supply the car. If other high-profile models are anything to go by, figure on limited availability and five-figure “market adjustments” as dealerships make the most of interest.
By the time the 2021 Corvette Stingray arrives, in fact, there’s every possibility that even with a higher sticker price from Chevy, more reasonable expectations from dealers could leave it a little cheap than getting in on a first-year car. That said, then you don’t get to boast about having a brand new Corvette C8 on your driveway in the first year.
At the end of the day, this is probably pretty solid strategy for Chevrolet and arguably won’t make a huge amount of difference for actual ‘Vette buyers. The automaker gets to ride a wave of positive coverage praising its affordable starting price, which certainly looks stark in how different it is to similarly-priced sports car competition, while buyers themselves are undoubtedly going to find that it’s dealerships, not Chevy itself that sets the tone for just how expensive their new ride is.