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Corvette on the money in Kentucky

2011-05-09 08:06

ALL AMERICAN: Workers at GM’s Bowling Green have reason to smile as a significant investment to build the next-generation Corvette has secured their futures employment.

For the last three decades GM’s rather nondescript Bowling Green assembly plant in Kentucky has assembled America’s signature performance car – the Chevrolet Corvette.

Although the financial meltdown at GM during late 2008 has made the design and production of a new Corvette less of a priority, GM has announced it plans to invest the equivalent of R870-million in the Bowling Green plant to support the production of Chevrolet’s next-generation Corvette.

The upgrades in assembly technology and capacity will add 250 jobs, duly incentivised by the Kentucky state government with a R50-million tax break for GM.

NEW 'VETTE SOONER THAN LATER

GM management says Bowling Green will continue to build the current C6 Corvette for at least two more years, indicating that its C7 replacement could arrive towards the end of 2013 instead of much later (in 2015) as had been anticipated.

Mark Reuss, GM's boss of North American operations, was unequivocal about the importance of the brand. "This is a significant day for anybody who believes America should build world-class, high-performance products."

Fans of America’s performance car heritage will find this announcement by GM heartening although the C7 Corvette is sure to be a radical departure for the brand. Engineers have been briefed to produce a car that could possibly be homologated with less hassle for global sales.

Auto industry analysts expect the C7's design to borrow classic styling cues (such as the split rear-window) from the Corvette nameplate's 1963 Sting Ray model. Under the bonnet, though, GM's legendary pushrod V8 engines could be replaced by smaller forced-induction V6 power.
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