Corvette Production Halts Over Storm Damage
Destructive and deadly weather tore through six states over the weekend, killing dozens and destroying broad swaths of property and infrastructure. General Motors’ Chevrolet Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, KY, was damaged in the storms, leading the automaker to pause production for a week to make necessary repairs. GM employs approximately 1,200 hourly and 180 salaried workers at the facility. The automaker canceled the plant’s first and second shifts.
Photo: NewsChannel 5 in Nashville
Tornadoes killed 90 people across the Midwest and Southeast U.S. Friday and Saturday, and an estimate of total damages will likely take weeks or months. The Corvette plant suffered damage on Saturday after a tornado started a fire. In a statement, GM noted that the fire caused damage to the roof and an employee entrance but confirmed that no one was hurt.
General Motors’ production has taken a beating over the past two years. Several of the automaker’s facilities temporarily closed in response to the global microchip shortage and other supply chain difficulties in the continuing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Even the flagship Corvette had its production cut for a few weeks earlier this year, though it was an unrelated supply issue.
The eighth-generation Corvette debuted in 2020 as the first mid-engine example of the storied American sports car. This year, demand has grown more robust, with 24,748 units sold through September. That’s almost double the number sold last year, though it’s important to note that production shut down for around two months in 2020 when the pandemic first began.
Toyota, which also operates manufacturing facilities in Kentucky, noted that the impact on its operations and facilities was minimal and that there are no known impacts to its employees in the area. Corvette production should restart next week on December 20, but the damage to surrounding communities will take much longer to repair. Corvette buyers may be waiting a bit longer for their new ride as a result, but that’s a small price to pay. Some towns were nearly leveled in the disaster, and several dozen people are presumed dead after the factory they were working in collapsed in the storm.
Automotive News is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on December 13, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.