Good news for Corvette fans everywhere: GM’s Bowling Green Assembly, better known as the Chevrolet Corvette factory, is back up and running as of Tuesday, December 21st after a week-long idling prompted by this month’s deadly tornado outbreak.
In the early hours of December 11th, the devastating EF4-category tornado that tore through western Kentucky passed through the city of Bowling Green, damaging or outright destroying numerous residences and places of business. The National Corvette Museum Motorsports Park was among the damaged properties, as was GM’s nearby Corvette factory, which suffered a damaged employee entrance and a rooftop fire. Thankfully, the Kentucky tornado didn’t result in a loss of life at either the museum nor the plant.
Still, the brush with nature left GM with an extensive mess to clean up. As many as ten dozen brand-new Corvettes were destroyed by the storm and have to be scrapped, and the factory needed to be repaired before line workers could safely be brought back. To make it happen, the Detroit Free Press reports, GM scrambled to ship needed materials from its Michigan Factory ZERO plant, formerly Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly, and move equipment like construction cranes from its Spring Hill, Tennessee factory to Bowling Green, getting to work right away on the necessary repairs.
As early as Monday, December 20th, a small team of factory leaders and key personnel were brought back in to the Corvette factory to begin the factory restart, managing to build six brand-new 2022 cars, according to Corvette Blogger. Just a day later, both factory shifts were called back, representing some 1,200 line workers.
Of the 122 Corvettes lost in the tornado, many were customer-ordered cars. Those cars will need to be re-ordered by dealerships, but they will receive top build priority now that the Bowling Green Corvette factory is humming again. Corvette fans interested in the new high-revving, 670-horsepower Corvette Z06 have a longer wait ahead of them; production on that model isn’t slated to start until the summer of 2022.