General Motors will revamp a Kentucky factory to produce a new version of the iconic Chevrolet Corvette sports car that will look “completely different” from the current version, the automaker said on Wednesday. The automaker will invest $131 million in the Bowling Green, Ky. factory
Without providing specifics, Chevrolet said the plant will continue to build the current-generation model for “at least the next two model years.” This implies the redesigned Corvette won’t be launched until the 2014 model year – at the earliest.
Having made upgrades to the 2012 model, General Motors will focus on re-tooling the plant, while also adding 250 workers to supplement the 400 UAW employees already building America’s sports car.
Corvettes had been made at Bowling Green since 1981. All versions of the car are assembled there including hardtops, convertibles and the high-performance Z06 and ZR1 versions.
While most cars are thoroughly redesigned about every five years to keep up with changing consumer tastes and competitors’ improvements, high-cost niche products like the Corvette tend to go much longer between revisions. The sixth-generation Corvette was introduced in 2005.
GM spent about $39 million on the plant when it changed over to the C6 Corvette in 2005–about one-third the amount it is spending for the changeover to the C7.