Good news for Corvette enthusiasts as well as the men and women of United Auto Workers Local 2614. After a three month shut down of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant for manufacturing upgrades, the facility is set to reopen on November 6th, reports the Bowling Green Daily News.
The Corvette assembly plant had shut down at the end of July as contractors updated and reorganized the production and assembly processes, as well as further integrated the new $430 million paint facility. Plant officials had stressed the shut down would last three months and recent reports have confirmed they were on target to restart in early November.
In preparation for Corvette’s production restarting on a retooled assembly line, the plant’s employees have started the retraining process for various functions and that will continue into November.
“The plant will resume operations next month. Employees will be returning to work throughout October and November based on training requirements as we prepare for production,” said Lauren Langille, a spokesperson for the Bowling Green and Spring Hill Assembly Plants.
One of the major outcomes was the changing the build process so that the Corvette’s freshly painted body panels would be among the last stops of the line.
“The paint shop is now complete and has been designed specifically to optimize the performance of carbon fiber and other materials that are used in the Corvette body panels,” said Langille. “As a result, customers can expect to see an improved paint appearance and finish. In addition, the paint shop is equipped with the latest advanced environmental controls to minimize our ecological footprint.”
“During the shutdown, we made significant changes to the build process to enhance ergonomics for the operator and to improve vehicle quality,” Langille said. “For example, panels will be installed near the end of the build process in one location, as opposed to several locations throughout the process.”
All told, the recent investments to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant have totaled nearly $900 million according to Plant Manager Kai Spande, who likes to round up that figure to $1 billion when talking with Corvette enthusiasts as a way of illustrating GM’s total commitment to the brand.
Although workers will be reporting back on November 6th, that doesn’t mean they are starting up retail production immediately. We checked with several of our dealers who tell us the first Target Production Week (TPW) they are seeing on new orders is November 20th.
GM made headlines last week after announcing that 2018 production would end early with final cars being assembled the week of January 22nd. The Corvette plant would then start 2019 production on January 29th.
Bowling Green Daily News