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Ford Needs A Chevrolet Corvette Rival: Opinion

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With so much of the auto industry still buzzing off the hype of the mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8, we thought it was high time to reexamine The Blue Oval’s performance lineup. Long story short, there’s a glaring hole right smack dab in the middle of it, with nothing to bridge the gap between the Mustang pony car and the Ford GT exotic, and more importantly, nothing to rival the Chevrolet Corvette. Sure, there are faster Mustangs, like the Shelby GT500, but we’re talking about a true sports car here, not a go-faster pony car.

Of course, Ford’s absence in the space isn’t for lack of trying. The original Ford Thunderbird launched around the same time as the Corvette, and definitely had the right stuff to morph into a dedicated two-door sports car to challenge Vette. However, rather than take the sporty path, the Thunderbird instead went luxury, ceding its performance edge to the Corvette in the process. The circumstance is definitely a strange one, given that Ford competes with Chevy in pretty much every other vehicle segment imaginable, from crossovers to pickup trucks and SUVs of all sizes… but not dedicated sports cars.

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Meanwhile, the Chevrolet Corvette, as well as a host of competing sports car models like the Porsche 718 (previously known as the Boxster and Cayman) and 911, Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, and the Jaguar F-Type, continue to rake in profits. Production numbers might not be through the roof, but the profit margins certainly are, and in a big way. That’s more than we can say about the Ford GT, which is rumored to be an unprofitable venture for The Blue Oval.

Money is obviously a big factor here, but Chevrolet Corvette fighter from Ford would be beneficial in other ways too. For example, such a vehicle would provide The Blue Oval with the much-vaunted halo effect, spreading golden rays of desirability across the rest of the Ford lineup.

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Granted, the Ford GT is already a good pick for that role, but the GT is arguably less successful at being a halo car than the Vette, given the GT’s extremely low production and sales numbers, requisite approval by Ford, and extremely high cost. All that consequently adds up to very low visibility of the Ford GT.

At the end of the day, being a true fan of something can often mean putting away the pride and getting a good dose of reality. In this case, that reality is that Ford simply needs a Chevrolet Corvette rival – a true two-door sports car that’s not a pumped-up Mustang or the unobtanium Ford GT. We want something high-end and aspirational, with true sports car cred to its name, but a product that’s still obtainable. The mid-engine Corvette’s sub-$60,000 starting price sounds about right. The current Ford GT – hand-built by specialty manufacturer Multimatic in Canada – might provide a starting point for all that, but for goodness sake, produce it on a damn production line, okay?

We think that if GM and Porsche can make money on dedicated sports cars such as the mid-engine Corvette and 911, so can Ford. Do you agree? Let us know by taking the poll, and don’t forget to subscribe to Ford Authority for around-the-clock Ford news coverage.

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Written by Jonathan Lopez

Jonathan is an automotive journalist based out of Southern California. He loves anything and everything on four wheels.

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15 Comments

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  1. I can’t see it happening. Corvette sales usually around 25-30 thousand per year. If Ford built a car to compete, it wouldn’t expand the market, it would split it and probably both cars would die. It’s almost 2020 and we all know where the car industry is headed, self driving appliances with electric power. If Ford was going to challenge the Corvette, it should have happened in 1958, but they went for volume with the Thunderbird and made it a 4 seat luxury car.

  2. Finally, someone brought this up. I’ve been thinking it for sometime now. Try Thunderbird again. 600 HP natural V8. Under $60 to start.

  3. Ford is dropping sedans, coupes and is committed to only leave the Mustang alive to fill that void. Why then, produce a vehicle to compete with the Corvette? Less than 60K to boot, when Mustangs with similar performance as the Corvette and produced at three or four times the production run as the Corvette’s, already exceed 60K. For retired folks, both the Corvette and the Mustang are unobtainium built products. Today’s vehicles, as a whole, are without a doubt, more dependable, safer, except for the ever-expanding fill-up of entertainment and social media Technology, most of which will never be used in the car’s lifetime. Indeed, for safety reasons, it never should be used while underway. Since such Tech. is merely a profit-making feature and stuck into packages that force you to buy it along with useful features.

  4. Ford has a halo car, it’s called the Raptor. No one can touch it either; Dodge is half heartedly trying, but nothing from GM can even come close to it. Over in the bowtie forums they try to make the case for a bowtie Raptor equivalent all the time, but the bottom line is GM will likely never make a competing product, for the same reasons Ford will likely never make a product to compete with the Corvette.

    Your halo car should best represent your product lineup, and right now Ford has that. They sell a ton more F150’s than anything else.

    • I agree. Anything that could come close to the Raptor that’s not a Raptor would have to be modified heavily. The only rival I can think of (and not that much of a rival either) is the Ram 1500 Power Wagon…

  5. Ford could have an amazing lineup with it’s cars and it’s engines and yes the market is absolutely big enough for Ford to bring out a lot of different things. The market size hasn’t changed it’s just that engineers and bean counters have filled it with so much fluff that it makes us feel that there’s not a large enough market for anything besides the crappy stuff they’ve been forcing down our throats. I won’t say that Ford is doing terrible, because they’re not but they need to be doing better than what they’re doing. They need to have a CD6 performance Trio with the Mustang, the Taurus and the Explorer. All three need to be rear wheel drive and all three need to over different levels of ecoboost and V8 performance with 10-speed automatics and DCT transmissions. Engine choices should be the 350hp/350tq 2.3L a 420hp/420tq 4.8L V8, a 480hp/445tq 5.0L a 540hp/465tq 5.4L and a supercharged 5.2L Voodoo V8. The Ranger/Bronco Scout needs to offer the 2.7L Ecoboost and 3.0 Diesel while the full size Bronco/Expedition/F150 needs to offer the 2.7L Ecoboost, a 4.8L V8, a more powerful 5.0L V8 to the tune of about 450hp and a 520hp/475tq 5.4L. This still leaves plenty of room for Ford to make vehicles such as the Edge, Ecosport and Escape with engines such as the 1.0L Ecoboost (which would be great for a hybrid powertrain, the 2.0L Ecoboost and electric vehicles. As far as the 3.0L Ecoboost and the 3.5L Ecoboost and their hybrid variants, let Lincoln use these engines.
    As far as a Corvette sports car competitor, I do think it would be nice to see Ford do something to compete with the Corvette, but Ford has been out of that game since the late 50’s and honestly, It’s not going to make much of a dent in the sales of the Corvette because the Corvette has been the Iconic American sports car for decades. Ford would do better moving in on competing with Mopar’s badass trio (Challenger, Charger, Durango) with the Mustang, a RWD based Taurus and a RWD based Explorer with performance V8 options along with a potent 350hp base 2.3L Turbo in all three vehicles.

  6. Bring back the T-Bird as a $30K 2 seater sports car. But don’t make it cheap inside like the last effort. Build something plush with power and people will buy them. When I drive my 2003 T-Bird, many times Mustangs pull up to me and say “My car wants to be your car when it grows up!” There is a whole market segment that Ford could dominate on a global level and they choose to ignore it.

  7. After owning Ford’s all my life I am now selling my 1969 Shelby GT500 in lieu of a 2020 mid engine Corvette, it is the biggest bang for the buck!!

  8. Stop dreaming, Ford is on solid ground and sure as hell ain’t gonna build a profit loser just to compete with another companies sports car. Does GM really make a profit on the Corvette. That has been tossed around in the GM board meetings many times. Does it? Will it exist after most of the company goes electric.

  9. I’m with @Sam and I’m stayin with Ford. Nothin will change my mind either, as long as they keep a gas version of all their performance cars and upcoming cars.

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