Posted Jan 15th 2013 5:30PM
Affirmation, clarification, smack-down refutation – that was the order of responses when the issue of a right-hand0drive C7 Corvette came up at the Detroit Auto Show. When an Australian news outlet asked General Motors CEO Dan Akerson whether the new Stingray would get an RHD version, he answered "yes" and "soon."
That same question was put to lead Corvette engineer Tadge Juechter, and he began by stating that they've been wanting Corvette to get to Australia and "Our plan is to make this a truly global car." He then clarified Akerson's answer with "It'll be years away rather than soon.
Nevertheless, even after Juechter's curb-your-enthusiasm answer and Holden chief Mike Devereaux's sidestepping the line of fire by offering no comment, the responses led to this headline in Australia's Daily Telegraph newspaper: "Finally, iconic American sportscar, the Corvette, set for Australian showrooms."
Cue Tim Lee, GM's vice president of global manufacturing, president of its international operations and "the operating guy in charge." When the same query was put to him the day after it was put to Akerson, Lee said, "I have no idea what [Akerson] said but we have no plan to put a right-hand-drive under that bonnet. The Corvette is a Chevrolet, it's not a Holden, it never will be, next question." He added that there isn't even a plan for it, much less any engineering behind it.
His journalist questioners, sniffing blood in the contradiction, wouldn't let it go. After being led back to the subject of Akerson's "Yes" and Juechter's non-denial again and again, Lee finally said "This is a non-story from my point of view. You can write what you want to write, I really don't give a [expletive]. But it is not in the mainstream plan."
So there you have... something. The Brits and Japanese will get the new Corvette because it's legal to drive left-hand drive cars in those countries. For you Aussies, the 60-year wait continues.