If you’re waiting for the delivery of the new mid-engine Corvette Stingray you ordered, keep waiting. Your car might not be coming until next year.
“We are not going to build all of the 2020 orders,” GM spokesman Kevin Kelly announced, adding that GM would work with affected customers to offer a 2021 option.
Blame it on the coronavirus pandemic causing GM to shut down its U.S. plants for nearly seven weeks. Then, there are subsequent parts supplier complications too, Kelly said. The complexity of ramping up production prevents GM from even guessing how many of the sports cars it will be able to build this year.
Just as the company was shutting down production, demand skyrocketed. The company sold 3,820 Corvettes in January through March, Kelly said. By the end of April, there were a total of 20,181 orders.
“We’ve had an enormous demand for this vehicle, and we had that work stoppage and we have suppliers trying to come up to speed too,” Kelly said. “The plant is still coming up from COVID. We still haven’t brought up the second shift yet, so we’re still ramping up.”
To enthusiasts, the car already is legendary. It is the first mid-engine production car in Corvette history, but Chevrolet engineers and designers have talked about making a mid-engine ’Vette since at least 1960.
It’s won nearly every major new car award since it debuted last year. In January, Corvette collector and Virginia car dealer Rick Hendrick paid $3 million at a Barrett-Jackson auction for the first one to roll off the line.
In announcing that some orders will be pushed into next year, GM promised that the 2021 model won’t have a price increase. The base price remains $59,995, Kelly said. The convertible version will hold at $67,495.
GM said customers can start ordering the 2021 cars in a few weeks. That’s also a change of plans. Initially, GM had said it would start taking the 2021 orders in May.
“Due to the plant being down for two months, we’re adjusting that timing to late July,” said Tadge Juechter, executive chief engineer for the Corvette.
He also said that GM will continue to build the 2020 Corvette through the fall, an extension of what it originally had planned. The company declined to specify the exact number of models it expects to build.
The car is built at GM’s plant in Bowling Green, Ky. Before the COVID-19 shutdown, the plant had two shifts that produced a total of 180 cars a day. Currently there is one shift that is building 60 to 90 cars a day.
Kelly said the delay is typical of a ramp-up after a shutdown.
“We are unaware of any production target misses and are attaining the production output set for the team at Bowling Green as we continue to ramp up after the COVID-19 shutdown,” he said.
Suppliers are facing the same situation, he said.
“We work hand-in-hand with those guys and they know everything we’re doing,” said Michael Kvicala, marketing specialist at Tremec, a transmission manufacturer. “We’re hitting our quantities that they were requesting.”
Kelly could not say when GM expects to add a second shift at the plant.
“You don’t just bring both shifts back up when the production was down,” he said. “You have to ramp up. We’re ramping up as we get the suppliers online and everyone online.”