The final 2018 Corvette to be built on what we will now refer to as the Corvette factory’s “old assembly line” was completed on Thursday afternoon. It was a 2018 Non-Z51 Corvette Stingray Coupe in Torch Red.
The dismantling of the assembly line began almost immediately after the Stingray was driven off the line.
Our understanding is that there will be some official photos to mark the occasion.
Much of the existing assembly line process dates back to 1997 and the fifth generation Corvette, although some components go back to the founding of the former Chrysler air conditioning plant when it started building Corvettes in the early 1980s.
Over the next thirteen weeks, the old line will be dismantled and a new assembly line process utilizing flexible assembly methods will be put into place. For a really good primer on the changes coming to the Corvette assembly plant, watch our video of BGAP’s general manager Kai Spande at the 2017 NCM Bash.
The assembly line will be rerouted to move the exterior panel assembly areas closer to the new paint shop, as well as moving the panel assembly towards the end of the line so as to lessen the potential for damage and increase build quality. Another aspect of the new assembly line once it restarts will be to slow it down, from 18 cars per hour to 12 cars so the workers will have a little more time per car to ensure quality.
A friend tells us that most plant employees will return to work around October 9th where they will begin training, however, new 2018 Corvettes will not start production until the end of October or first week in November.
We are also reminded that of the quality assurance (QA) process that the new Stingrays went through back in 2013 and we believe that once the plant starts production, there will be a series of extensive quality tests on the 2018 Corvettes that come off the new assembly line. That could mean the first 2018 Corvettes off the new line won’t begin showing up to dealers until the end of November or early December.
The assembly line upgrades, along with the start-up and integration of the new paint facility, mark the beginning of some exciting times for Corvette owners. While much speculation revolves around the future of the Corvette, know that once the plant restarts later, the changes should further unlock the potential of the men and women who build our dream cars and the focus on quality will impact today’s Corvette almost immediately.
[VIDEO] Corvette Assembly Plant Update with Kai Spande from the 2017 NCM Bash
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The Corvette Assembly Plant’s Three Month Shutdown to Begin July 28th