The next generation Corvette hasn’t even been unveiled yet, but General Motors is betting the new ’Vette will be a runaway hit by adding 400 jobs to the company’s Corvette Assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
GM said it is adding a second shift in Bowling Green to support production of the Next Generation Corvette, which will be revealed on July 18, 2019. The addition of the second shift will increase the plant’s workforce to more than 1,300 people, GM said.
“The Corvette’s iconic status owes so much to the men and women of Bowling Green, where it has been built exclusively for almost 40 years,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra.
“This is the workforce that can deliver a next-generation Corvette worthy of both its historic past and an equally exciting future, and today’s announcement gets us one step closer to its reveal on July 18.”
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Since 2011, GM has invested more than $900 million into Bowling Green. This includes investments towards a new body shop, increased engine capacity, new paint shop, a new Performance Build Center, and additional plant upgrades.
Bowling Green Assembly has produced more than 1 million Corvettes since it opened in 1981. Although best known for the powerful internal combustion-powered racers it churns out, the plant has the largest solar array of any automaker in Kentucky, and its annual economic impact includes more than $76 million in state wages and $15 million in income tax.
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Nonetheless, up until recently the Bowling Green plant could be on the chopping block as GM looked for ways to consolidate its manufacturing footprint. The plant has operated on only one shift and its utilization rate is relatively low.
The first-generation Corvette, which was built in Flint, Michigan, was introduced as a 1953 model year. Originally designed as a show car for the 1953 Motorama display at the New York Auto Show, it generated enough interest to go into production.
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The current or seventh generation Corvette debuted in January 2013 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was the first to bring back the Stingray nameplate since 1976. The final production seventh generation Corvette will be auctioned off this summer with proceeds benefitting the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation.