Kentucky governor Andy Beshear said this week he will allow manufacturing, construction, vehicle or vessel dealerships and other select businesses to open on May 11th. This means General Motors will be able to turn the lights back on at Bowling Green Assembly, though there are other variables that may prevent 2020 Corvette production from getting back underway.
The biggest hurdle standing in the way of GM restarting the assembly line in Bowling Green is the ongoing negotiations with the UAW. Union boss Rory Gamble has said he believes it is still too early to reopen vehicle assembly plants in early May and wants the Big Three to provide workers with adequate PPE and paid quarantine leave should they contract COVID-19. GM, Ford and FCA are currently working with the UAW to put in place protocols to protect workers at their respective assembly plants and decide on a solution.
Another problem is parts supply. The 6.2L LT2 V8 engine that powers the 2020 Corvette is built at a separate plant in Buffalo. With the pandemic hitting New York state particularly hard, it may be a while longer before Tonawanda Powertrain can come back online. It’s not clear if there is a supply of LT2 engines at Bowling Green Assembly right now.
There may other parts supply issues, as well. While more than 60 percent of the components that make up the 2020 Corvette come from the United States or Canada, many automotive suppliers in North America remain shut down for the time being. That’s not to mention the parts that come from Mexico and other foreign countries, either.
If Bowling Green Assembly has enough parts on hand, it may be able to begin producing the 2020 Corvette in limited quantities starting May 11th. GM has not said when it plans to get back to work, though, pending discussions with the UAW.