The first Corvettes were built in 1953, and in 1981 the Bowling Green plant became the exclusive manufacturer of the iconic sports car. About 1,000 employees work here.
Kai Spande, plant manager, said the C-7, the seventh generation Corvette, was introduced in 2015.
“We have 170 cars that come off the line every day, in about 10-hour shifts,” Spande said. “So we have roughly 17 vehicles per hour that we produce.” About 40,000 Corvettes are made here each year.
Almost 50,000 people come through the facility annually on plant tours.
The plant’s Performance Build Center was started in March 2014. Here, the Corvette’s 650 horsepower engine is built. “That is the strongest engine that I’m aware of that GM has on the market right now,” said Ben Walden, engine builder.
The engine is put together piece by piece over three hours. “We take the heart of the beast, you might say, and build the beast,” said Walden.
The center is unique in that customers who custom-order Corvettes can help build the engines on Customer Build Day.
“There’s no other automaker that allows the customer to come in and put their hands on an engine that’s going to be such a high performance engine and go into a vehicle,” said Spande.
Of all the factories where he has worked, Spande said the workforce here is notable for its enthusiastic dedication to the product. Walden agreed. “We build dreams here at the Corvette plant,” he said.
This segment is part of Kentucky Life episode #2107, which originally aired on February 13, 2016. Watch the full episode.