As if they weren’t getting the VIP treatment already, Chevrolet Corvettes will get even more of it soon thanks to GM’s new $439 investment to upgrade its Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
General Motors made the announcement Thursday at a groundbreaking for its new paint shop. The 450,000 square-foot facility will be used to color new Corvette’s Torch Red, Shark Gray Metallic and Laguna Blue Tintcoat. It will be nearly half the size of the entire current production facility. The investment builds on approximately $135 million GM has invested in the plant over the last four years for the new Corvette Stingray and Performance Build Center.
“The Corvette is one of Kentucky’s most-cherished icons,” said. Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen. “Such a significant expansion of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant will help the company remain competitive in the region and around the world.”
Construction of the new paint shop, which includes substantial technology upgrades, will get underway this summer and take about two years to complete. Along with new tooling and robots, the paint shop’s state-of-the-art environmental and efficiency enhancements include:
- Dry Scrubber Booth Technology with Limestone Handling System designed to eliminate sludge water and waste
- Light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting for process decks for improved visual inspection as well as energy savings
- State-of-the-art FANUC robots with Versa-bell 3 electrostatic applicators for an extremely smooth finish and maximum transfer efficiency, saving 25 percent of the paint material used, which also benefits the environment
- Longer, high-efficiency baking ovens for exceptional paint finish and lower energy use.
“With this major technology investment, we can continue to exceed the expectations of sports car buyers for years to come,” said North American Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones. “These types of investments are evidence that the customer is at the center of every decision we make.”
Corvette production began in 1981 in Bowling Green following assembly in Flint, Mich., and St. Louis. Each has been an exclusive home of the Corvette, contributing to its distinction as the world’s longest-running, continuously produced passenger car. More than 1.6 million have been produced in 62 years.
Last year, Corvette sales reached an eight-year high in 2014 with almost 38,000 cars sold around the world. The plant welcomed a record 56,000 tourists last year.
The investments in Bowling Green are part of the $5.4 billion that GM plans to invest in U.S. facilities over the next three years. Another huge upgrade and expansion project involves its SUV plant in Arlington, Texas.
Photo Credit: Chevrolet