The new mid-engine 2020 C8 Chevrolet Corvette is almost already sold out completely, but everyone waiting on their car will have to wait a little bit longer due to the United Auto Workers strike reportedly delaying production.
It’s been three weeks since the UAW went on strike amid contract negotiations with General Motors, shutting down most of the automaker’s U.S. manufacturing operations. That includes the Bowling Green Assembly plant that was finishing up production of the outgoing front-engine C7 Corvette before retooling to build the new mid-engine C8.
That’s where the trouble lies, as reported by The Detroit Free Press:
A spokesman for GM said, “As we’ve previously stated, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray production begins in late 2019 and convertible production follows in late first-quarter 2020. It’s too early to speculate on production timing impacts on any of our vehicles due to the UAW work stoppage.”
But a person familiar with operations at Bowling Green Assembly said, “I know for a fact that this strike is directly going to affect the start of regular production for the midengine Corvette.”
That’s because the plant still must fulfill orders for the current model Corvette, dubbed the C7.
Then, the factory must undergo a tooling change to build the midengine car. GM had planned to idle the plant this week and next to retool it.
“That can’t happen because the plant hasn’t finished production of the current generation Corvette,” the person said.
This is a moderately bad look for the exciting new model after it was already allegedly delayed for various reported faults, including a switch to a new electrical architecture in the middle of development.
And now the car could likely be delayed yet again as GM attempts to take on the UAW. The union reportedly wants a guarantee from the automaker that future models will be built in American facilities, but GM is arguing costs are too high and it wants the flexibility to move some production overseas to keep costs down.
And now caught in the crossfire is the C7 and the C8 Corvette. Even if GM’s official line is that the C8 will go into production on schedule, it’s hard to imagine how when the plant is shut down and it seems union negotiations aren’t really getting anywhere.