Trademark Issues Preventing Australian Chevrolet Corvette Sales
I should start by pointing out that there has been no official word from General Motors about their plans to introduce the Chevrolet Corvette in Australia, but we know that the automaker has been involved in a trademark dispute with the Australian government for several years now over the Corvette logo.
That’s right – this isn’t a trademark issue of the new Corvette or Stingray or anything else. The problem is that the Australian government’s trademark branch won’t allow General Motors to use the iconic Corvette crossed flags emblem.
The Australian Trademark Issue
According to the crew at GM Authority, General Motors has been going back and forth with the Australian government in an effort to get the Corvette crossed flags logo approved for use in that market. If you are not familiar with it, the C7 Corvette Stingray version is shown above with a checkered flag on one side and on the other, a Chevy bowtie and a fleur-de-lis are on a field of red. It is that red side which is the issue with the Aussie trademark officials, as in their opinion, that Chevy bowtie is too similar to the symbol for the Australian Red Cross.
The Red Cross symbol is protected under the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957, so for General Motors to use it on the Corvette, the automaker needs approval from the Ministry of Defense. Evidently, that permission has not been granted, so GM continues to work through this legal issue in order to be able to sell the Chevrolet Corvette in Australia.
It Might Lead to a C8 Down Under
Considering that the C7 Corvette is a few years into its run and the Bowling Green plant only builds left hand drive Corvettes, it seems unlikely that Chevrolet would look to market the current Corvette down under. Trademark issues aside, GM would have to build the Corvette with the right hand drive configuration of the Aussie market and with no mention of that over the past few years – it doesn’t seem like GM is going to rush to build a right-drive Corvette for a handful of markets.
However, it is rumored that the C8 Corvette is not far away, so if General Motors could clear up this trademark issue in Australia soon, it could have an impact on whether or not the next Chevy supercar will come in right hand drive.
The Right Time for an Aussie Corvette
While there are other RHD markets around the world, Australia is a big market for GM performance – mainly via the Holden brand. The popular rear wheel drive Holden Commodore is being replaced by a new front-drive (and AWD) version, so GM performance fans down under will soon find themselves hunting for a new rear wheel drive performance car. They would likely consider the Corvette, especially if it was badged as a Holden, but GM will still want to get the iconic crossed flags somewhere on the car and right now – that seems to be illegal.
Of course, the “simple” solution would be for General Motors to begin building right hand drive Chevrolet Camaros, which could still happen, but the bottom line for now is that GM doesn’t sell the Corvette in Australia because they cannot use the Corvette badging. There is also the issue that GM hasn’t openly discussed selling the Camaro or Corvette with a right-drive layout, but with the constant push for global performance car success – you would think that the General will eventually look to offer performance cars in those markets where right hand drive is expected.
Source: GM Authority