Chevrolet Invests $439 Million in the Corvette Plant
Typically, when an automaker invests capital into a production facility, it goes by unnoticed. However, amid rumors of a mid-engine Corvette, GM investing $439 million into the paint shop at the Bowling Green Corvette plant leaps off the paper to us as a sign of good things to come.
The press release doesn’t have any incriminating evidence of this rumored super-Corvette, but it does mention that the investment will include new tooling and robots, and building a 450,000 square-foot painting facility.
Other changes to the paint shop include a dry scrubber booth with a limestone-handling system that eliminates sludge water and waste, LED lights for the process decks for visual inspection, FANUC robots with versa-bell 3 electrostatic applicators to give each paintjob a smoother finish and to reduce lost paint materials by 25 percent, and high-efficiency baking ovens.
Could these heavy modifications to the paint shop be in anticipation of the hotly anticipated Corvette Zora ZR-1?
Unfortunately, it is hard to tell, as these modifications could simply be to improve flaws in the current paint shop or just to increase efficiency. Then again, an investment this big into the Corvette plant at this point in time just seems strangely coincidental.
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Why it matters
It’s difficult to pinpoint an exact reason for GM investing this kind of money into the Bowling Green plant. Automakers make these kinds of investments almost monthly, so it could easily be nothing more than replacing some outdated equipment that the union has been griping about for years. But again, it is so hard to ignore the fact that these updates fall right in line with the rumors of the mid-engine Vette.
New tooling and robots could be specifically for the modified body of the mid-engine Corvette, while the LED lighting and new FANUC robots will help insure a mirror-like finish on these pricey cars. And those are just a few of the ideas that are rolling around in my brain at this point.
Only time will tell if we will finally see the mid-engine Corvette in the metal, so stay tuned for more updates. And keep your fingers crossed.
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