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GM strike hasn’t upset new Chev Corvette – yet

Strike me lucky: A worker strike at GM’s Bowling Green factory in Kentucky should be a distant memory by the time right-hand-drive Chevrolet Corvette Stingrays destined for Holden customers are due to start production.

Holden’s plans for Chevrolet Corvette launch remain on track, despite GM strike

16 Oct 2019

HOLDEN’S countdown to the launch of the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray remains on track, despite a month-long strike by American auto workers that threatens to delay the start of production of the eighth-generation sportscar.

 

Left-hand-drive Corvette coupe production is due to start in December, followed by convertible production in the first quarter of next year.

 

US reports suggest General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union are getting closer to deal to end the strike that started in September and has cost GM at least $US2 billion ($A2.97b) in lost production and other costs.

 

If a deal can be struck within the next week, there is still a chance that Chevrolet’s Bowling Green factory in Kentucky might yet make the deadline for the changeover from the current C7 Corvette to the all-new mid-engine C8 model by Christmas.

 

Even if the production start is delayed until January, there appears to be plenty of time to make up for lost production of LHD variants before the RHD production is due to start.

 

Although RHD production has been confirmed by GM, it has not said when it will start. However, we expect it to be some time in the second half of 2020, probably the last quarter.

 

Holden is yet to confirm its launch program for the Corvette, but GoAuto expects an announcement within the next few months, potentially opening up the order book for the most expensive and desirable GM product ever offered in this country.

 

RHD markets such as Australia might typically be expected to trail LHD markets by about a year in launching such US-sourced niche models, meaning Australian customers might expect delivery in late 2020 or early 2021.

 

The new Chevrolet Corvette – the first mid-engine supercar from the American brand – is the most anticipated model in years at Holden where it will return the Australian GM subsidiary to the V8 market and provide a shot in the arm for the struggling brand.

 

The new world-class Corvette is more than just a fresh halo model for Holden – it also has deep roots in Australian engineering which played a pivotal role in the development of the mid-engine architecture and powertrain for the ground-breaking two-door, two-seat coupe and convertible.

 

Believe it or not, a humble Holden Commodore ute was the early rolling test bed for the Corvette’s powertrain, as nothing in the GM armoury in North America could fit the bill.

 

With the ute’s front-mounted engine and transmission removed, the longitudinally mounted 6.2-litre V8 and dual-clutch transmission was shoehorned into the vehicle behind the cabin, driving the rear wheels.

 

To simulate the aerodynamic downforce of the Corvette’s body, a huge wing was mounted over the rear.

 

GoAuto understands the mighty ‘mule’ was tested at both Holden’s Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria – a major centre for GM powertrain calibration – and GM’s proving ground in Michigan to test the powertrain before hand-built Corvette prototypes became available.

 

In Stingray form, the Corvette’s LS2 V8 produces 369kW of power at 6450rpm and 637Nm of torque at 5150rpm (with the optional performance exhaust system equipped), but much more can be expected to from hotter versions – possibly supercharged – that will be rolled out of the course of the Corvette’s model life.

 

In Australia, the Corvette will retain the Chevrolet bow-tie badge rather than the Holden lion.


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