A recent article that calls the 2020 Corvette Stingrays the “Virus Vettes” has set me off this morning and I got a few things to say about the doom and gloom naysayers who want to believe this kind of clickbait.
The 2020 Corvette has been one of the most anticipated vehicles to hit the market and customers have responded so positively that the car was effectively sold out for the 2020 model year even before the coronavirus put a halt to manufacturing. Now some are saying that 2020 Corvette production will not return and that Chevy will jump straight to the 2021 model year.
At this time, there is no basis to believe that absurd proposition for one second.
In an article over at Consumer Guide, the author takes the recent comments from Corvette Plant Manager Kai Spande and somehow reaches the conclusion that in there will be no 2020 Corvette Convertible models produced for the model year which is simply not true [Emphasis mine]:
According to a YouTube interview with Bowling Green plant manager Kai Spande, the facility produced a shade less than 2700 C8 Corvettes during that time frame, and it seems almost certain that those cars will be the only 2020-model-year Corvettes. Even before Coronavirus concerns escalated, the 2020 Corvette’s rollout had been delayed by a United Auto Workers’ strike last fall, which pushed the start of production back by a couple months. Two days before the plant shutdown, Chevrolet announced that it had stopped taking orders for the 2020 Corvette due to demand and delays caused by the UAW strike and that it would begin taking orders for the 2021 Corvette in late May—earlier than originally planned.
This means that the convertible version of the C8 Corvette, which was originally scheduled to be phased in in the 2020 model year, won’t be available until the 2021 model year at the earliest, and other forthcoming variants of the C8 will undoubtedly be pushed back as well.
The article has been picked up and rebroadcast by other outlets including Motor Authority who runs a headline today suggesting that Coronavirus could limit 2020 Chevrolet Corvette production to 2,700 cars..
Kai Spande never alluded that 2020 production was finished and done, nor did he give any kind of reason for people to believe that Convertible models would be pushed to 2021 model year. It’s simply not true.
In the Motor Authority article, they reached out to Chevrolet spokesman Kevin Kelly whose they quoted as saying “When the plant resumes we will continue building 2020 model year vehicles.” Wow, talk about burying the lede!
And that’s not just 2020 Corvette Coupes that will be built when manufacturing returns but the new 2020 Convertible model as well. Prior to the shutdown, 2020 Corvette Convertible production was supposed to start the week of April 6th. So in essence, we were just two weeks away from the start of convertible production before the shutdown on March 20th. And when the plant restarts and picks up where they were on March 20th, we should see convertibles coming off the line for customers within a similar time frame.
The discussions and planning happening throughout the automotive industry to get manufacturing restarted are moving ahead. And though we are hearing that May 18th might be the ‘Go Date” for GM facilities to open back up, we might see a delay in a full restart due to all the various lock-down dates in each of the States where vendors produce the parts. So even if it’s June 1st before the cars starting rolling again on the assembly line, that still leaves about three full months to produce 2020 Corvettes before the planned switchover. And for those doing the assembly line math, three months of additional production could lead to another 6,000 2020 Corvettes produced depending on availabilities and constraints.
Chevrolet’s timeline for the 2020 model year production had already been impacted at the very beginning of production by the nearly six-week UAW strike last fall and the company pivoted to start taking pre-orders in May for the 2021 models which were originally slated to start in September. As Chevrolet already has been forced to change the timeline for 2020 Corvette production previously, there is no reason why they can’t be a little more fluid in their dates as they adjust the production schedule moving forward.
The light is there at the end of the tunnel and it burns brighter every day as we continue to move through this unprecedented crisis. Chevrolet is telling us straight up that the 2020 Corvette Coupes and Convertibles will be coming. Shouldn’t we be listening to the “Experts?”
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