As no public tours will happen this year, this seminar provides a rare glimpse inside the refurbished assembly plant’s new automation and processes used to build the 2019 Chevrolet Corvette.
Kai starts off the seminar with a quick infomercial for Andy Pilgrim’s safe driving training program and so we’ll give a shout out as well. If you have teens learning to drive, check out AndyPilgrim.com. Andy is a Corvette Racing alumni as well as a member of the Corvette Hall of Fame, and he is very passionate about his safe driver’s training programs. He recently joined the staff of the Corvette Museum’s Motorsports Park.
At the start of the video, Kai shares the “products” produced at Bowling Green Assembly. They include the Corvette Stingray, Grand Sport, Z06 and now the ZR1. They also build engines and so the LT4 and LT5 were showcased as well as Cadillac’s new Hot-V 4.2L twin turbo V8 that Kai says will be exclusive to Cadillac. “The reason it’s built in Bowling Green is that we specialize in this case…500 horsepower and up. We specialize in these very niche engines,” said Spande.
Kai talks about the Engine Build Experience for customers who want to build their own LT4 and LT5 engines. GM’s Global Chief Engineer and Program Manager for Small Block Engines Jordan Lee came to the PBC in January to hand assemble an LT5 engine as part of restarting the program. By the luck of the draw, Jordan Lee’s engine that was built will be going into a 2019 ZR1 built for Mario Andretti.
There were some technical difficulties for the team during the presentation and Kai uses the time to talk to the crowd. Once they get sound working, he starts showing a series of videos from inside the plant.
Several videos are also featured that show the new $450 million dollar paint shop in action. Kai told the crowd that “This is an unbelievable facility that paints the most difficult of materials on the planet, and we do it, and we do it great.” He then adds “We now have the best paint surface finish within General Motors and it goes much farther than that. We just haven’t had a chance to measure and quantify it.”
Finally, Kai focuses on the people that work within the plant and how they give back to the Bowling Green area. One item of note is that all employees on the assembly line are wearing eye protection as well as smocks designed to protect the car’s finish from scratches and other mutilations.
The seminar concludes with a question and answer session that also covers a lot of ground. The full video is just over 1-hour long and as I mentioned, it’s one of the few opportunities to see the plant and new paint shop in action.
We appreciate Kai Spande taking the time to talk with Corvette enthusiasts and we recommend checking out the video. Kai has been a great leader for the Corvette Assembly Plant, and he is also a great spokesperson for the brand.
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