The AP [via canadianbusiness.com] reports that two separate bills to make the Corvette Kentucky’s official state car appear to be dead in the state’s legislature. State Rep. C.B. Embry Jr., R-Morgantown, suggests that the failure of these bills would be perceived as a snub by GM, who builds Corvettes in Bowling Green. Not so, say GM reps.
With or without a bill, the Corvette is an iconic American sports car, and we’re proud to build it in Kentucky. It shouldn’t be perceived as a snub, and we don’t take it as that.
But GM’s downplaying of the news hides the possible cause for what otherwise would be a win-win political proposition.
The first indication that something is afoot comes from state House Democratic whip John Will Stacy, who refuses to explain why the bills died, saying only:
Sometimes things happen that no one has a good explanation for. And this may be one of those times.
Meanwhile, there are real clues to why Kentucky snubbed GM. A bill recently passed, giving culled GM dealers the right of first refusal to any new dealership franchises in their former areas. That bill is still waiting on a signature from the governor. Some 38 Kentucky dealers have been culled since GM exited bankruptcy, and having tooled up a presence in the state legislature for a reinstatement bill, it’s likely that these culled dealers have convinced lawmakers that now is not the best time to be rewarding GM with Corvette kudos. Given that GM has reinstated over a quarter of its culled Kentucky dealers, this is just more evidence that GM’s dealer cull made more enemies than it did fundamentally change the company’s retail situation.