General Motors announced that production of the 2014 Corvette Stingray Coupe has begun and that it has started shipping the all-new 7th generation Corvette to dealers from the Bowling Green, Kentucky facility where the sports cars are assembled.
About 1,000 C7 Corvettes have been made so far at the Bowling Green plant, which has assembled Corvettes since 1981. That factory was the recipient of a $131 million dollar investment to produce the new Vette, including $52 million spent to upgrade the factory’s body shop so it can manufacture the Coupe’s all aluminum frame in house for the first time.
The all aluminum frame is also a first for the base Corvette. Though Z06 and ZR1 models of the previous generation Vette had light alloy frame components, the base C6 Corvette coupe came with a hydroformed steel frame. In addition to the upgrades to Bowling Green’s body shop, GM is also moving their Performance Build Center, where the higher performance versions of GM’s LS family of engines are hand-built, from Wixom, Michigan to the Kentucky facility.
GM’s “build your own engine” program, which allowed purchasers of cars with those performance engines (or buyers of similar crate motors) to put their engines together under the supervision of the highly skilled PBC employees, will be reestablished after the move and GM is saying that the experience will be upgraded. With the engine build facility adjacent to the final assembly plant, buyers will likely get to see the engine they build installed in the car they are buying.