General Motors is shutting down the company’s assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the factory that builds the Chevrolet Corvette, for one week, idling approximately 1,400 employees due to a parts shortage.
The temporary shutdown of production of one of GM’s hottest vehicles was first reported by local new media around Bowling Green. However, it was also confirmed in a statement by GM, which was posted online by a local television station.
“Due to a temporary parts supply issue, we can confirm that Bowling Green Assembly will not run production the week of Oct. 12. Our supply chain, manufacturing and engineering teams are working closely with our supply base to mitigate any further impact on production, and we expect the plant to resume normal operations on Monday, Oct. 19,” the GM statement said.
GM offered no details of the parts shortage. The automaker does not identify suppliers that run into difficulties that have slowed the delivery of critical parts.
However, American Axle, one of GM’s key suppliers reported a major fire at one of its plants in Oho, although that fire hasn’t been linked to the shutdown in Kentucky. GM also is heavily dependent on supplier in Mexico where the threat of COVID-19 has persisted, leading to work stoppages and high absenteeism, according to reports from labor rights activists in Mexico.
GM reported that sales of the 2020 Corvette Stingray, which was named North American Car of the Year for 2020, increased 33% during the third quarter of 2020.
However, sales of the new Corvette were stalled initially by the pandemic, which forced GM to close all of its assembly plants and a large percentage of its dealers for more than two months this past spring.
The pandemic also delayed the installation of a second shift at the Bowling Green assembly plant. The second shift at the plant didn’t start working until August after a delay of several months. As it stands the delays forced GM to extend the 2020 model run into December to fill customer order that already on the books.
Normally the model year ends at factories in August or September at the latest.
As mentioned, third quarter sales for the sports car were up, however, through the first three quarters of 2020, sales are down 12.9%. The company’s sold 12,634 units compared with 14,497 for the same period last year. GM’s overall sales are down 17.4% through the first three quarters of the year.