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DATE News (chronologically)
05/04/11
automotive
GM Plans To Spend $100M To Upgrade Corvette Factory  UPDATE General Motors said Wednesday it will invest $131 million in the Bowling Green Assembly plant to support production of the next generation Chevrolet Corvette, adding about 250 jobs.

“This is a significant day for anyone who believes that America should build world-class, high-performance products,” said Mark Reuss, GM North America president. "Corvette has no domestic peer for performance and pedigree and stands alongside the world's best supercars with almost 60 years of continuous heritage.

"This investment in Kentucky is among $3.4 billion made in the United States since mid-2009 to keep or create more than 9,000 jobs for American workers," Reuss said.

The announcement came at an event held at the plant with employees and several special guests, including Gov. Steve Beshear. The governor last June signed a bill designating the Corvette as the official state sports car of Kentucky.

“Kentucky has a longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship with GM and this significant investment further demonstrates the strength of our partnership,” Beshear said.

The plant in Bowling Green is scheduled to continue building the current generation Corvette for at least the next two model years, including the 2012 model year that begins this summer.  During this period, the investment starts to take effect, preparing the facility for the next-generation Corvette.

Bowling Green is the exclusive manufacturer of all versions of the Chevrolet Corvette –Coupe, Convertible, Grand Sport, Z06, and ZR1.  Corvette’s current generation, the sixth in its 58-year history, has seen the car enter the realm of the world’s highest-performing cars.

Nearly 400 production workers, represented by the UAW Local 2164, assemble these vehicles on a one-shift, 10-hour, Monday-Thursday production schedule. The plant employs many specialized operations, including unique hand-crafted techniques. Bowling Green has been home to Corvette production since 1981.

“We need to rebuild the great American middle class.  There is no better way to achieve this worthy goal than providing meaningful jobs like the ones being created in Bowling Green,” said UAW Vice President Joe Ashton. “ Our members have earned this investment through their hard work focused on the Corvette customers’ unique desire for high performance, quality, and style.

“I offer my congratulations to a great American Union Workforce, Local 2164, for a job well done.”

The additional jobs will be filled in accordance with the United Auto Workers -GM National Agreement.

Approximately 50,000 tourists visit the Bowling Green plant annually to catch a glimpse of the manufacturing process, some even watching their new cars being completed before taking delivery from the neighboring National Corvette Museum.

05/04/11 General Motors Co. (GM) plans to spend around $100 million to upgrade its Corvette factory in Bowling Green, Ky., people familiar with the situation said, the latest sign that auto maker's penny pinching days are behind it.

GM North America chief Mark Reuss is expected to announce the investment on Wednesday at the factory. The improvements would be done in time for the next line of Corvettes, not expected until around 2013.

The Corvette's future was never in question. But GM, as it headed into bankruptcy couple of years ago, halted spending on several vehicles programs. In the last year, the company has announced plans to invest several billion dollars into North American Factories and rehire thousands of workers.

The auto maker has been regaining sales steam this year; Corvette sales, meanwhile, are up 15% through April from a year ago.

In addition to the factory improvement, the car itself is getting some upgrades. Changes to the 2012 models, which go on sale later this year, include a racing-style spoiler, an upgraded stereo system (nine speakers up from seven) and new options that include new racing tires and a carbon fiber hood. Many of the enhancements are for the high-performance models, but some apply to base-model Corvettes. Dow Jones

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