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GM / Factory News

Video: Unveiling the 2008 Indy 500 Corvette Pace Cars

by Keith Cornett on December 29, 2007

On December 27th, Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway raised the curtain on two unique 2008 Corvettes that will serve as pace cars for the 92nd Indianapolis 500. The event was held in downtown Indianapolis at the RCA dome. Click the video to watch the unveiling as it happened, as well as listen to the various dignitaries pontificate about the Corvette and its involvement with the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500.

2008 Corvette Indy 500 Pace Car Unveiling


Sources:
Indianapolis 500

Related:
Two Unique Corvettes to Pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500
Corvette’s 2008 Indy Pace Car Unveiling Date Set
Flashback: Corvette Convertible to Pace Indianapolis 500

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Two Unique Corvettes to Pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500

by Keith Cornett on December 28, 2007

Two corvettes, representing the future and past, have been selected to pace the 2008 Indianapolis 500. A customized Z06 E85 Concept allows GM to promote its progress in alternative fuel solutions while the second Corvette pays homage to the first Corvette to ever pace the Indy 500, the 1978 Corvette Pace Car. A 30th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, complete with black and silver graphics will be reproduced as both coupes and convertibles and will have a limited production run of only 500 Corvettes.

This is Corvette’s 10th appearance at the 500 and a record 5th consecutive race serving pace car duties. This race will be unique as it will be the first time that two models have paced the Indianapolis 500 in the same year.

While the E85 concept is intriging, its the 30th Anniversary model that has us stoked. This is perhaps one of the most serious looking pace car designs incorporated since the original scheme 30 years ago. We also like that fact that you can purchase the replica in either Coupe or Convertible configurations, as well as either a 6-speed manual or paddle-shift automatic. This should lead to some interesting variations and quantities when the 500 replicas are produced. Pricing and availability will be annouced at a later date.

     

The official press release from GM:

INDIANAPOLIS Known for their charismatic designs and superior performance, the pack-leading pace cars share a special place in Indianapolis 500 lore. History will be made at the 2008 Indianapolis 500 when a pair of distinctive yet highly differentiated Corvette models will serve as the official pace cars one highlighting Chevrolet’s commitment to fuel solutions and the other marking 30 years of Corvette’s pace car heritage.

Chevrolet and Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials gathered at the Indianapolis Auto Show to make the historic announcement.

One of the pace cars is a customized Corvette Z06 E85 concept that runs on E85 ethanol fuel, a domestically produced alternative fuel similar to the E100 fuel that powers all of the racecars in the IndyCar Series. It will be driven during the race’s pace lap by two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Emerson Fittipaldi.

The other official pace car is a black-and-silver commemorative edition that marks the 30th anniversary of the celebrated 1978 pace car the first Corvette to pace the field at the Indianapolis 500. Chevrolet will produce a total of 500 pace car replicas in both coupe and convertible form, each signed personally by Fittipaldi at the Corvette’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant.

“Although not a production FlexFuel vehicle, the Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is a high-performance example of Chevrolet’s gas-friendly to gas-free initiative, demonstrating viable fuel solutions,” said Ed Peper, Chevrolet general manager. “As an ethanol refiner in his native Brazil, Emerson Fittipaldi is the fitting Chevrolet champion to help support GM’s efforts with E85 and celebrate 30 years of the Corvette pacing the Indianapolis 500.”

The 92nd Indianapolis 500 takes place on Sunday, May 25, 2008. It will be the Corvette’s 10th appearance as the official pace car a record unmatched by any other vehicle.

“It’s only fitting that Corvette will be the first car to earn the distinction of having two models pace the Indianapolis 500 in the same year,” said Joie Chitwood, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president and chief operating officer. “Chevrolet and Corvette are a vital part of the rich history of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” and we’re honored to have a great champion of the race and of alternative fuels, Emerson Fittipaldi, as this year’s pace car driver.”

Corvette Z06 E85 concept
The Corvette Z06 E85 concept pace car is based on the production Z06 already one of the fastest and most powerful cars on the market and blends its performance with the high-octane, renewable alternative fuel that is derived from a variety of crops grown across the United States.

E85 is blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Its benefits include reduced emissions of greenhouse gases and a reduced dependence on petroleum. GM is the leader in E85 production models, with more than 2.5 million E85-capable cars, trucks and SUVs on the road with more on the way. Chevrolet offers seven E85-capable models in 2008.

Apart from the fuel system and powertrain controller revisions required to run E85, the Z06 concept pace car is mechanically stock. It is distinguished by a unique Gold Rush Green color-shifting paint scheme that changes between hues of green and gold when viewed from different angles and in different light. A subtle checkered flag pattern also is part of the paint scheme. Safety equipment and strobe lights are the only other equipment added to the car.

Emerson Fittipaldi: ambassador of racing and ethanol
After winning the Indianapolis 500 in 1989 and 1993 while driving for Chevrolet and spending 30 years in his native Brazil as a refiner of ethanol Emerson Fittipaldi is the perfect ambassador to lead the Indianapolis 500 in an E85-powered Corvette Z06.

“Most of the vehicles in Brazil are powered by ethanol produced from crops grown in the country, so I understand how a domestically produced renewable fuel can help the energy solutions of a nation,” Fittipaldi said. “And the E85-powered Z06 concept pace car proves economic and environmental consciousness can be fun and exhilarating. I can’t wait to get it on the racetrack.”

Fittipaldi, whose personal cars include a Corvette Z06 and a Camaro awarded after winning the 1993 Indianapolis 500, resides in both Florida and Brazil. He has interests in several Brazilian ethanol companies and is an ardent champion of ethanol as a viable alternative to gasoline.

Brazil the fifth-largest country in the world is a global leader in ethanol usage in automobiles. Approximately 70 percent of Brazilian new cars are equipped with FlexFuel systems that allow the use of a gasoline/ethanol mix or pure ethanol. Ethanol production has grown tremendously during the last three decades and has allowed the country to practically wean itself completely from imported oil.

30th Anniversary commemorative edition
Commemorating one of the most recognizable Indianapolis 500 pace cars, the Corvette 30th Anniversary Pace Car features a black exterior with silver graphics that honors the 1978 model the production replicas of which became instant collectibles and continue to stand as an iconic symbol of Corvette’s heritage at the front of the Indy field.

In addition to the exterior color scheme, the anniversary models are equipped with a special, two-tone titanium-color interior, with the Indianapolis 500 logo embroidered on the seats. Coupe and convertible models are available. Each replica will be personally signed and numbered by Emerson Fittipaldi.

Both the coupe and convertible come equipped with Corvette’s 3LT option package, Z51 performance package and dual-mode exhaust. Additional features include:

  • Choice of six-speed manual or six-speed paddle-shift automatic transmissions
  • LS3 small block V8 with 436 hp
  • New-for-2008 forged chrome five-spoke aluminum wheels
  • Corvette Z06 rear spoiler
  • Silver checkered flag graphics
  • Indy 500 logo fender badges

More information on pricing and availability will be announced a later date.

Corvette at Indy
The 2008 edition of the Indianapolis 500 represents Corvette’s 10th time as the official pace car and a record fifth-consecutive year and Chevrolet’s 19th time as the manufacturer selected to lead the field. Corvette’s pace years and details include:

  • 1978 Driven by 1960 race winner Jim Rathmann; Chevrolet produced 6,502 production replicas
  • 1986 Driven by famed pilot Chuck Yeager; all 7,315 production convertibles were considered pace car convertibles and included official graphics (to be installed at the owner’s discretion)
  • 1995 Driven by then Chevrolet General Manager Jim Perkins; 527 production replicas produced
  • 1998 Driven by 1963 race winner Parnelli Jones when an injury prevented golfer Greg Norman from performing the duty; 1,158 production replicas produced
  • 2002 Driven by actor Jim Caviezel; no production replicas produced but graphics were available through SPO approximately 300 sets sold
  • 2004 Driven by actor Morgan Freeman; no production replicas produced
  • 2005 Driven by General Colin Powell; no production replicas produced
  • 2006 Driven by cycling champion Lance Armstrong; first Corvette Z06 pace car; no production replicas produced
  • 2007 Driven by actor Patrick Dempsey; 500 production replicas all convertibles
  • 2008 Driven by Emerson Fittipaldi; 500 production replicas coupes and convertibles

The Indianapolis 500 is the largest single-day spectator sporting event and the most prestigious auto race in the world. “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” has been run every year since 1911 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, except for the periods during the United States participation in world wars in 1917-18 and 1942-45. The winner of the 92nd Indianapolis 500 will earn racing immortality, a spot on the famed Borg-Warner Trophy and a record winner’s purse of at least $2.5 million.

General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 76 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 280,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 33 countries. In 2006, nearly 9.1 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, HUMMER, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn and Vauxhall. GM’s OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. More information on GM can be found at www.gm.com.


Sources:
General Motors via Autoblog.com

Related:
Corvette’s 2008 Indy Pace Car Unveiling Date Set
Flashback: Corvette Convertible to Pace Indianapolis 500

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November 2008 Corvette Sales; 2008 Corvette Price Increase

by Keith Cornett on December 7, 2007

General Motors released the Corvette sales figures for November 2008. Production over the last couple of months has averaged around 2,450 which is about 300 units less than 2006. Total calendar sales (January through November) just broke the 3,000 mark at 30,771. Production in 2007 continues to lag last year’s production by 8%.

Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%
November 2,438 2,773 -12.1% Jan-Nov 30,771 33,437 -8.0%
On a related note, both Corvette Conti and the Corvette Blog have reported a slight increase in 2008 Corvette prices. Coupes and Convertibles are going up by $115 bringing the prices to $46,225 and $54,565 respectively. A destination charge of $825 is included in these figures.
Source:
General Motors Related:
October 2008 Corvette Sales
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Ultimate Factory: Building the Chevrolet Corvette Z06

by Keith Cornett on November 27, 2007

The National Geographic Channel is kicking off their second season of Ultimate Factories on Thursday night with an in-depth look at the manufacture and assembly of Chevrolet’s Corvette Z06. The one hour show gives viewers an unprecedented look at not only the processes of production, but focuses on the people behind the scenes that bring our favorite car to life. The host of the show is Kevin Moore, who gets the awesome responsibility of going beyond the visitor’s line and doing the Corvette production jobs we wish we could try once, like assembling by hand the Z06′s LS7 engine at the Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan or starting the Corvette for the first time and taking it through the quality control tests. Here is a promo of what you can expect to see on Ultimate Factories: Corvette

Ultimate Factories: Corvette will air on Thursday, November 29th at 10:00 PM EST. The show will reair on Friday, November 30th at 1:00 AM EST and Saturday, December 1st at 2:00 PM EST.
Source:
National Geographic Channel via GM FYI Blog Related:
AutoBlog Tours The Corvette Assembly Plant Technorati Tags:
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October 2007 Corvette Sales

by Keith Cornett on November 8, 2007

Corvette Sales declined significantly in month to month sales according to the latest General Motors monthly sales figures. October 2007 totaled 2,484 compared to September 2007 sales of 2,837. As the UAW strike affected production in late September, this monthly decline is almost directly attributable to the two day walkout. As for Calendar year sales, it looks like we are closing in on around 35,000 Corvettes produced for the year, which has been roughly the average yearly production of Corvettes over the last decade.

Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%
October 2,484 2,761 -13.5% Jan-Oct 28,333 30,664 -7.6%

Source:
GM.com Related:
September 2007 Corvette Sales Technorati Tags:
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September 2007 Corvette Sales

by Keith Cornett on October 2, 2007

Demand for the Chevrolet Corvette remains constant and is basically on par with last month’s sales figures according to General Motors. In September 2007, Chevrolet delivered 2,837 Corvettes which is just 40 shy from what was delivered in August. Year to year September sales were off by 3.5% and for the 2007 calendar year, sales are 25,849. It is fairly apparent as we get closer to the end of this calendar year that the 2007 model production numbers will not be equaled, but given that the 2007 MY was the highest production Corvette since 1984, it shouldn’t be a cause to be concerned about.

Month Calendar Year-to-Date
Month 2007 2006 % Change Months 2007 2006 % Change
January 2,234 2,579 -16.8% Jan-Jan 2,234 2,579 -16.8%
February 2,784 3,058 -9.0% Jan-Feb 5,018 5,637 -11.0%
March 3,158 3,655 -16.7% Jan-Mar 8,176 9,292 -12.0%
April 3,227 3,516 -0.6% Jan-Apr 11,403 12,808 -11.0%
May 3,300 3,317 -4.3% Jan-May 14,703 16,125 -8.8%
June 3,055 2,938 0.1% Jan-Jun 17,758 19,063 -6.8%
July 2,377 2,794 -11.4% Jan-Jul 20,135 21,857 -7.9%
August 2,877 2,990 -3.8% Jan-Aug 23,012 24,842 -7.4%
September 2,837 3,056 -3.5% Jan-Sept 25,849 27,903 -7.4%

Source:
GM.com Related:
August 2007 Corvette Sales Technorati Tags:
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Strike Ends as GM and UAW Reach Tentative Agreement

by Keith Cornett on September 26, 2007

General Motors and the United Auto Workers reached an early morning agreement to end the two day strike. The agreement will need to be ratified in the coming days by UAW membership, but it’s expected to pass. Workers are expected back as early as today which will be good news to new Corvette buyers with orders in the system, as well as those expecting to make the journey to Bowling Green to pick up their new car at the National Corvette Museum. CorvetteConti.com and CorvetteBlog.com, both supported and sponsored by Chevrolet stores, offered up the following communications from various GM brass:

GM Dealers,
Subject: Update on UAW Negotiations Earlier today, General Motors and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement on a new national labor contract, covering approximately 74,000 represented employees. The agreement, subject to member ratification, paves the way for GM to significantly improve its manufacturing competitiveness, providing the basis for maintaining and strengthening its core manufacturing base in the United States. The tentative agreement includes a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent retiree health care trust, as well as other changes to the national agreement. Following ratification, implementation of the memorandum of understanding is subject to approval by the courts, and satisfactory review of accounting treatment with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Rick Wagoner sent a message indicating how this agreement will help us close the fundamental competitive gaps that exist in our business. The projected competitive improvements in this agreement will allow us to maintain a strong manufacturing presence in the United States along with significant future investments. The GM negotiating team members and support staff and the UAW bargaining team are to be commended for their dedicated work on this new agreement. I want to personally thank each of you for your continued focus on our customers and for promoting our full lineup of great cars and trucks, including your efforts on the current retail event, which runs through October 1. Importantly, to address any concerns regarding delivery of parts to your dealerships an additional communications from Doug Herberger, Vice President — Service and Parts Operations, will be forwarded to you later today via GM Messenger on DealerWorld. Mark LaNeve
Vice President
Vehicles Sales, Service & Marketing ——————– GM Leaders, General Motors and the UAW have reached a tentative agreement on a new national labor contract, covering approximately 74,000 represented employees. The agreement, subject to member ratification, paves the way for GM to significantly improve its manufacturing competitiveness, providing the basis for maintaining and strengthening its core manufacturing base in the United States. The tentative agreement includes a memorandum of understanding to establish an independent retiree health care trust, as well as other changes to the national agreement. Following ratification, implementation of the memorandum of understanding is subject to approval by the courts, and satisfactory review of accounting treatment with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This was a very difficult and complex set of negotiations for GM and the UAW. I want to thank all the GM negotiating team members and support staff for their dedicated work on this new agreement. I also want to commend the UAW bargaining team for their professionalism in these negotiations. The next step involves UAW leaders traveling to the plants to explain the new contract and seek ratification. We will communicate the final outcome. Thanks for your support. Regards,
Diana Tremblay
GMNA Vice President – Labor Relations
Perhaps the best message of all is no message. The Bowling Green Assembly Plant has removed the notice informing the suspension of the factory tour and it appears that all will return to normal in a very quick fashion.
Source:
CorvetteConti.com
CorvetteBlog.com Related:
Corvette Assembly Plant UAW Strike Video Technorati Tags:
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Corvette Assembly Plant UAW Strike Video

by Keith Cornett on September 25, 2007

The Bowling Green Daily News has an interesting two minute video shot outside the Corvette assembly plant showing the perspective of the strike from Local UAW 2164. Listen to the disappointment from the line walkers when two tractor-trailers full of new Corvettes leaves the grounds on the way to dealers for delivery. It’s a sad situation for not only the automaker and its workers, but the customers whose Corvettes may be caught in the middle with no time-table for delivery.


Source:
Bowling Green Daily News Related:
Picket Lines Form at Corvette Assembly Plant as UAW Strikes Technorati Tags:
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Picket Lines Form at Corvette Assembly Plant as UAW Strikes

by Keith Cornett on September 24, 2007

Corvette assembly line workers picket on Corvette DriveThe United Auto Workers have made good on their threat to carry out a nationwide strike as contract talks with General Motors have stalled. According to the Bowling Green Daily News, about 30 workers formed picket lines at 10:00 am this morning at GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant, home of the Corvette and the Cadillac XLR. More workers joined their ranks on Corvette Drive as they left the plant. While the automaker has sufficient stocks to withstand a short strike, the effect on Corvette would probably be more pronounced due to its limited production compared to other GM vehicles. According to Corvette Blog’s National Corvette Stock Report, over 3,100 2008 Corvettes were available on the ground as well as 4,451 2007 Corvettes. The factory churns out 150 Corvettes or so daily so the walkout will probably inconvenience those with current orders as well as those owners opting for the R8C Museum Delivery Option. A message was posted on the Bowling Green Assembly Plant’s website that says “GM Tours are suspended until further notice.” Stay with CorvetteBlogger.com as we will continue to monitor the UAW’s strike and its effects on Corvette production.
Source:
Bowling Green Daily News Related:
UAW Prepares to Strike: Corvette Assembly Plant Targeted Technorati Tags:
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UAW Prepares to Strike: Corvette Assembly Plant Targeted

by Keith Cornett on September 17, 2007

Corvettes on the Assembly LineAs contract talks between GM and the United Auto Workers continued well past the September 14th deadline, Local 2164 in Bowling Green was mobilizing its membership should the call come down to take to the picket line. In an article appearing Saturday on the Washington Post’s website, Sholnn Freeman writes of the contract negotiations and provides the following insight into the union’s plans as they target the Bowling Green Assembly Plant:

“They just said we need to be ready,” said Eldon Renaud, president of Local 2164 in Bowling Green, Ky., where GM’s Chevrolet Corvette is made. Local officials have delegated strike captains and let people know when they might have to walk the picket line, Renaud said. On Thursday afternoon, workers from the local were making stakes for picket signs, and at 4 a.m. yesterday, a union official returned to Kentucky from a trip to Indianapolis, where he picked up the signs. Renaud said UAW members in Bowling Green would walk the line in four-hour intervals starting at midnight if they get a go-ahead phone call from national union leaders in Detroit. Union members would have to participate in order to qualify for $200 per week in strike benefits. The picket is set to take place at the property line of the Bowling Green plant.
The UAW named GM their Strike Target last Thursday and talks have been underway since then. Once the contract expired at 11:59 p.m on September 14, an extension was agreed to on an hour-by-hour basis. Both sides remained in negotiations throughout the weekend with talks resuming Monday.
Source:
Washington Post
Photo Credit: By Mark Humphrey — Associated Press Photo Related:
AutoBlog Tours The Corvette Assembly Plant
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