Chevrolet says the 2014 Corvette Stingray hitting showrooms this fall is a worthy alternative to Porsche two-seaters.
General Motors and Chevrolet's ad agency, Commonwealth of Detroit, are plotting an ambitious marketing strategy for one of GM's biggest launches of the year.
Chevrolet will market the seventh-generation vehicle to loyal Corvette owners, but also wants to attract U.S. consumers who prefer European two-seaters from Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Porsche. It's taking special aim at its biggest rival in the premium sports car segment: Porsche.
"Our No. 1 [target] will be Porsche," said John Fitzpatrick, marketing manager for Chevrolet performance cars. "We think we have a car that's comparable."
Porsche declined to comment on the Corvette marketing plan. Porsche's North America advertising creative business, which has been handled by Cramer-Krasselt of Chicago, is in review.
The average age of Corvette owners is 55, compared with 48 for Porsche owners.
Chevy and Commonwealth want to wait until the new Corvette Stingray arrives in the fall to drive consumers to showrooms. So they're in the middle of a three-part, yearlong strategy to launch the first Corvette deemed hot enough to bear the Stingray name since 1976.
In phase one, the automaker teased interest in Stingray last fall by posting four videos on YouTube and placing a camouflaged version of the sports car in the "Gran Turismo 5" video game, said Todd Christensen, Corvette ad manager.
During phase two, it unveiled the car in January at the Detroit auto show. Nearly 167,000 viewers tuned in for a live stream of the event. In February, Chevy awarded a torch-red Stingray to Super Bowl XLVII MVP Joe Flacco, the winning Baltimore Ravens quarterback, in New Orleans.
During phase three this fall, Stingray commercials will appear in high-profile entertainment and sports programs and theaters.
The new Stingray will start at $51,995, including shipping, and could top $80,000 for the fully loaded convertible. The current Porsche Boxster has a sticker price of $51,350, including shipping, but can top $125,000, while the Porsche 911 ranges from $85,250 for a base 911 Carrera to a sticker of $131,350 for the base version of the 911 GT3.