By on September 15, 2008

GM has let slip to Automotive News [sub] that Corvette production will cease for the week of Oct. 6. After that, The General will slow the assembly line and lay off an unspecified number of employees (estimated at 75). “It is the first inventory-related closure of the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Ky., since at least 1995.” While GM spinmeisters were quick to blame the economy, there seems to be something else in play. As AN reports “Through the first eight months of 2008, Corvette sales fell 8.5 percent to 21,066. They rebounded 47.4 percent in August after 2008 models were included in GM’s employee pricing sale. The big-ticket discounts, rare on the Corvette, reduced the car’s inventory glut fast. The Corvette went from a 145-day supply on Aug. 1 — a 2008 high — to a 56-day supply on Sept. 1.” So why not keep on keeping on?  “You can’t count on (the incentives) holding inventories down through the balance of the year,” GM spokeswoman Sharon Basel explained. I know Vette sales are seasonal, but how much money will GM “save” by losing one week’s production, and then cutting output from 18.5 vehicles per hour to 15?

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14 Comments on “Chevy Halts ‘Vette Production...”


  • avatar
    faster_than_rabbit

    Maybe they should’ve finally gone mid-engine with the C6?

  • avatar
    Matthew Danda

    The primary customer of this vehicle is probably feeling a lot of pain right now due to the ongoing crisis in the financial sector.

  • avatar
    N85523

    Let’s not forget that this plant also produces the Caddy XLR. Perhaps its slumping sales could be a factor.

  • avatar
    Redbarchetta

    I know Vette sales are seasonal, but how much money will GM “save” by losing one week’s production, cutting output from 18.5 vehicles per hour to 15?

    Couch cushion change. Like I said in a previous post the more illogical financial decision we start to see the closer to true collapse they really are. They don’t have the cash to hold onto anything that isn’t selling in droves while they try to weather the storm. I have a feeling we will see more of these head scratching production cuts in the next month.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    This is truly sad, but I think it portends the future. I had a C5 convertiblee with the HUD and six-speed stick. Hated the “skip 4th gear” thingie, though.

    It would have been a great car except that a new set of rubber was $1,600 before tax. That and it was a GM vehicle…

  • avatar

    Uh-oh. This is first crack showing in the almighty Corvette. On 9/4 TTAC asked “Does the American Muscle Car have a future?”

    It doesn’t look good for the Muscle Cars out there if the Corvette is starting to have problems. Almost all GM muscle cars end up with Corvette technology and parts.

  • avatar
    Lokki

    When you can’t afford to make your halo car, things are serious indeed.

    On the other hand, we now know that GM loses $10K on every Solstice and Sky. Does anyone know if they actually make money on the Corvette?

    If the profit is lower than the markdown, then it MIGHT make sense to stop production… but it sure looks ugly.

    Anyone want to bet that this is a bean-counter idea and not a car-guy idea?

  • avatar
    Geotpf

    Lokki: I suspect GM makes money on the Corvette, or at the very least breaks even. The Corvette costs significantly more than the Solstice/Sky, and they sell more of them.

  • avatar
    whatdoiknow1

    At $50,000 for a decent Corvette today what did folks expect to happen?

    The closest RWD sportcars alternative to the Corvette, the 350z list for a whopping $20,000 less yet provides about 95% of the performance and at least 99% of the fun of the Vette. The base model is also equiped with reasonably affordable 17″ tires when it is time for replacments.

    If GM would pull its head out of its a$$ long enough to catch a beath it would see that the 350z is now forefilling the orginal mission of the Corvette. As the Vette ran off to chase after Porsches another car has come along and become very popular with the up and coming 21 to 45 year olds than can afford to spend $30,000 but can not and will not waste an extra $20,000 on a “toy”. They do have mortage payments and student loans to worry about. If they are “flush” enough to afford $50,000+ toys they will buy Porsches, M3s, and those other “premium” rides.

    GM can’t make a baby Vette because NO other GM car is allowed to compete with the Vette in terms of performance. The joke is that a $30,000 Z fighter from GM would have also cut the Vette’s throat and stole many sales from the more expensive Vette.

    In many ways the premise behind the Vette does not make much sense. The excuse for low quality and cheap materials is that the Vette is all about performance. Anyone with half a brain knows that that is a bunch of BS in the real world of traffic laws and speed limits. Not to mention the fact that most of these cars are sold with automatic transmissions. The price of the Vette also make this arguement kinda silly, it is a $50,000 car, right up there with some other might fine rides that actually look and feel like $50,000 cars.

    The Corvette is destined to suffer the same fate as other GM products. While the market is changing GM just makes excuses! The Vette is NOT very popular with many demographics and areas of this country (mainly on the coast), according to GM if you “dont get it” it is your fault for not understanding an “American Icon”.

  • avatar
    geeber

    If the 350Z is now fulfilling the original mission of the Corvette, someone forgot to tell the potential customers.

    In August, the Corvette sold 4,242 cars, bringing the total for the calendar year to 21,066. That final total is down 8.5 percent from the same figure in 2007.

    The Nissan 350Z, meanwhile, sold a whopping 906 vehicles, and its 8,278 calendar year sales through August represent a 40.5 percent decline from the prior year.

    The Corvette may not be popular in some areas of the country, but at 906 sales (and at a lower price point) in August, the 350Z doesn’t appear to be popular much of anywhere in the country.

    I’m as willing as the next guy to point out GM’s faults, but the Corvette is one car that GM does right, while I get the feeling that the 350Z is destined to meet the same fate as the 300ZX or Toyota Supra.

    I agree that GM could have used a cheaper sports car – which is why I believe that the Solstice/Sky should have been sold only as a Chevrolet (under the Stingray moniker) and then developed and improved, much like the original Corvette was in the 1950s and 1960s.

  • avatar
    Greg Locock

    The primary customer of this vehicle is probably feeling a lot of pain right now due to the ongoing crisis in the financial sector.”

    Hairdressers and fat old men?

  • avatar
    Potemkin

    The primary customer of this vehicle is probably feeling a lot of pain right now due to the ongoing crisis in the financial sector.” Holy Crap Batman, if this is the reason, and I believe it is, then all the halo cars are about to take a beating. I suspect you will be able to by a repo’d Vette or BMW or Mercedes cheap after all the dominos fall, starting with Lehman Bros.

  • avatar
    rtz

    No wonder I have been seeing so many new Vette’s on the road lately. I bet it was a great time to buy one?

    They might be trying to do what Harley Davidson is attempting to do. Keep production down so there is never an excess, market it as a premium item. Priced a Harley recently? The bikes supposedly don’t go out the door for less then MSRP anymore. Usually about $1,000 over that amount after the “shipping” and “crating” and “setup” fees.

    So Vette’s are in tight supply. If sales fell off during the rebate, that seems to indicate everyone who could suddenly afford one bought one. Market saturation?

    Saving money by not building cars… I save a lot of money since I don’t build cars. But I also make no money…

    A classic line: “laying off 75 people”. Yeah right. They might be sitting at home(or in the cafeteria), but they are still getting paid. But I guess the Union pays them?

    So GM makes a $100k Vette and two sub models. If they made a cheap Vette or a stripper Vette, it would dilute the brand so they don’t. Does Vette even have any marketing or advertising? It’s jut not innovative or high tech enough. It’s very 1995`ish.

    This is more new(it is new!) and innovative(check out the front susp) then the Vette:

    http://www.factoryfive.com/hotrodhome.html

    I’d have more fun building that and tinkering with it then tooling around in a stock Vette. Or get a GTM and put the Vette guts in it. Defenitley be lighter. And no, the Vette wouldn’t help me pick up chicks.

  • avatar
    thetopdog

    rtz:

    The Vette might not help you pick up chicks, but I’ve picked up at least 15 girls because of the car in the 1.5 years I’ve had mine

    Greg Locock:

    Anything with a 400hp+ V8 that can hold its own with some of the best sports cars in the world should not be called a ‘hairdresser’s car’.

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