Chevrolet just announced another investment in Bowling Green Final Assembly, the home of the Corvette.
General Motors has disclosed it will invest $290 million in the plant to improve assembly technology and processes on top of an earlier $439 million investment slated for a new 450,000-square-foot paint shop that increases factory floor space by fifty percent. Thats almost two-thirds of a billion dollars folks.
Whats going on at Bowling Green?
With rumors swirling around about the Corvette migrating away from front-engine, RWD to a mid-engine configuration and moving even further upscale price wise, we think increasing the factory floor space by fifty percent would indicate an additional model, not a replacement for the front-engined car.
Here at Corvette Online, we think that a sole mid-engine model would drastically hinder Corvette sales which are hovering around 30k units a year. A halo model makes more sense as it would attract a higher end buyer and fulfill long rumored GM goals of expanding the Corvette lineup and stoking the brand with multiple models, i.e. Porsche.
Or, is Chevy really going to ditch the front-engined, RWD blueprint that has worked so well for Corvette over the last 63 years? Is all this upgrading to the plant to facilitate assembly of an more complicated and complex new model? Would Chevy walk away from the market it’s dominated for over half a century??
If that indeed does happen, we think the Camaro, which is already essentially a 4-seat Corvette, will be groomed to take over that market. That would make sense in lieu of mid-engine model only Corvette lineup.
According to scuttlebutt on the interwebs, the next-generation C8 Corvette will be bowing in Detroit for 2018. According to the murmurs, Corvette is expected to move to a mid-engine platform in both left- and right-hand-drive configurations, helping GM to expand sales around the globe for the first time.
Kentucky’s Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen comments during the previous investment announcement in the Corvette plant might have tipped her hand to us. “The Corvette is one of Kentucky’s most-cherished icons,” she said. “Such a significant expansion of the Bowling Green assembly plant will help the company remain competitive in the region and around the world.”
Hmmm. What say you? Do you want to see a mid-engine only Corvette line up or a halo model on top the Corvette range? Let us know in the comments.