This year is one everyone will want to forget, including the auto industry.
Production and sales were both immensely harmed by measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus and it looks like it’s going to be a while before things are back to anything close to normal.
But the march of progress continued, if not entirely unabated, and there were some excellent and important new entries to the automotive landscape.
The Tesla Model Y and Ford Mustang Mach-E sparked plenty of interest in electric cars, while GM’s new full-size SUVs and the rebooted Land Rover Defender proved that old dogs can definitely learn new tricks, along with the first Ford F-150 hybrid, which comes with pretty much everything but the kitchen sink … including a bed.
But even though all of those models more than met expectations, the one car that impressed me more than any of them was the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, because it exceeded them.
Chevrolet threw out over six decades of tradition to transform the Corvette from a front-engine to mid-engine design in an effort to better compete with exotic models. It was an undertaking fraught with challenges to both engineering and identity that the Bowtie boys and girls pulled off perfectly.
The Corvette’s performance is simply outstanding at its $59,995 starting price and its refinement, execution and street cred embarrass some cars costing twice as much — not to mention the old Corvette. It’s not an electric or hybrid, but it does have a trunk big enough for two golf bags despite the location of its 6.2-liter V8 and that’s what Corvette fans call innovation. Besides, a battery-powered model is expected, though not yet confirmed to arrive in the coming years with more power than any Corvette before it.
And for anyone who was worried that customers would spurn such a foreign creation wearing one of America’s most iconic car names, they needn’t have. The first year of production was sold out as quickly as the Corvette accelerates (which is to 60 mph in under 3 seconds, btw.)
Unfortunately for Chevrolet, it wasn’t as many cars as it hoped to produce due to all of the challenges that arose, but it shouldn’t have any trouble moving the metal … uh, fiberglass next year.