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LeftLaneNews Details GM’s LS Engine Plans

by Keith Cornett on October 31, 2007

Leftlanenews.com did a query of their sources at GM to provide a detailed look of future plans for GM’s LS engines. For our purposes, we’ll cover the three that have implications for Corvette: The LS7, LS8 and LS9. The LS7
The LS7 is a naturally aspirated 7.0 liter motor and is the current top of the line performance engine for GM, appearing exclusively in the Corvette Z06. It is hand built at GM’s Wixom Performance Center, and therefore very expensive to make. The LS7′s days are numbered according to Leftlanenews sources, ceasing production sometime during late 2009 or mid-2010. Previous rumors of the Cadillac CTS-V getting the LS7 appear to be false. Instead, the performance Cadillac sedan will get the new LSA motor next year with the Corvette Z06 upgrading to the supercharged small block LS8 in 2010. The LS8
The LS8 is a 6.2 liter smallblock V8 with a supercharger. This motor will be dropped into the top-end Zeta platform cars with the Camaro Z28 being the most likely candidate. Initial specs have it at 475-500 horsepower with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions. As mentioned above, the Corvette Z06 will receive this power plant in 2010 with a possibility of an uptuned version to ensure Corvette’s horsepower superiority over the Zeta cars. The last thing a Corvette owner who plunks down $75K for a Z06 is going to want to hear is that they bought the Corvette with the Camaro engine. The LS9
So much has already been written about the LS9 that is seems like it’s already in production and out on the streets. Another 6.2 liter smallblock V8 with a supercharger, it has an integrated intercooler on the intake manifold. Estimated horsepower is speculated to be 650 hp with 700 hp in reach. The ZR-1 may also feature an optional automatic with paddle shifters. Earlier this year it was said that the LS9 would come only equipped as an automatic, but the run by the ZR-1 with an LS9 coupled to a 6-speed manual transmission at Laguna Seca earlier this month quashed that rumor. The LS9 will be hand built starting in July 2008 at Wixom Performance Center alongside the LS7 as no more than 2,000 units are expected per year.
Source:
Leftlanenews.com Related:
PM’s Jim Dunne Debunks Corvette SS Rumors
2009 Caddy CTS-V Getting 600hp Blue Devil Corvette Engine? Technorati Tags:
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Corvette: The Official Sports Car of Kentucky

by Keith Cornett on October 10, 2007

Kentucky State Representative C.B. Embry (R) filed a bill for the upcoming Kentucky General Assembly that would officially designate Corvette as the states official sports car. The bill would server to honor General Motors “For locating the [Bowling Green Assembly] facility with us. They have over 900 jobs there that pay very well” said the Representative. The bill doesn’t have any co-sponsors yet, but Embry expects broad support for the bill when the legislature convenes in January. The bill shies from naming the Corvette as “Official Car” due to several other assembly plants located in the state that make the Ford Explorer, Ford F-Series Super Duty Trucks and the Toyota Camry. Embry concludes that “there would be a controversy to name it as the official state vehicle.”
Source:
Louisville Courier-Journal Related:
Corvette Assembly Plant Celebrates 25th Anniversary Technorati Tags:
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C7 Corvette to get All Wheel Drive System?

by Keith Cornett on October 3, 2007

Since the GM-UAW agreement became available last week, tons of information usually kept close to the chest has been laid out for all to see and it seems as though a new nugget of information relating to the C7 Corvette is revealed every day. Earlier this week we read about plans to move the Pontiac Solstice and the Saturn Sky to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant sometime after 2011. Yesterday we learned that the C7 Corvette could be offered with a dual-clutch transmission and today’s news? All Wheel Drive!

GM and Sweden’s Haldex already have a performance AWD system dubbed XWD that debuted on the Saab 9-3. The AWD system features an electronic differential and can send up to 85% of torque to an individual wheel to prevent slippage, whether it’s from a fast corner or when trying to put power to the ground.

Various accounts state that engineers have been seen testing a GM prototype with a very wide rear track, which is thought to be a test mule for the next generation Corvette.

We are still five years away from the production of the C7 Corvette and I am already dizzy trying to keep up with the details. If all these rumors are correct, in 2012 you’ll be looking at a kappa-based mid-engine Corvette with all wheel drive and some fancy Shmancy dual-clutch transmission.

Yep, that sounds like a Corvette to me…

UPDATE:

Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know what a dual clutch transmission is:

A twin-clutch gearbox or dual clutch transmission (DCT) is a semi-automatic transmission with separate clutches for odd and even gears. The outer clutch drives the odd numbered gears and reverse, while the inner clutch drives the even numbered gears. Shifts can be accomplished without interrupting power, by applying the engine’s torque to one clutch just as the engine’s torque is being disconnected from the other clutch. Since the synchronizers that select an odd gear can be moved while driving the car in an even gear, and vice versa, DCT’s have been configured which shift faster than Formula One cars and other single-clutch AMT’s (automated-manual transmissions, a.k.a. single-clutch semi-automatics); the shift can also be made smoother and more suitable for street-driving than a single-clutch AMT is capable of.


Source:
MotorAuthority.com

Related:
Late Night Speculation: C7 Corvette Moving to Kappa Platform?

A Kappa-Platform Corvette?

Yet another tip from my new friend George led me over to Automotive News where a preview of an article that’s related to the recent GM-UAW agreement and the now famous summary outlining the distribution of future GM products states the following:

Two GM plants are left without long-term products
Orion Township, Mich., and Wilmington, Del., will wait
General Motors’ Orion Township, Mich., plant and its assembly plant in Wilmington, Del., did not have new vehicles designated for them as part of broad job guarantees in GM’s tentative new contract with the UAW. Wilmington does not have replacements for the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and Opel GT roadsters after 2011. The contract says the next generation of Solstice and Sky will be built at Bowling Green, Ky.

Whoa, Kappa designated platforms will be moving to Bowling Green AFTER 2011? And the C7 Corvette is now slated to be introduced in 2012. And Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tom Wallace is also the Vehicle Line Chief for GM Performance Cars, which in addition to the Corvette and Cadillac XLR includes the Pontiac Solstice, Saturn Sky and the Opel GT.

Do you see where I am going with this?

A year ago this month, a bomb was dropped by CorvetteConti.com who wrote about an inside source saying there was a possibility of a Kappa-based vehicle wearing a Corvette badge and sporting a V6. The enthusiast community cried NOOOOOO while Zora rolled over in his grave (I know his ashes are in a urn at the NCM, but that visual doesn’t work here).

But let’s drop the V6 aspect of that story for a minute and concentrate on the core concept: a Kappa-based Corvette. Sure we know economies of scale and the dollars saved when the brands share a platform. Motor Trend even mentions the Kappa C7 Corvette possibility in their Nov 2007 issue. We also know that the Kappa can handle a big V8, as Mallet proved by dropping an LS2 into the Solstice. The downside though is that one kappa looks like the others: The Opel GT looks like a Saturn Sky, which looks like a Pontiac Solstice. Imagine driving down the road, seeing a familiar looking car and throwing out a Corvette Wave, only to find out it wasn’t a Corvette at all. Remember the front view of the Fiero anyone?

Of course this is all just late night speculation on my part. I don’t have an account to Automotive News (help anyone?) so the complete story could be just the opposite. For all I know it could say that the Kappa platform vehicles are going to be sharing the Corvette platform in 2012. But I don’t even think “Maximum” Bob Lutz could sell that story…


Source:
Automotive News
CorvetteConti.com

Related:
A V6 Corvette? Hell No Chevy!!!

 

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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Corvette SS Spy Photo by Jim DunneThe GM Source’s Josh Oliver says the first 2009 Corvette ZR-1 will make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January. Actually, that’s already been speculated, but Josh takes the rumor a step forward by reporting that days after its NAIAS unveiling, the new supercharged 650 hp Corvette ZR-1 will be off to Scottsdale to be auctioned at the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Event sometime between January 12-20th.

Should such an event come to pass, the amount of buzz generated by the General would be huge, first with the bounce from the Detroit auto show and then placing the car in the middle of all those car-crazy collectors in Scottsdale with cameras from Speed TV capturing the moment. of course, no word from GM on whether or not this will happen officially or if this is just irresponsible speculation.


Source:
CorvetteZR1Forum.com via Jalopnik.com

Related:
Second Video of Corvette ZR-1 Surfaces

 

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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