The coronavirus pandemic has shut down much of the world. Automakers have closed plants to help slow the spread of the disease, and that includes General Motors. The Detroit automaker began idling plants in March as governments started ordering non-essential workers home. GM shut down several, including its Bowling Green, Kentucky plant, where it builds the 2020 Chevy Corvette; however, not every GM plant saw operations screech to a halt.
A new report from The New York Times details how GM kept its Bedford, Indiana plant operating over the last few months, continuing to produce Corvette chassis. The factory had been operating at some capacity since March, going to three shifts in April. However, the number of people working per shift is down considerably – about 20 people per shift today compared to the usual 250. Those working are doing so voluntarily.
A company spokesperson told the Times that it wanted to continue operations to help reduce a shortage when production resumed. GM said it wanted to begin resuming operations at a majority of its North American facilities on May 18. All three automakers have continued limited operations during the closures, working closely with the United Automobile Workers union. Some worked to retool plants with new safety measures for returning workers, while others worked to produce parts for vehicle repairs.
The paper references a November Morgan Stanley report that then said the Corvette would account for roughly two percent – $3.3 billion – of GM’s revenue this year. This year is also the first for the C8, the eight-generation, mid-engine model. The 2020 Corvette was supposed to begin production before the end of last year, but a UAW strike pushed that to February 2020.
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As governments begin easing coronavirus restrictions, factories will hum back to life with workers returning to temperature checks, social distancing rules, and plastic dividers. Production at GM’s Bowling Green plant should have no trouble with a glut a chassis to finish.