Citing multiple sources, the Detroit News reports that General Motors Co. is developing a mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette that will be available for sale at the beginning of 2019.
The anonymous sources, said to be familiar with GM product plans, claim that the eighth-generation Corvette C8 is internally codenamed “Emperor” and will debut in early 2018. The insiders also maintain that while the front-engine Z06 and Grand Sport models would continue to be produced through 2021 that the mid-engine variation would eventually be the only Corvette available.
The report indicates that the project is being spearheaded by GM global product development chief Mark Reuss and is being motivated by a push to appeal to a younger demographic.
From a technical standpoint, the mid-engine architecture will provide GM with a wider range of drivetrain variants, allowing it to offer a modestly-priced competitor to supercars from companies like Acura, Porsche and Ferrari.
While GM has declined to comment on the report, recent moves by the company have increased speculation that transitioning to a mid-engine format is inevitable.
Last year the trademarks “E-Ray” and “Manta Ray” were registered, leading analysts to believe that a range of Corvette propulsion systems are on the way. The company also recently announced an $800 million commitment to its Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky, the manufacturing facility where Corvettes are produced.