The new C8-series Chevrolet Corvette Stingray has been eagerly awaited. Alas, it looks like it may have to be eagerly awaited for a while longer.
Members of the United Auto Workers (UAW) who work for General Motors are in the fourth week of a strike, and the Detroit Free Press reports this will affect production of the much-anticipated, mid-engine C8 Corvette.
The Bowling Green, Kentucky plant that has built the Corvette since 1981 still has to fulfil orders for the outgoing C7 Corvette. Once those C7s have been built, the plant must be idled for at least a couple of weeks so it can be re-tooled and C8s can start rolling off the line.
Production of the new C8 was initially scheduled to start before the end of the year.
So far, GM isn’t publicly announcing any changes to production dates but a source inside Bowling Green told the Detroit Free Press that GM will have no choice but to delay the new supercar.
It’s not just production of the Corvette that’s affected by the strike. Automotive News reports GM has had to temporarily close three of its factories that produce the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks, profitable vehicles crucial to GM’s bottom line.
It’s a bad time for production delays as the Ram 1500 recently overtook the Chevrolet Silverado in sales, though both the Chevy and its GMC cousin have been rebounding.
Some 46,000 UAW workers walked off the job a month ago. They’re seeking increased wages, changes to their pension plans, and a path to full-time employment for temporary, part-time workers. Negotiations between the union and GM have so far been unsuccessful with the UAW saying a few days ago that talks have “taken a turn for the worse.”
The strike has had a ripple effect as, besides costing GM upwards of US$660 million (A$979 million) in profit, it’s also led to job losses. Approximately 10,000 workers at parts suppliers throughout the North American continent have been laid off or furloughed.
How does this affect Australia? At the Corvette's reveal, Holden indicated the Chevrolet-badged supercar would be coming Down Under either late in 2020 or early in 2021. Should production for key launch markets be delayed, we could see an Australian introduction pushed back further into next decade.
Stay tuned for all the latest.