GM released sales figures for the month of April this morning, and Corvette sales continued on a downward trend for last month.
A total of 2,756 Corvettes were delivered last month as compared to 3,142 Corvettes delivered the same time last year. That’s a difference of 386 sold units, or a 12.3% decline.
A total of 8,560 Corvettes were delivered between January – April 2017 as compared to a total of 9,512 delivered for the same period last year. That a decline of 10.0%.
In the grand scheme of things, the decline in sales should be expected given all the media hype we’ve seen the first quarter of this year with the 2018 Corvette ZR1, coming, proposed mid-engine Corvette spy photos caught and all the publicity surrounding the major shutdown of the Bowling Green Corvette Assembly plant for at least three months later this year. Once the Assembly Plant goes back online, the new Corvette paint shop will be operational.
During the National Corvette Museum’s annual Bash last week in Bowling Green, Kentucky, National Corvette Museum Marketing and Communications Manager, Katie Frassinelli, said the plant is gearing up to go through a series of extensive changes and tours will be halted after June 16th for about a year and half.
During the 2018 Corvette Introduction on Friday at the NCM Bash, Tadge Juechter, Corvette Chief Engineer, told the audience that the plant was shutting down in order to re-route how body panels are transferred through the factory.
The new paint shop is at the complete opposite end of the factory. As a result, all of the overhead body panel carriers that you see when taking the factory tour, need to be re-routed through the new paint shop. As part of the new facility, Assembly Plant Engineers are also working to allow visitor to view the painting process through a small part of the paint shop – which is not currently available today due to the clean-room environment needed during the painting process.
While many news media outlets are publishing speculation about the tours being suspended in order to make assembly plant changes for a new mid-engine C8 Corvette, it is completely plausible that the tours will be shut down for such a long time in order to complete all of those changes for the re-routing of the body panels. The Assembly Plant needs to get up and running ASAP in order to continue 2018 Corvette production and fulfill customer orders, however, they may not be quite ready to allow visitors back into the facility until all the changes have been completed.
Regardless, a new paint facility promising huge quality improvements to the finished product, a 2018 Corvette ZR1 with blistering performance, and possibly a mid-engine Corvette for the next generation are all good signs that these are exciting times for the Corvette marque!