The Chevrolet Corvette is an icon of the American automotive industry. The latest generation of Corvettes—the C7—is considered one of the best examples of the legendary car to date. But would it surprise you to learn that the C7 was almost never produced? Today we are going to explore the history of this iconic vehicle, and how bankruptcy played a part in its salvation.
Saving the Chevrolet Corvette: A Tale of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Success
Known for its sleek body lines, powerful engine and sporty stance, the Corvette has always been at the center of American motorsport. That being said, the car is also no stranger to adversity. In the early 1990s, GM had fallen into rough financial times, so executives cancelled the Corvette program. Luckily, a group of dedicated individuals made a desperate attempt to save the car from corporate destruction. It worked, and the Corvette continued to be one of the most successful sport cars on the market. That changed in 2008.
The recession had finally caught up to GM and the executives were desperate. Once again, they put the Corvette on the chopping block, cancelling development on the C7. Less than a year after that fateful decision, the company filed for bankruptcy. This created a window of opportunity for development on the C7 to be reinstated.
After filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, all of GM’s projects and assets came up for review by a task force assembled by the U.S. Treasury Department. Among those operations under review was the Corvette department. At the time, Tadge Juechter was chief engineer. He had been recently promoted and was now facing the task force in charge of reorganizing GM’s manufacturing.
In an interview with Car and Driver magazine, Juechter described what it was like facing the task force. When it was revealed that he was Corvette’s chief engineer, one of the consultants asked him about the C7. The question came as a surprise to Juechter, he realized the consultant understood the vehicle’s heritage. During their investigation, the task force recognized the Corvette as a world-renowned brand, and found that the financial record actually proved the car was making money.
The car soon became an important pillar of GM’s restructuring and subsequent revival. The program was so successful that some have even hailed the C7 generation as the best Corvette ever made. Now, this automotive legend is taking the next step as the C8 generation prepares to break cover. It will now feature a mid-engine design that’s new to the Corvette, but very familiar to drivers of high-end vehicles like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Remarkably, the iconic Corvette’s current success was made possible thanks to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.
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