Why Do Corvettes Depreciate So Fast?

The Corvette, also known as the Vette, is a sports car from Chevrolet. This iconic car has been in production for almost seven decades and is the dream of many sports car lovers. For a car that has been in production for so long, both major and minor modifications have occurred here and there. 

Currently, the Corvette has eight generations, some of the iterations have been a hit, others no so much. One thing is common about all Corvettes; they depreciate quite quickly. 

Here, we give an insight into the Chevrolet Corvette and find out what makes Corvettes depreciate fast.

  • Corvette C1 (1953 – 1962):

The Corvette C1 is the first generation of the Chevrolet Corvette series. Chevrolet produced the C1 for nine years until 1963, when the second generation came out. In 1953, Chevrolet made only 300 corvettes. These cars were slightly different from each other. It is because they were hand-made, some minor details will be different. Only about 200 corvettes exist still, making them more precious to car enthusiasts. Back in 1953, the C1 price was at $3,490 that is $33,758 today.

  • Corvette C2 (1963 – 1967):

C2, also known as Stingray, is the second generation of the corvette series. General Motors manufactured the C2 for only four years until the next model. GM made 21,513 units of the C2 in 1963 alone and priced at $4,037.

  • Corvette C3 (1968 – 1982):

With over 14 years of production, it comes as the third generation of the Corvette series. In those 14 years, GM produced about, and most are still in good shape today. The C3 went for a price a bit over $4,500 back in 1968.

  • Corvette C4 (1984 – 1996):

The C4 lasted for 12 years in production. GM purchased the Lotus Group and planned to design the fastest production.

 GM made over a hundred thousand of the C4, with a base price of $21,800 in 1984.

  • Corvette C5 (1997 – 2004):

The C5 lasted for seven years and was the fifth generation model among the series. 2003 marked the 50th anniversary of the corvette series. There were over two hundred and forty thousand produced in that seven years. By 1997 the c5 was worth $37,495 with just 9,752 made and was worth $46,535 in 2004 with just 34,064 made.

  • Corvette C6 (2005 – 2013):

The C6 came out in 2005 and lasted for 8 years. GM made over two hundred and fifty thousand, with over 37,000 selling the first year alone. The first-year C6’s price was $44,245.

  • Corvette C7 (2014 – 2019):

The seventh-generation Corvette was very popular. You can see it featured in the Transformer movie franchise. 

GM manufactured the C7 for five years, with over one hundred and fifty thousand produced. The C7 2014 started at a base price of $51,995, and the Convertible at $56,995.

  • Corvette C8 (2020):

The C8 is the first Corvette with a mid-engine since the series started in 1953. C8 is presently the latest Corvette as of now. Due to the 2020 pandemic, the C8 sales hit lower than expected, with only 20,368 produced in 2020. The base price for C8 goes for $58,900.

Why do Corvettes depreciate so fast?

Manufacturing Issues 

This section will dive a bit more into if Corvettes depreciate fast. Corvette is known for its prices because it was cheaper compared to other sports cars. Economies of scale are different from product quality. Economics of scale reduces the cost of production, not product quality. When you look at some of its rivals, the Corvette doesn’t pack as much power.

As the owner of a brand-new Corvette, expect it in good conditions for about 150,000 – 200,000 miles. For an average driver, that is about ten years. After ten years, a corvette will have a depreciation rate of over 55%.

Some issues that the Corvette had over the years.

  • The 2002 Corvette gas system failed often.
  • The shifter always got stuck Regularly in the 2005 model.
  • Fuel is “stuck” inside the car in the 2008 model
  • Jerking problems occurred in the 2015 model.
  • The 2017 model had its rim getting cracked.

Most Problematic Parts of the Corvette are—

  • Transmission.
  • Electricals.
  • The airbags.
  • The seat belts.
  • Problems with the fuel system. (Is it safe to bypass a fuel pump relay if you have this issue?)

The Models that had the most Complaints—

  • C5 2002.
  • C6 2005.
  • C6 2007.
  • C6 2008.
  • C7 2015.

Social Value

When it comes to Sports cars and luxury cars, social currency controls most of the value. 

For instance, take a look at what happened to the McLarens, and Acura products so that that you know how important social value is. 

To explain further, this means most people who buy corvette cars do so for logical reasons. Corvette cars tapped into the emotions of consumers. It makes their vehicles sell fast. Corvette’s value is highly based on social currency. It makes them sell fast and also makes their cars depreciate fast. It means the moment a newer model is released; older models begin to lose value.

Social value means new things make the former less more valuable. The social value placed on corvette cars is high, especially in the US, but after a new version comes out, it drops by 50%. You might wonder why some 1990 models like the C1 and the C2 are expensive and are old. Well, social value comes into play again. As of 2021, the 1953 corvette C1 is worth about $150,000, way more expensive than the 2020 Corvette C8.

Why is this so? Social value or currency dictates the rarer a possession is, the more the value goes up. Logically the recent Corvette models have more functionality than the 1953 Corvette. There are just about Two hundred 1953 C1 still in existence. It makes the C1 Corvette more desirable among car enthusiasts. They feel it raises their social currency by owning a rare piece.

What Year of Corvettes depreciates fast?

Unlike other Sports cars, the Chevrolet Corvette is mass-produced. Mass-produced cars lose value with time. Most older Corvettes, like the 1990’s series, hold quite some value. It is because people see them as vintage, and there are only a few left. Mass production of cars makes them less rare.

A corvette after five years has at least 30% less value. With that, it will still hold more value compared to many average cars out there. 

In one study, out of 3.6 million cars sold in 2013, Corvettes’ value depreciates 44.6 percent after five years. While that percentage might look high, it still falls lower than most cars out there.

That’s fairly good considering that most cars depreciate over 50% in 3 years, let alone 5 years.

The Subaru Impreza WRX came out first with a 35.9% depreciation rate. 

The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, with a depreciation rate of 62.6%. 

Sports cars have a depreciation rate of 46.6 percent. The Corvette comes below the average depreciation rate. Unlike other Sports cars, the Corvette leverages the economy of scale. It makes production cheaper. It means they are cheaper than their competitors. Large production of a product implies over time; the value will drop because of the many of them out there. That is why the old Corvette made in the 1990s seem to go up in value because they are rarer.

Does Corvette Depreciate More or Less than an average car?

After analyzing more than 4 million cars, after five years, the result of the study saw the Chevrolet corvette depreciation rate after five years at 44.6%. This percentage is below the total average of all the car’s value reduction rates. This study proves that the Corvette devalues less than most cars. 

You can always use a calculator for an estimated depreciation rate after you purchased it at a given price. For a corvette that has a base price of $80,000—

  • After three years, it has depreciated down by at least 30.21% and at $55,832.
  •  Five years in, it is down by at least 33.48% and at $53,216.
  • After 10 years, 45.56% is lost, now priced at $44,555

Are Corvettes High Maintenance?

For a performance car, the Corvette doesn’t cost much to maintain. When you look at its rivals, the Corvette has one of the least maintenance costs. For example, BMW M3 (you might also be asking why BMW break down often) and Porsche 911 cost from $2,000 – $4,000 to service them. The Corvette falls at $800 – $1,500 to service.


After extensive research, we saw that the corvette depreciation rate falls below average. The cost of Corvette parts is also cheaper than its counterparts because of the economies of scale of productions. So, Corvettes breaking down should not be too concerning since they are reliable.

In the end, the Corvette is a fantastic car that is worth the price placed on it, also making it a good daily driver. The prestige of having one will always have an impact on the price of performance cars like the Corvette. So, if you plan on getting one, then it is definitely worth the amount asked.

And they are especially affordable compared to other expensive cars—

  1. GTRs
  2. M8s
  3. NSXs

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