The 2014 Corvette will be in short supply, with few unsold units on dealer lots until spring at the earliest.
General Motors officials said production of the two-seat sports car will be capped at about 160 units per day on one shift. Despite high demand for the redesigned sports car, GM will not add a second shift, officials said.
“We’ve seen this again and again. You bring out a new Corvette and the demand is sky-high at the beginning, and then it tapers off,” said Corvette Chief Engineer Tadge Juechter. “It’s not worth making that investment [of a second shift], even though for awhile we make a lot more money getting those cars out there.”
GM produced 14,960 Corvettes in 2012 in the car’s lone plant. If GM sticks to its current production plan for the redesigned 2014 model, output will nearly double to about 30,000 units for a full year.
GM officials declined to say how many Corvette orders it has, but several enthusiast sites say GM has banked enough orders from dealers to keep the plant cranking out cars at 160 per day for at least the next six months.
In addition to the one shift, two other factors could limit shipments to U.S. dealers. First, GM plans to offer the redesigned Corvette in nearly all 140 countries that sell Chevrolets. A greater number of exports will reduce the number of cars available in the United States.
Second, the plant is ramping up the convertible model, which will add complexity to the manufacturing process, at least initially, which could slow production.
GM spent $131 million to retool the Corvette plant to assemble the 2014 model, which uses a new frame, body and suspension.