Astute watchers of the Corvette Assembly Plant’s daily output have noticed a sizeable drop in the number of VIN produced so far this week. And it’s true. In December we regularly saw daily builds totaling 180-200 Stingrays. On Monday, workers completed 82 Corvettes per shift for a total of 164. On Tuesday the production total dropped to 151 and yesterday’s total output was 149.
So what’s going on?
Our friend John at the MidEngineCorvetteForum.com tells us that it is likely that the Corvette Assembly Plant has started to build the first Right Hand Drive models for export. As with every new major option added, as when the hardtop convertible began production, the speed of the assembly line was slowed as workers become familiar with the new assembly processes involved.
Having worked on an automotive assembly line in his youth, John offers up this based on that experience:
Repetitive motion builds us assembly speed. But speed is not enough in the quality work for C8 manufacture. One needs speed AND quality of execution. So let us imagine that after X amount of time of an employee working on installing certain parts work on either the “A” side or “B” side of an assembly line, when all of sudden through a major new feature, that everything gets shifted “in reverse.”
That’s exactly what’s going on with workers at the assembly plant who suddenly find the whole layout of the interior reversed! With a slightly slower line speed, the workers will build up those repetitive motion skills, and soon the RHD models will become integrated into the regular flow of production. We also assume that the RHD models will be closely examined for quality control along the way as well.
Based on previous comments and other information that been provided by the Corvette Team, it’s our belief that these first RHD Corvette models will be going to Japan.
The C8 Corvette went on sale in Japan back in February 2020 and with the availability of an RHD model, interest in the car skyrocketed with over 300 orders placed. That’s triple the number of Corvettes that are generally sold each year in the country. The C8 Corvette will be exported to the country in both Coupe and Convertible models, and available in 2LT and 3LT trim packages. Pricing starts at ¥ 11,800,000 or the equivalent of $113,668 USD.
Following the Japanese rollout, we expect the C8 Corvette to head to the U.K. and Europe in the middle of the year, and then in late 2021, we should see RHD Corvettes going to Australia and New Zealand.
Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter and Product Manager Harlan Charles told enthusiasts last August that the automaker had built a few RHD Prototypes that were being tested by Chevy engineers at the Milford Proving Grounds. When asked about them Tadge replied, “Yes, some of us are actually driving them around…it’s very strange to be driving a Corvette with the steering wheel on the right-hand side.”
C8 Corvette Orders In Japan Triple with Availability of a RHD Model
[SPIED] First Pics of the RHD C8 Corvette Stingray
Chevrolet Has Built and is Now Testing Right Hand Drive Corvettes for Export