Chevrolet to resume Corvette production tomorrow with 2020 models
The C8’s debut model year will not be cut short by COVID-19 after all, with the start of the 2021 model year reportedly pushed back instead
The Corvette C8 is expected to go back into production tomorrow, May 26, at GM’s plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky — and it looks like it will still make 2020 models for now.
The first production 2020 Corvette C8 rolled off the line February 3, 2020, but the plant closed on March 20 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kentucky’s governor eased restrictions to allow some businesses to open on May 11, and General Motors announced the May 26 restart date for the Bowling Green plant.
That left enthusiasts wondering if GM would continue through with 2020 Corvettes, or simply switch up to the 2021 model. But Autoblog reports that a GM rep confirmed the plant “will continue to build 2020 Corvette Stingrays when the plant resumes production.”
Autoblog said the plant will start up with the Corvette coupe, and then add the convertible version on July 20.
Bowling Green doesn’t make everything for the Corvette — the chassis are built at a factory in Bedford, Indiana. According to the New York Times, that plant slowed down but never stopped completely, building enough components so that Bowling Green could open on schedule. The Bedford factory ran three shifts but with only 20 workers per shift, down from the 250 people who normally work on the line. All volunteered for the shifts and were paid their regular wages.
Bowling Green Daily News reports the Corvette plant will begin a “cadenced restart,” starting with a single shift and slowly adding one or two shifts as required. Employees will have to follow new safety protocols because of the virus.RELATEDChevrolet will delay Corvette trim, new Suburban over COVID-19: reportOur up-to-date timeline of coronavirus’ impact on the auto industry
Prior to the shutdown, the plant had added a second shift in preparation for the new model, boosting employment from 900 to 1,400 workers.
If Bowling Green does start up with the 2020 model year, rather than the 2021, it will cut into the exclusivity bragging rights of those who have already received their new cars. From the first one in February to the shutdown in March, only about 2,700 cars were built. Had Chevy stopped there, the 2020 model would have been the third-rarest Corvette ever, undercut only by the 300 cars built in 1953, the Corvette’s first year; and the 700 made in 1955.
Driving.Ca – Jil Mcintosh