Australia’s first factory-delivered Corvette, the mid-engined C8, could be delayed as a strike by General Motors workers reaches its third week.
United Auto Workers (UAW) have been striking amid contract negotiations with GM, with most of the American manufacturer’s factories being temporarily shut down in the process.
The Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky, where every Corvette is built, is affected by the strike, with the Detroit Free Press reporting that industrial action has resulted in a delay in starting C8 production.
It’s reported that Bowling Green still has to finish production for the front-engined C7 Corvette, before the plant can be idled, and retooled, ahead of the mid-engined C8 starting full production.
GM has pushed back against the report, with a spokesman saying the C8 is unaffected by the ongoing strike.
“As we’ve previously stated, Chevrolet Corvette Stingray production begins in late 2019 and convertible production follows in late first-quarter 2020,” a spokesman told the Detroit Free Press.
“It’s too early to speculate on production timing impacts on any of our vehicles due to the UAW work stoppage.”
An anonymous source quoted by the Detroit Free Press thinks otherwise, telling the outlet “I know for a fact that this strike is directly going to affect the start of regular production for the mid-engined Corvette.”
According to the source the retooling process needed to start building production C8 Corvette’s “can’t happen because the plant hasn’t finished production of the current generation Corvette.”
It’s claimed that GM had originally planned to idle the Bowling Green plant this week, with retooling to begin next week. As workers continue to strike, this cannot happen.
The UAW and GM have been butting heads over demands made by the union, which include wanting a guarantee that future models will be built in American factories.
The all-new C8 will become the first Corvette sold from the factory in right-hand-drive, and is coming to Australia as a factory-backed model.
If the reports of delays are true, and the negotiations between GM and the UAW remain in a stalemate, it’s likely that an Aussie launch could be pushed back.
Currently the C8 is expected to arrive on Aussie shores before the end of 2020. As demand in North America will be immense, and the industrial action has no end date in sight, it could be possible that Australians will have to wait until 2021 to get their hands on the V8-powered sports car.
However, if UAW and GM come to an agreement soon, and production ramped up successfully, Holden could receive the C8 on time.
This isn’t the first time the C8 has been delayed, with reports from earlier in the year claiming the launch was pushed back by six months due to a trio of issues found with the new electrical architecture.
According to Hagerty the car needed a computer area network revamp amid a swap to the new platform, while the aluminium chassis couldn’t handle the stress of the yet-unreleased twin-turbo motor, and unspecified underlying design issues needed refining.