The investment indicates faith in the future of the Bowling Green, Kentucky, plant and the 'Vette.
Just three years into the life of the C7 Corvette, Chevrolet appears to be getting ready for the next-generation model. The company will invest $290 million into “technology upgrades and manufacturing process improvements,” at its Bowling Green Assembly Plant starting this summer. These funds will come in addition to the new $439 million paint shop, which the automaker will complete in mid 2017, Automotive News reports.
With $729 million going into the Kentucky factory over the next couple years, it certainly seems that Chevy has big plans afoot for its sport car behind the scenes. The investment might have ties to the recently spied mid-engine Corvette. One rumor suggests the new model could debut at the North American International Auto Show in January 2018, but the vehicle would be on sale side-by-side with the current ‘Vette until at least the end of that year. That way if buyers don’t want the engine behind them, the traditional model would still be available for a little while.
“We are making technology investments that will continue to improve our manufacturing processes and ultimately the quality of our vehicles,” North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones said in Chevy’s announcement. “We are putting Corvette customers first by building upon our world-class manufacturing process.”
In addition to a mid-engine model, Chevy reportedly has at least two other ‘Vettes in development. One would have even more performance than the current Z06 and possibly debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January 2017. Further down the road, the E-Ray would allegedly follow the modern supercar path of using an internal combustion engine to drive one axle and an electric motor to turn the other. However, we might not see this all-wheel drive ‘Vette until 2020.
Source: Automotive News, General Motors
Gallery: 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Collector’s Edition
GM Invests $290 Million in Bowling Green Assembly Plant to upgrade vehicle assembly operations with new technologies and processes
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – General Motors announced today it will invest $290 million into the Bowling Green Assembly plant to upgrade and modify the plant’s vehicle assembly operations with new technologies and processes.
This investment continues GM’s drive for flexible manufacturing systems. These changes are being made in conjunction with and in addition to the construction and startup of the previously announced $439 million paint shop investment.
A portion of the new investment, $153 million, has been included in an application to participate in the Kentucky Business Incentive (KBI).
"GM has a long tradition of commitment to southcentral Kentucky and to producing, in Warren County, the finest sports cars in America,” said Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin. “This benefits our entire state, both as a source of pride and as a tremendous contributor to our economy.
“For 35 years, the Bowling Green Assembly Plant has provided jobs to thousands of Kentuckians and to hundreds of suppliers and vendors. We congratulate GM and offer our commitment to lending them support for this project and any others they may undertake in the future,” continued Gov. Bevin.
Facility improvements, which include technology upgrades and manufacturing process improvements, are planned to begin this summer.
“We are making technology investments that will continue to improve our manufacturing processes and ultimately the quality of our vehicles,” said North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones. “We are putting Corvette customers first by building upon our world-class manufacturing process.”
Said UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada: “For over 35 years our members in Bowling Green have built quality products with pride. This investment will give UAW members the tools of a world-class production facility to continue to craft one of the world’s most iconic automobiles.”
Corvette production began in 1981 in Bowling Green following assembly in Flint, Mich., and St. Louis. Each has been an exclusive home of the Corvette, contributing to its distinction as the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car.
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.