Chevrolet Corvette Plant Gets $290 Million Upgrade From General Motors
The investment will improve the production of the Corvette, preps for next generation Vetteby Kirby, on
General Motors is putting its money to good use by infusing another $290 million into its production facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky, otherwise known Corvette plant. The move is seen as GM’s way of improving the technologies in the facility and improving existing processes, all to create a more efficient production framework for the Corvette.
It’s still unclear how General Motors plans to divvy up the large investment within the facility, but it is reported the assembly line is going to get a sizeable share of the funds as GM seeks to improve production beginning this summer. A significant portion of the funds, $153 million in total, is also being made available to the Kentucky Business Incentive, a program that encourages businesses from different industries to move to Kentucky or, in cases of those that are already planted in the state, to remain there.
It’s not uncommon for General Motors to loosen the purse strings to help add improvements into its Bowling Green facility. Back in May 2015, the automotive giant invested $439 million in facility upgrades, including the plant’s paint shop. As part of that investment, improvements were made to allow robots to use paint more efficiently, LED lighting to improve inspections, less energy-intensive baking ovens, and technology to eliminate sludge water, among other things.
The combined sum of $729 million in investments is part of the automaker’s three-year, $5.4-billion plant upgrades that it announced in 2015. All this maneuvering is tied into GM’s desire to invest as much as it can to ensure that the Chevrolet Corvette remains competitive against a growing number of rivals in the U.S. and foreign markets. It’s hard to argue against GM’s methods here, especially when you consider the increasingly competitive sports car segment in a lot of the world’s biggest markets.
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Why it matters
GM’s North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones said all the right things when he explained that the “technological investments” the American automaker plans to make in the Bowling Green facility has a lot to do with improving the manufacturing process of the plant so it is able to build the Corvette according to its lofty standards. But I think the investment also has the feeling of a necessity for GM rather than a convenience. Not that there’s anything wrong with it because the plant itself isn’t exactly new; it’s been around for 35 years and at some point, improvements have to be made to ensure that it can function up to GM’s rising standards.
The $290 million investment is also an important one, simply because Chevrolet is already gearing up for the next-generation Corvette, which is expected to make its debut at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show. In the short term, the facility will also begin producing the 2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport that is scheduled to go on sale later this summer. This timetable fits into the scheduled upgrades General Motors plans to make in the facility because you can be sure that once those improvements are done, it’s going to improve the efficiency of the Corvette’s production.
That in itself also poses a lot of pressure on GM and Chevrolet, especially now that Ford is adding new versions of the Mustang and is proceeding with the development of the new Ford GT supercar. The GT, in particular, could be a concern for General Motors as it immediately slots in as a direct rival to the next-gen Corvette. If Ford is bringing the rain with the GT, it’s on GM and Chevrolet to make sure that the Corvette C8 will be able to withstand it. That begins with improvements to the facility that will build the next-generation Corvette. There’s no better time than the present to make sure that the future is well equipped to handle the storm that’s coming.
Read our full review on the C2017 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport here.
Source: Automotive News