In what is likely the world’s most hands-on super car program, customers who order a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 can choose an option to help assemble their cars’ LS7 or LS9 engine at the General Motors’ Performance Build Center (PBC) in Wixom, Michigan.
This latest and innovative marketing program, called the Corvette Engine Build Experience, was announced this morning.
The Engine Build Experience is an option with a suggested retail price of $5,800. Yes, you pay more to get your hands dirty by helping to assemble your $100,000 ‘Vette – as I said there’s marketing genius here.
When a customer selects the PBC option for a 2011 Corvette Z06 or ZR1 and the dealer submits the order to Chevrolet, a special concierge contacts the customer to verify participation and help coordinate arrangements.
While travel arrangements to and from Detroit are the customer’s responsibility, the Chevrolet concierge helps schedule the engine build; coordinates the customer’s activities at the Performance Build Center; assists with booking local lodging and meals, and arranges local transportation.
“In a way, this is a dream program for a Corvette customer. I would have jumped at the chance to build the 427 in my ’67 ’Vette, and that didn’t have half of what goes into one of these modern precision engines,” said Tom Stephens, GM vice chairman, Global Product Operations.
“Today’s LS7 and Corvette engines are pinnacle achievements in engineering, and to personally involve our customers in their final creation shows the depth of Chevrolet’s commitment to make lasting connections with the customer,” said Stephens.
At the PBC, the customer does not view the engine’s assembly – he or she builds it under the supervision of and support from skilled – and presumably very patient – technicians. When the engine is assembled, a personalized nameplate is added to the engine next to the builder’s name. It is then sent to the Corvette assembly plant for installation in the customer’s car.