Is there trouble brewing in Paradise?
We’ll find out Tuesday night.
Alleging that workers are being mistreated and management isn’t addressing problems with quality and safety, the United Auto Workers Local 2164 has scheduled a strike vote on Tuesday at the Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Ky.
We know that Joe Biden loves his 1967 Corvette. But after seeing the new Corvette Stingray and Z06 at last month’s NAIAS, we’re pretty sure that the country’s vice president has a severe case of Corvette Fever for the new models.
Our Corvette-loving Vice President was captured on video talking to the UAW Legislative Conference on Wednesday. After highlighting several new autos from the different automakers, Biden ask the crowd to indulge him as he makes some comments about the new Corvette Stingray and the upcoming Corvette Z06.
Larry the Cable Guy’s Only in America TV show recently stopped in Bowling Green, Kentucky where he filmed a segment at the Corvette assembly plant. Larry proves that he wouldn’t be a good addition to the local labor force as we watch him touch a newly painted door and struggle with putting together a set of seat belts.
St. Louis Today has an interesting article and an accompanying video about former St. Louis General Motors employees who transferred to Bowling Green in the 1980’s to keep their jobs assembling the Corvette. The transition from St. Louis to Bowling Green wasn’t particularly smooth for the transplanted UAW members as GM had promised new jobs to local Warren County residents. But many of those jobs failed to materialize as over 900 workers from St. Louis took advantage of a relocation offer and moved to Bowling Green with the Corvette.
Corvette owners who want to give feedback about their Corvette experiences – good or bad – now have a way to communicate directly with the members of the UAW Local 2164 that build their Corvette. Patrick Klein, Vice-president of UAW Local 2164, which represents the General Motors Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, announced the launch of their Corvette Customer Feedback blog.
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…
A V6 Corvette? Hell No Chevy!!!
During the negotiations last week between General Motors and the United Auto Workers, the main sticking point which resulted in the 2 day walkout according to various press accounts was job security. The UAW was looking for assurances that jobs wouldn’t be sent abroad. A glimpse into the tentative agreement that GM and the United Auto Workers signed which ended the walkout also provides details about the GM lineup, the factories that will produce them as well as future target dates for production.
The summary of product commitments included in the agreement shows the C7 Corvette and the Cadillac XLR as arriving in 2012, making them products of the 2013 model year lineup.
We’ve already heard that GM has greenlighted the C7. In an interview earlier this year, Corvette’s Chief Engineer Tom Wallace suggested the C7 Corvette could come as early as 2010, while a google search shows GM’s Vice Chairman Bob Lutz is all over the place with various target dates for the C7. Even future GM product watcher Ted Krygier’s website has the C7 (codename GMX711) being introduced during the summer of 2010.
The key point I’m making with these observations is that its important for the faithul not to get caught up with talk of “delays” as target production dates are simply “targets”. The good news is that the C7 is coming and will be here quicker than you think. If you have ever read about the development of the C5 corvette in James Schefter’s All Corvettes Are Red, you get a sense of the major undertaking for producing any new car, and then double or triple that when the new car is the Corvette.
Thanks for the tip, George!