Chevy Corvette goes global with RHD   | Daily News


 

Chevy Corvette goes global with RHD  

Upon unveiling the C8-generation Corvette in July 2019, Chevrolet shocked many by announcing the new car will be available in right-hand drive configuration from the factory. Despite killing off the Holden brand, the carmaker recently reinforced its commitment to sell the new ‘Vette in Australia as well as other right-hand-drive markets such as the United Kingdom and Japan.

The interior of the right-hand drive Corvette, pictured courtesy of Corvette Blogger, comes complete with the 3LT package as well as the GT2 seats that include suede inserts. The steering wheel is also wrapped in the soft material. The Corvette interior in the image is a stunning spec. It is a 3LT model with the GT2 seats, finished in Natural (tan) leather with suede inserts and steering wheel. All RHD Corvettes will be 3LT trim, as the higher profits justify the low number of vehicles sold.

Chevy said that it made the decision to offer the right-hand-drive Corvette because offering only an eight-speed, dual-clutch gearbox made the process easier to swap the steering wheel. In addition, putting the engine behind the driver makes repackaging things at the front axle a simpler job.

The company recently admitted it is taking a risk launching a right-hand drive Corvette. Sales of the car recently commenced in Japan after the Tokyo Auto Salon and in the first 60 hours of taking reservations, the company had secured more than 300 local orders for the mid-engined sports car. Note, however, that Japan and the UK both allow Left-hand drive cars to be registered, unlike countries and territories such as Australia, Sri Lanka and Hong Kong.  

Unlike many vehicles sold in both left-hand drive and right-hand drive markets with relatively simple interiors that are quite easy to mirror, the Corvette has quite a complex cabin design. The fighter jet-inspired cabin of the C8 means constructing it in both left- and right-hand drive configurations is quite a laborious process. Australia and the United Kingdom could prove to be the largest RHD markets for the Corvette.

Since the Corvette’s inception back in 1953, it has been the affordable sports car for America. Elsewhere, however, the only option was to drive a high hand drive car in a left hand drive market, or pay for an expensive conversion. Its forbidden fruit nature changes with the C8. Just like Ford announced the S550 generation Mustang would be sold worldwide in 2015 (now there are a good umber of RHD Mustangs in Sri Lanka), Chevy pleased Corvette fans around the world when the C8 was unveiled as a global product last summer. The C8 should be very popular in overseas. Just like in the US, the C8 offers better bang for your buck than any other sports car.

As has always been the case, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette boasts plenty of power – as much as 495 horsepower and 470 pound-feet of tire-spinning torque. There have been all manner of improvements made to the C8’s 6.2-liter V-8, as well as its suspension system. But the most dramatic – and controversial – change sees the Corvette’s engine moved from up front, ahead of the driver to midship, immediately behind the cabin. That dramatically changes the weight balance and other factors that translate not only into a much faster launch but significantly improved handling. The 2020 Corvette won honors as both the Motor Trend Car of the Year and North American Car of the Year.

That said, it has also generated a fair amount of controversy. Some fans were outraged by Chevy’s decision to forego offering a manual gearbox on the C8, opting instead for the sort of double-clutch automatic transmission, or DCT. The C8 transmission actually can be shifted manually, using steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters, but the new system is so intuitive a human driver can’t come close to matching its performance in automatic mode.

The improvements built into the C8 not only make the car faster but also transform it into much more of a daily driver. Buyers can upgrade to what is technically known as a “magnetorheological suspension” or “MR,” where a fluid controlled by a magnet creates a shock absorption effect. The computer-controlled system can switch each of the four individual shock absorbers from soft to firm, or anywhere in-between, in the time it takes the Corvette to travel just 1 inch at 60 miles per hour. On track, it improves cornering. On the street it makes potholes all but vanish.

The new Corvette is available with all-season tires. The new sports car also has a feature that lifts the nose up by more than an inch, making it easier to manage steep driveways as well as speed bumps.

Critics have hailed the 2020 model as not only the most capable Corvette ever produced but, perhaps more significantly, the first to pose a serious challenge to the best exotic sports cars from Europe (which have all been available in factory RHD for decades). “It’s important for Corvette to be seen as a car you wouldn’t have expected from Chevrolet,” said one analyst. The new C8 will be available to buyers in Sri Lanka from mid 202.


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