Skip to main content

Exclusive: Chief Corvette Engineer admits 2015 Z06 could be the last new Corvette … ever

On my trip down to Palm Springs a few weeks ago to drive the 2014 Corvette Stingray Convertible, I found myself sitting next to Tadge Juechter, the Chief Engineer of the Corvette at dinner one night. Of all places, we were dining at Frank Sinatra’s house. But that’s another story.

As we dined on steak, washed down with bourbon, I engaged Juechter on the forthcoming performance Corvette, the Z06. Like any good company man, he was reluctant to divulge anything before the official unveil at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.

Though tight-lipped on the Z06 nitty-gritty, Juechter did freely discuss the Corvette’s sales. Chevrolet brass was quick to brag that the C6 outsold its main rival, the Porsche 911, in 2013 even though production was halted for six months.

In 2012, Chevrolet sold around 13,000 Corvettes. By comparison, in 1979, which was peak year for the Corvette, Chevrolet produced approximately 53,000 Corvettes.

While the ‘Vette might have indeed out-sold the 911, the Corvette is still in the midst of a sales slump, one that could very spell its demise.

General Motors is very proud of its all-new C7 Corvette Stingray, and rightfully so. Recently out of bankruptcy, though, GM’s not ready to make any costly mistakes. Heck, even the last range-topping C6 Corvette, the ZR1, had been declined by GM brass for production twice – and its designers threatened with termination – before it was eventually green-lit on the third go-’round.

Between bites of rib eye and sips of bourbon, I asked Juechter what he could tell me about the Z06.

“If we don’t get sales back up, there won’t be a next one,” Juechter calmly admitted.

At that moment, coincidentally or not, the Chevrolet public relations team called Juechter away from the table. Sadly, this meant that I’d never get elaboration. I think it’s safe to say, though, that unless the Stingray and all-new Z06 don’t scare up some serious sales figures in the next few years, we could see the Corvette breed grind to a halt around 2020.

Editors' Recommendations

650 supercharged horses elevate the Corvette Z06 from sports car to supercar
2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

Overcompensating Corvette guy or not, there’s something for everyone to love in the fast, grip-y, and engaging Z06.

When tasked with describing the automotive orgy of sound, fury, and bombast that was the late, great Corvette ZR1, auto writers everywhere struggled to earn their keep. The thesaurus-straining beast inspired endless four-wheeled superlatives, putting high-dollar exotics on edge, with its stratospheric performance and relative affordability.

Read more
Corvette’s Engine Build Experience lets customers build their own powerplants
chevy offers corvette engine build experience to z06 buyers 2015 chevrolet corvettez06 180

Sure, drivers may love the evocative, sonorous roars from the powerhouse of an engine housed in their favorite big boy toy, but how many have had an intimate hand in its assembly? Chevrolet announced that customers buying the new Corvette Z06 will have such an opportunity with its exclusive engine build experience.

Kicking off in March, those who have put an order down for the high-powered ‘Vette can select the experience off of the same order form for an extra $5,000, regardless of trim level. From there, they’ll be treated to a full day with a Performance Build Center engine assembly technician who will instruct them on how they will build the supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that will end up in their brand new ride.

Read more
Cadillac’s 2016 CTS-V hits 200 mph with a 640-hp V8 yanked from a Corvette Z06
2016 Cadillac CTS-V

Following the unveiling of its baby brother, the ATS-V in Los Angeles back in November, the 2016 Cadillac CTS-V will thunder into the 2015 Detroit Auto Show a few weeks from now.

The third-generation CTS-V is the meanest ever, featuring all of the refinements of the current CTS with a powertrain that will inspire more than a few expletives from slack-jawed onlookers.

Read more