For all the justified hype, the 2020 Chevrolet Corvette might be off to a rough start—and it hasn't gone on sale yet. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, the production and on-sale date of the mid-engine Corvette will be delayed as the ongoing United Auto Workers strike at GM impacts the company's ability to catch up on current-generation orders and finish retooling Bowling Green Assembly Plant to build the new car.
GM first began the process of changing over the factory in June of 2017, when it first shut down the factory's well-known public tours to start the switch in secret. Production of the C8 is officially scheduled to begin in December of this year. But the Freep cites two anonymous sources "familiar with GM’s production plans" who say that's no longer the case.
"I know for a fact that this strike is directly going to affect the start of regular production for the mid-engine Corvette," one source said. The person went on to claim that GM originally intended to idle the factory for two weeks this month to finish the retooling process. Allegedly, that's now impossible as the plant works to catch up on a backlog of current-gen orders caused by the UAW strike.
On September 16, around 48,000 members of the UAW walked out on their jobs at over 31 General Motors factories and 21 other related facilities across the country to push for better healthcare, wages, and more job security as GM continues to post record profits—nearly $35 billion in North America over the past three years. Since the strike began, it's become the company's longest nationwide walkout since 1970.
It's created a ripple effect, forcing GM to idle two major plants in Mexico, one of which holds key production lines for the critical 2020 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks. It's unclear how many strikers GM has replaced with temporary employees, but it appears the situation is eating away at GM's already-built inventory—and if the Freep's report is accurate, it's finally beginning to affect consumers. For it's part, Chevrolet claims C8 Corvette production is still on target.
"The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray production begins in late 2019 and convertible production follows in late first-quarter 2020. It’s too early to speculate on potential production timing impacts on any of our vehicles due to the UAW work stoppage," a Chevy spokesperson told The Drive.