A couple hours ago we heard that the Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant was shutting down next week due to a global semiconductor shortage bringing 2021 Corvette production to a halt.
We reached out to Chevrolet for confirmation and received the following:
“Due to a temporary parts supply issue, we can confirm that Bowling Green Assembly will not run production the week of February 1. Our supply chain, manufacturing and engineering teams are working closely with our supply base to mitigate any further impact on production, and we expect the plant to resume normal operations on Monday, February 8.“
This isn’t all that surprising as the supply of LPOs for customer cars has been absolutely horrendous. From rear black trident wheels to front splash guards, cargo liners, visible carbon fiber front grille, and composite rockers, the breakdown in the supply chain has been wreaking havoc not only with Corvette production, but also deliveries to customers.
The large volume Corvette dealers are experiencing major backups with delivering cars to customers because some of the cars only have half the LPOs that they were supposed to receive.
Contrary to what some customers believe – the LPOs are not shipped inside the car from the Assembly Plant to the dealer. They’re actually shipped from the supplier to an “Accessories Distributor Installer” (ADI) that then ships them to the dealer. When everything is running perfectly, the LPOs usually arrive at the Chevy dealer 1-2 weeks prior to the customer’s Corvette arriving at the dealer.
Because the supply chain has been taking such a beating from the pandemic, customer cars are arriving at the dealership before the LPOs are getting there.
We spoke to one ADI who told us that there is a massive lack of supply of the black trident wheels – rear only and not to expect them for at least two plus weeks if not more.
A Small Window into the Supply Chain Issue
Let’s take a look at an example: let’s say a customer orders a 2021 Corvette with black trident wheels, splash guards and the roof panel pouch. The ADI may have the roof panel pouch and the front splash guards, but they’re still waiting for the front splash guards and the black trident wheels for the rear. Due to procedure – they won’t ship any of the LPOs to the dealer until they have received all of them from the supplier.
The selling dealer now has to contact the customer who in some cases, has been waiting 12+ months for their Corvette, and explain to them that they don’t have the LPOs for the car. The dealer then has to determine if the customer is willing to take delivery of the car without the LPOs with the understanding that hopefully the LPOs will arrive soon.
The customer can then either bring the car back to the dealer for installation, or the dealer has to arrange shipping of the LPOs to the customer. If GM decides that they can’t meet the numbers needed by the sold orders, GM then notifies the dealer that the LPO order can’t be met and the dealer will be notified shortly with how to proceed.
The dealer then needs to notify the customer and inform them that they won’t be receiving some or all of their LPOs and that the dealer is waiting to hear from GM on how they’re going to reimburse the customer.
You can imagine some of the responses dealers get back from the irate customers!
Long story short: it’s an enormous SNAFU!
Many customers have been unfairly blaming Chevy dealers for “dropping the ball”, but it really isn’t the fault of the dealers, the Bowling Green Corvette Assembly Plant, or the suppliers. The finger of blame continues to point to the pandemic and its effects on supply chain employees becoming exposed to the COVID-19 virus and/or suffering the effects of infection.
Now – just imagine what an automotive manufacturer and an assembly plant has to deal with just to keep up with building the cars and keeping the production line moving along.
Will Corvettes Continue to Ship From the Factory?
Yes, Jack Cooper Transport will continue picking up 2021 Corvettes that have been built, wrapped and sitting in the back of the factory awaiting delivery.
The shipping of 2021 Corvettes will probably be negatively affected the following week *after* the Assembly Plant shutdown because obviously, if the plant is shut down for a week, there won’t really be anything to ship the week after.
Fingers crossed, 2021 Corvette production resumes on February 8th and the supply chain starts to recover.