The plant has been building the 2017 model year Corvettes for a few months now as those cars get driven and analyzed by engineers as part of GM’s Captured Test Fleet. But for customers waiting on the new 2017 Corvette Grand Sport, this is the day they’ve been waiting for.
The Bowling Green Assembly Plant ended 2016 Corvette production on June 27th and the plant had its first two-week summer break since the start of C7 production. During the last two weeks while the production line was shut down, the time was used to performance routine maintenance and some needed upgrades prior to the 2017 Corvette models starting.
I can tell already that production of the 2017 Corvettes will be anything but routine and here is why.
When production of the 2017 model year starts, only the ’17 MY Stingrays and Grand Sports will be on the assembly line while production for the 2017 Z06 is expected to start up the week of September 5th. (September 5th is officially Labor Day so most likely Z06 retail production will start on Tuesday, Sept. 6th)
We’re not sure why the 2017 Corvette Z06 will not start production with the other models as we’ve been unable to confirm any major engineering changes or upgrades that would necessitate a delay. With the sales success that the 650-horsepower Z06 has enjoyed over its first two model years (2015, 2016), we think GM is using the staggered production start as an opportunity to kick off the Widebody Grand Sport while allowing the market to absorb any remaining 2016 Corvette Z06s that remain with dealers.
During the 2017 MY production schedule, we are anticipating the new $439 million paint shop to come on-line. While that is expected to happen in mid-April 2017, we have heard that the plant will shutdown again sometime in January/February 2017 to integrate the new paint shop with the existing assembly line. How long that will take is anyone’s guess at this point but we heard that it will last longer than a couple of weeks.
We’ll be watching the blackout dates for Plant Tours as posted by the National Corvette Museum who is now handling the public tours of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant. You can see those blackout dates as well as schedule your own tour at www.CorvetteMuseum.org.
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