C7 production at the Corvette plant in Bowling Green, KentuckyEnlarge Photo
General Motors Company [NYSE:GM] will spend $439 million in upgrades for its Corvette plant located in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Most of the funds will go into a new 450,000 square-foot paint shop that will be roughly half the size of the current Bowling Green assembly plant once complete.
Construction of the new paint shop is planned to begin this summer and take approximately two years to complete. Some of the advancements the new shop will offer include a new dry scrubber system that helps eliminate sludge water and waste, brighter LED lighting for inspection areas, robots with electrostatic applicators for smoother finishes and more efficient paint application, and longer, high-efficiency baking ovens that also improve paint finish and help lower energy use.
The latest investment builds on a previous $135 million investment made four years ago to establish a new body shop as well as the relocation of the Performance Build Center to the Bowling Green site.
Though it hasn’t been mentioned by GM, the latest round of upgrades may be in preparation for the next-generation C8 Corvette which is rumored to be introduced midway through the current C7 Corvette’s life cycle. This new Corvette is expected to move to a mid-engine platform and be built in both left- and right-hand-drive configurations, with the latter being crucial as the car will be positioned as a halo product for the Chevrolet brand worldwide. A clue comes from Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen who was present at a groundbreaking event for the new paint shop.
“The Corvette is one of Kentucky’s most-cherished icons,” he said. “Such a significant expansion of the Bowling Green assembly plant will help the company remain competitive in the region and around the world.”