Kai Spande, Manager of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant was at the 2016 Corvettes at Carlisle Show and he provided an update to the new $439 million paint shop addition that is currently under construction. Kai also spent time to explain the process of how painting a Corvette is different from any other car.
Due to the nature of painting composite body panels, they do not like heat. Too much heat during the drying process will cause them to bubble up from under the paint. Kai says the Corvette panels need to be cured “low and slow”, meaning at a lower temperature, but longer to ensure the paint adheres correctly. That’s one of the reasons why the new shop is so large as to accommodate more of these larger ovens for that process.
Because this process takes longer, Kai says they be running two shifts in the paint shop so that enough panels are ready for the next day’s production.
When asked about the ability for custom colors, Spande reminds us that not all of the body panels are painted in Bowling Green. Many of the suppliers will send their parts already painted which means they must insure that the colors are matched correctly with the panels that are painted locally.
As for the timeline, Kai says it will be in the fall of 2017 when the first cars will be painted by the new shop.
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