AP Autos Writer
DETROIT (AP) -- General Motors said Friday that a base model of the 2014 Corvette Stingray will start at just under $52,000.
Considering everything that GM put into the newest Corvette, the $1,400 price increase over the current model seems pretty modest.
The 2014 Corvette goes on sale this summer. The latest version was completely redone, and shares only two parts with the current model, which is nine years old.
The car was the talk of the Detroit auto show in January because of the dramatic changes GM made to it.
The 1,000-person team at GM made the 2014 version lower and sleeker, saving weight by replacing the steel structure with aluminum. The hood is made of lightweight carbon fiber. The interior gets a more modern look with new touch screens.
Under the hood, the car gets a new 450-horsepower, 6.2-liter V-8 engine that can go to four cylinders on the highway to save fuel. A new seven-speed manual transmission is standard. Even the base model can go from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds, a few tenths of a second faster than the current model.
Dealers say customers already are putting down deposits.
"Every day you have someone coming in wanting to know about the new Corvette," says Bill Perkins, owner of two Chevrolet dealerships in the Detroit suburbs. "You have a lot of enthusiasts out there. You have a lot of people that have purchased Corvettes before. A lot of people come in wanting to know the price, how soon they can get one."
A $1,400 increase is "not that much of a change when you look at everything that's happened to the car," said John Fitzpatrick, marketing manager for Chevrolet performance cars.
The car performs similar to a Porsche 911, yet a comparably equipped 911 would cost $100,000, Fitzpatrick said.
When pricing the Corvette, GM knew it had to avoid giving sticker shock to younger buyers, who should like all the new features. The average Corvette buyer is a male around 50 years old, Fitzpatrick said.
"We want to retain that loyal Corvette customer. We also realize that we do have to attract a younger buyer and do things that make the car aspirational to them."
The car's gas mileage will be released later, but GM says it will do better than the current Corvette's 26 mpg on the highway.
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