The Women Behind Corvettes

It’s a stereotype that the sporty Corvette is an all guy car. Sure, there are many male buyers, but chicks dig ‘em too. As marketing studies done by Harlan Charles, Chevrolet Corvette Product Manager, and his staff conclude, there is almost always a women involved in the purchase of a new Corvette in one way or another. Either she is buying a Corvette herself or she is influencing her man’s purchase of one.

General Motors has gotten wise and started catering to this growing population of Corvette buyers. And it’s appreciated. Now the car is more female friendly than ever before.

Remember the Third Generation (C3) Corvette produced between 1968 and 1982? They’re hot cars, but the ride is a bit rough and the rocker panels are so high, a woman in a skirt getting to get out the car would blush. Thanks to General Motors with their more female friendly thoughts, the Fifth Generation (C5) and the Sixth Generation (C6) have smoother rides and lower rocker panels. If you are looking for one of the previous models, be sure to check vehicle history prior buying. You can do so at, where you will find a long list of different websites who offer VIN decoding services.

So how did this change in the car come about? Well, first starters more women were hired in roles in the design department, rather than just the traditional secretarial positions. For the last ten years or so, women have been hired more than ever to help create the exterior and interior. In fact, the department that focuses on the interior is primarily made of women, which is perfect since many of the job responsibilities mirror that of an interior designer, a woman dominated field, and a task generally loved by women.

In an interview I did with Erin Crossley, Lead Color and Trim Designer, in January 2007, there were 22 women and eight men in the department. Picking out fabric for the seats, coordinating the coloring and worrying about the details like stitching, are just some of the things this department handles.

But the women (and men!) of the interior department don’t just bring their personal talents to the table. They go out and seek out the trends to keep on top of things and keep Corvettes from looking outdated.


“We try to anticipate what people will want to see in the car,” says Crossley. “So we visit auto shows, home furnishing expos, interior design, and fashion shows to see what trends are emerging in their fields. We let that be our guide when designing the interior of the ‘Vette.”

Female consumers drive decisions on what changes and improvements take place in the Corvette, too. Focus groups bring men and women together to discuss needs and the Corvette staff takes them seriously. Corvette buyers want their needs met and General Motors is willing to meet them.

“With a female audience, we now offer more options within the inside of the car because most women want to pick out the colors of the car,” says Crossley. “They want it to match their personality.”

General Motors has listened to other issues women have had with the Corvette. Now the knobs on inside of the car are more friendly to females with long fingernails, making it easier for them to use; the scoop beneath the door handle is deeper to prevent long fingernails and well endowed diamond rings from scratching the paint job; the rocker panel is lower making the car easier to get out of, and both the driver and the passenger seats have controls to increase comfort.

Kudos to General Motors for making these improvements for the ladies. This is a smart move considering the growing number of gals purchasing these cars. And with more improvements like these, I am sure even more women will gravitate to America’s hot sports car, the Corvette.