Tuesday, June 30, 2015

GM Corvette Assembly Plant Announces New Plant Manager

Kai Spande
General Motors announced today the new Plant Manager for their Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Kai Spande, Director of European Powertrain Test Facilities, Engineering Operations and Quality will take the helm, reporting to Arvin Jones, Manufacturing Manager, North American Manufacturing, General Motors. Kai replaces Jeffrey Lamarche who was promoted to the position of Plant Manager Flint Assembly and Stamping. The organizational change is effective September 1st.

Kai has been instrumental in accelerating the implementation of GMS in the European Laps and PPO operations, and in leading a 250M Euro upgrade of the Powertrain test facilities in Turino, Italy, Ruesselsheim, Germany, and at the Dudenhoffe Proving Grounds in Germany, according to an email from GM. He has also been a key contributor and valued member of the European Powertrain Engineering staff. Kai's replacement will be named at a later date.

Congratulations and welcome to Kai! We look forward to having you be a part of Team Corvette and the Bowling Green community!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Chevrolet Releases 2015 Corvette Final Model Counts

While the last Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Bowling Green, KY just over a week ago (Wednesday, June 17 to be exact), Chevrolet has already shared with us their final model year counts for the 2015 Corvette. Corvette sales were down 8% from 2014 (37,288 vs 34,240), but model year 2015 was shorter than 2014 which would account for the dip.

The Museum delivered 1,049 of the 2015 model year cars, the 2nd highest number of Corvettes delivered when compared to Chevrolet Dealerships, and as Harlan Charles, Chevrolet Corvette Product Manager said, "If you were your own country, you would be 3rd after the US and Canada."

Let's take a look at some of the stats:

Stingray Coupes were the most popular model with 60.6%, followed by Z06 Coupes at 20.4%, Stingray Convertibles at 14.1% and Z06 Convertibles at 4.9%.

The 2LT Package was the most popular for the Stingray with 42% of the models having it, but Z06 buyers preferred the 3LT, boasting 69% with that option.

The Z51 Performance Package was another popular option with 53% of buyers opting for it while the Z07 option was added to only 39% of the Z06s.

At the April 2014 Bash at the National Corvette Museum, Chevrolet revealed two new appearance packages: Atlantic and Pacific. If you went with either package - you now have a pretty rare Corvette as only 17 Corvettes are optioned with Atlantic, and 97 with Pacific.

Automatics once again took the top spot with 68% of Corvette buyers selecting a paddle shift transmission. The Z06 for the first time gave buyers the chance to option the performance Corvette with an automatic, and 48% of buyers did so. 90% of Corvette buyers also added Performance Exhaust.

Black wheels took the cake for both Stingray and Z06 models with 36% of Stingrays optioned with Painted Black ZF1/Z51 wheels, and 54% with Black Z06 wheels (note: the Stingray offered a wider selection of wheels than the Z06). Red calipers were also popular, with 54% of Corvettes having them.

Black was also popular inside the car with 45% of Corvettes having Black Leather Interior. 82% of the convertibles had a black top. GT seats were also popular being used in 86% of the cars.

And finally, the exterior colors. Arctic White took top honors with 18.9% or 6,461 of the cars followed by Torch Red (16.4% or 5,625 cars); Shark Gray (15% / 5,130); Black (15% / 5,128); Laguna Blue (8.8% / 3,015); Crystal Red (6.4% / 2,191); Velocity Yellow (6% / 2,065); Blade Silver (5.2% / 1,791); Night Race Blue and Daytona Sunrise Orange (each with 4.1% or 1,417 cars per color). Of course if you add together the two "reds" you get 23% which would then make red the most popular.

To download the complete list of final counts for the 2015 model year, click here.

To see the specs and details for 2015 Corvettes click here.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Sinkhole-Swallowed 1 Millionth Corvette Restoration Underway

Milestone damaged when earth opened beneath National Corvette Museum

Craftspeople and technicians at the General Motors Design Center are painstakingly restoring the historic 1 millionth Chevrolet Corvette damaged nearly 16 months ago when a sinkhole opened beneath the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.

The restoration crew is part of GM’s Mechanical Assembly group at the Design Center, which typically spends its time building prototype and concept vehicles. The white 1992 Corvette is a challenge because rather than build an all-new vehicle from the ground up, the workers are trying to preserve the original appearance of a production vehicle.

It is the second of three sinkhole-damaged Corvettes that Chevrolet has pledged to restore. The first, a 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype known as the Blue Devil, was only lightly damaged and was returned to its original condition last fall. The National Corvette Museum will oversee the restoration of the third car, a 1962 Corvette.

Five other Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve the historical significance of the cars. They will become part of a future sinkhole-themed display at the museum.

Sinkhole summary

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, at 5:44 a.m., National Corvette Museum personnel were notified by their security company about the burglar alarm going off in the Skydome area of the museum. Upon arrival at the museum, a sinkhole measuring about 45-by-60 feet wide and 30-foot deep was discovered.

Security camera footage showing the Skydome floor’s collapse has been viewed more than 8.5 million times on YouTube.

Eight historic Corvettes – two on loan from GM and six owned by the museum – were swallowed that day:

  • 1993 ZR-1 Spyder (on loan)
  • 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil” prototype (on loan)
  • 1962 Corvette
  • 1984 PPG Pace Car
  • 1992 1 millionth Corvette
  • 1993 40th Anniversary Corvette
  • 2001 “Mallett Hammer” Z06
  • 2009 1.5 millionth Corvette

On March 3, 2014, the 2009 Blue Devil was the first car recovered and despite significant damage was started and driven out of the Skydome. The 1.5 millionth Corvette and Mallet Corvette were the last cars pulled from the sinkhole, on April 3 and April 9, respectively – after workers were initially unable to find them amid the collapsed earth.