The curious case of Corvette C8 in Chevy Makati

The Interesting Cars Spotting PH Facebook group is more than just a place where enthusiasts share images of rare cars sightings in the country (usually accompanied by a Toyota Innova).

One lazy afternoon, someone posted a photo of a mid-engine Corvette C8 Convertible, supposedly taken while the vehicle was on display at Chevrolet Makati. Curious as I was, and the fact that Chevrolet Philippines has yet to release the new generation Corvette here, I went to the dealership to see the car for myself.

The model wasn’t there, but not without an interesting story to tell.

According to the sales agents I talked to during my visit, Chevy Makati has a “supplier” of the Corvette C8 from Canada. There are still units on their way and they can reserve one for me – for a fee of course. Guess I can still pass as a millionaire in shorts and sandals, but I digress.

That “fee” of course, equates to 20 percent of the C8’s asking price, which is P12,600,000 for the Shadow Gray Metallic Convertible 3LT trim, as I was told. So as long as I have around P2.5 million lying around my backyard, I’d be in line to be one of the first to have a mid-engine Corvette in the country. Good thing I don’t have that kind of money.

For the uninitiated, the Corvette C8 is a historic model in the Bowtie brand’s history. For the past seven generations, the venerable sports car has always had its engine in front, so this is the first time that the Corvette has been given a rear mid-engine layout. More than a handful have likened the C8 to a supercar, kind of America’s answer to the segment mostly populated by Italians.

This isn’t the only thing great about the Corvette C8. In Stingray variant, the C8 is powered by a naturally aspirated V8 LT2 engine, derived from the LT1 of its predecessor. Without the Z51 Performance package (which comes with sport exhaust system), this mill develops up to 490hp and 630Nm of torque. These numbers are sent to the rear wheels via an 8-speed Tremec dual-clutch automatic transmission. From reviews overseas, the transmission works wonders, allowing the Corvette C8 with Z51 to sprint from zilch to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds.

Those numbers are enough for you to drool over the Corvette C8 and thankfully, you have a chance to buy one from Chevy Makati. That’s if you have the means to drop some serious cash.

Of note, we reached out to The Covenant Car Company, Inc. (TCCCI), the official distributor of Chevrolet vehicles in the Philippines, to get a statement about the unit. The company’s aware that Chevy Makati has the mid-engine Corvette here. If you can recall, TCCCI has launched the Corvette C7 Stingray back in 2018 with a retail price of around P8.5 million.

To be fair, we’re sure TCCCI would very much like to bring in the mid-engine Corvette locally themselves. But with a very complicated process at hand, we might need to wait for a bit more for an official launch from the distributor, which it confirmed to be happening this year. The process, by the way, is something that independent importers don’t have to go through.

A silver lining – you could get a Corvette C8 as early as now from Chevy Makati but remember that once TCCCI gets the green light to bring it officially, it will be priced substantially less than via Chevy Makati’s “suppliers” from Canada.

Case in point: the Corvette Convertible in the loaded 3LT guise costs a hair above $110,000 or around P5.3 million with the current exchange rates. If TCCCI keeps its promise to bring the C8 here this year, it could sell the unit for around P9 million, but that’s just a speculation on my part. That amount may sound too much, but at least it isn’t as high as the P12.6-million asking price when you get the sports car from Chevy Makati before its official launch.

Chevy Makati’s pricing mentioned above isn’t surprising, though. Gray market imports, such as the process that the dealership had to go through to bring in the C8 here, typically require such high markups because they’re not buying straight from the head office. They have to start from the selling price given by their contact Chevy dealer in Canada (which should already come with their own markup) and then add the usual tariffs, shipping fees, and profit margin, of course.

But if you can’t wait for the official launch, you have all the freedom to contact Chevy Makati to order yours as early as today. I was told that a Corvette C8 coupe (targa top) in Torch Red is available on hand. All you need to do is drop them a message.

Oh by the way, that Shadow Gray Corvette I was talking about? It was bought by a 24-year-old guy from Dagupan the morning I went to visit – in cold cash.

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