If you happen to buy a new Corvette in roughly two years, you can likely thank the previous customers of the seventh-generation Stingray for your improved paint job.
The overwhelming success of the new Corvette, introduced in 2014, no doubt heavily influenced General Motors’ announcement today that it will be investing $439 million at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, most of which will go to a new Corvette paint shop that will include “substantial technology upgrades,” according to GM.
Work will begin this summer and take about two years to finish; in the meantime, normal Corvette production won’t be affected.
The big investment by GM adds to the $135 million GM had already put into the Kentucky facility over the last four years getting ready for the new Stingray and the Performance Build Center.
“With this major technology investment, we can continue to exceed the expectations of sports car buyers for years to come,” said North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones. “These types of investments are evidence that the customer is at the center of every decision we make.”
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said the new paint shop will mirror the efficiencies and technologies of the new body shop, installed with the launch of the Stingray.
“Hardworking UAW members have proudly built vehicles in Bowling Green for more than 30 years,” Estrada said, “and we are pleased to be a part of such a significant facility upgrade.”
The new 450,000-square-foot paint shop will be nearly half the size of the entire current production facility, GM said, and will result in the retention of 150 jobs.
The paint shop will feature new tooling and robots, and its state-of-the-art environmental and efficiency improvements include:
- Dry Scrubber Booth Technology with Limestone Handling System designed to eliminate sludge water and waste
- Light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting for process decks for improved visual inspection as well as energy savings
- State-of-the-art FANUC robots with Versa-bell 3 electrostatic applicators for an extremely smooth finish and maximum transfer efficiency, saving 25 percent of the paint material used, which also benefits the environment
- Longer, high-efficiency baking ovens for exceptional paint finish and lower energy use.
Perhaps the best thing about today’s announcement, though, is that it means Chevrolet apparently remains highly committed to the Corvette, which hopefully means there will be many more generations of the popular sports car coming in future years.
Read the official press release from General Motors.
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