If the base 2020 Corvette C8 really does get sold in any kind of quantity around its promised sub-$60,000 MSRP, it will be a pretty remarkable democratization of high-horsepower mid-engine performance. The car should be accessible once early hype cools off, but you won’t be able to rock up to just any Chevy store to get one.
This week a Reddit thread went up saying that not all Chevrolet dealers would be able to sell the C8; that dealers which did would be “on the hook” for $50,000 to $60,000 in tooling to service it. We reached out to GM to get the scoop on that and the real situation doesn’t seem quite as outrageous.
As Corvette PR man Chris Bonelli explained to me over email:
“Corvette has always been a vehicle that requires advanced training and service tools beyond the requirements of the other vehicles in the Chevrolet portfolio. The process to become a certified dealer has remained the same from the seventh generation...”
He went on to bullet-point the steps for said certification:
- Opt-in to be a Corvette certified dealer.
- Complete the required web-based online courses and attend in-person training at our Spring Mountain Corvette Spring Driving School. The content of the program combines in-vehicle driving and handling skills, with in-classroom training on customer experience and product knowledge.
- Maintain a Corvette Sales Specialist on staff in their dealership.
- Purchase the necessary tools to service the Corvette.
Significantly, Bonelli went on to promise that the service tools are not in the $60,000 neighborhood. “If the dealer is not a current Corvette dealer,” he explained, it would be “under” $20,000 to buy C8 servicing tools, depending on what the dealer had already. And if a Chevy dealer is already selling Corvettes, “then additional tool costs are minimal.”
Before the launch of the C8, CorvetteBlogger was positing that the Spring Mountain training costs “$3,500,” and that the new tooling for dealers that already sell Corvettes would be “$1,500.”
Now, if you were to bundle the costs of tool-buying with the salary and cost to train specialized Corvette sales and service people, plus signage, Corvette-branded inflatable waving-arm man, and so forth, with then yeah I could see landing at “$60,000” or more, but that’s not exactly the same thing.
Another layer that’s apparently new for 2020 and the launch of the C8 is that some Chevy stores will be becoming Signature Corvette Dealers. “Signature dealers have the same above requirements as the Certified Corvette Dealer, however, they are opting in to send additional sales specialists, managers or advisors through the Spring Mountain training.”
I haven’t been able to definitively figure out if it will be worth it for prospective Corvette customers to seek out a Signature Corvette dealer. Bonelli explained it as “[elevating the customer experience from the initial stages of shopping, through delivery and into the lifecycle of owning a Corvette; easing the angst of the service experience.” A press release last month simply stated: “Corvette Signature dealers will also have special training on servicing the new supercar, reinforcing Chevrolet’s commitment to the complete ownership experience.”
Sounds like it’s a McDonald’s versus McCafe kind of situation; one is slightly fancier. Today, it looks like Chevy dealers selling Corvettes are using “Signature” and “signature” (lowercase S) interchangeably so it’s hard to claim how much the consumer experience is going to change.
All this to say; if a Chevy store near you is selling Corvettes today, it’s probably going to be stocking C8s soon. But hopefully your curiosity on how that happens is now at least somewhat indulged.