Sold Corvette to General Motors
Don’t say no to Mr. Perkins.
Jim Perkins saw his first Corvette in 1953, ran Chevrolet by 1989, saved the Corvette brand in 1997, and set the course for Corvette’s seventh generation. Great Hall material.
Perkins is a gear head not an ivory tower executive. He could be spotted at swap meets rifling through parts for hot rods, Chevys, Corvettes, et al.
Although his accomplishments are many, the heavy lifting came upon his 1989 appointment as Chevrolet’s top executive—General Manager. In the mid-1990s, GM management decided that the Corvette brand needed to end (again). Without Jim Perkins’ fortitude and personal risk to challenge that, the C4 Corvette would be a collector’s item today. Perkins “creatively” funded the development of the doubtful C5 Corvette to hopefully save Corvette from extinction.
Perkins assembled a team of “true believers” to prepare the business case for the re-engineered C5 Corvette and how to sustain the brand. Perkins and his skunk works presentation team overwhelmed GM management and won approval to build the all-new C5 and thereby keep Corvette alive.
Like Duntov, Perkins didn’t like being told no and figured out how to get to “yes”.
Thank you, Jim.