The Corvette is being built in RHD for the first time. In Japan, it took just hours for orders to come pouring in.
Move over, Tom Waits; you're not the only one who's big in Japan.
The new mid-engine C8 Corvette is being built in right-hand-drive - a first for the nearly-seventy-year-old sports car - and Japanese customers are snapping them up quickly, despite a comparatively high sticker price. In fact, according to Yahoo! Japan, Chevrolet received more than 300 orders for the C8 within just 60 hours of opening up the order books.
That's nothing like the thousands of orders that have been put in here in the US, but it's impressive for an island nation with 200 million fewer citizens, where Chevrolets are a remarkably rare sight.
The new Chevrolet Corvette starts at more than ten million yen - the equivalent of about $91,000 USD - in the Japanese market, the price tag welling to over 11 million yen ($100,000) for the 2LT, and some 14 million yen ($127,000) for the 3LT. That's significantly more than in the US, and a questionable proposition when one considers all the great metal coming out of Japan's own domestic automakers.
Just as astonishing is the broad age range of Japanese Corvette customers, which "varies from the 20s to the 70s," according to a GM Japan spokesperson. "The locality is not particularly characteristic of Corvette and there are many urban areas like Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka like other Chevrolet cars."
Unfortunately, Japanese C8 Corvette buyers have a bit of a wait ahead of them; deliveries aren't to start until spring, 2021 - more than a year after the first US deliveries are expected to take place. We won't be surprised to see the number of C8 Corvette orders in Japan grow still larger in the intervening time.
Even at the equivalent of about $91,000 USD for that market, the all-new eighth-generation Corvette is a performance bargain, its 490-horsepower V8 and quick-shifting seven-speed DCT taking it to 60 mph from a standstill in 3 seconds dead even in base trim.