The next-generation C7 Chevrolet Corvette may feature a design penned in Europe or China or anywhere else in the world General Motors has a design studio, according to one of the automaker’s top execs.

That’s the word from GM's vice president of global design, Ed Welburn, who revealed to Automotive News that the automaker’s design studios from across the world have submitted design studies for the C7 Corvette, which is expected to bow in around late 2012.

More than ten design studies have been submitted, some of which have been described by Welburn as “absolutely phenomenal”.

This is the first time that input from designers outside the U.S. is being taken seriously by GM. The reasoning is that a more international flavor will enable the new Corvette to sell better in Europe and attract younger buyers here in the U.S. who typically favor imports.

"We have challenges in the States with the Corvette," Welburn explained. "The average age of the customer is really rising." According to J.D. Power and Associates, the current average age of a Corvette buyer is 54 and sales of the model last year are down 48 percent from 2008 levels.

Some key areas Welburn hopes to address with the new design is the Corvette’s proportions, which he wants to make smaller and more aggressive, as well as its interior, which in the current model is universally slammed for poor quality.

One thing we do know is that the C7 Chevrolet Corvette will get a split rear window along with some other vintage styling cues--expect some influences from the 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Concept pictured above.

As for its powertrain, click here for our previous report and included computer-generated preview rendering.

[Automotive News, sub req’d]