Chevrolet is in the midst of rolling out the seventh-generation Corvette Stingray in overseas market all around the globe, but displacement addicts in South Korea might never get the chance to sit behind the wheel.
Speaking at a recent media presentation, executives explained that the South Korean government has indefinitely banned the Corvette Stingray because its 6.2-liter LT1 V8 engine doesn’t comply with the strict noise regulations that apply to all new passenger cars.
It is technically possible to make the seventh-gen ‘Vette quieter by fitting it with a more restrictive exhaust, but Chevrolet explains that it is having a hard time justifying the investment because the South Korean market represents little more than a rounding error in annual Corvette sales. According to Sergio Rocha, the CEO of Chevrolet’s South Korean arm, only about 12 Corvettes are sold annually in Korea.
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The government is unlikely to exempt the Stingray from the noise regulations but all hope is not lost. Sales of imported cars in South Korea reached an unprecedented high last year, and a relatively recent free-trade agreement with the United States could boost sales in the long run by lowering the ‘Vette’s base price.
If the market picks up, Chevrolet might invest in ways to make the Corvette quieter. If sales stay low, America’s muscle car will remain a forbidden fruit in South Korea.