The theory went that with 2020 Corvette production stopping and starting a number of times the convertible would have to wait until 2021. First with the UAW strike in September and then the complete shutdown of the automobile industry in March over COVID-19 fears the 2020 Corvette has had a rough time staying in production. With production at the Bowling Green, Kentucky, assembly line not cranking up until May 26, there isn’t much time left for 2020 production at all. But now Chevy says it will squeak a few convertibles into the mix starting the end of July. So there will be a 2020 Corvette convertible after all.
2020 has been an unprecedented year for all manufacturing, not just Corvette
Why the change in production plans? First, 2020 has been an unprecedented year for all manufacturing, not just autos. In a normal year, which 2020 is far from being, production changeover from one year to the next happens in August. By September the next year’s vehicles are gleaming down the assembly line.
But Chevy has decided to continue 2020 Corvette production through October. A poster on the Corvette Forum with knowledge of production scheduling says 2020 convertible production will begin at the end of July. That gives the Kentucky plant three solid months to spit out some ‘verts alongside coupes.
2020 C8 Corvette reservations closed in December 2019
That May 26 startup will be a slow process back to full production. Initially only a single shift will be run to get things in motion. But we would expect that Chevy is eyeing not only a second- but a third-shift as 2020 Corvette reservations closed in December 2019. At that point Chevy expected a full eight to nine more months of uninterrupted production.
Now that the coronavirus has altered how the assembly line workers can function production will probably take longer to complete. Besides testing protocols even before entering the assembly line there will need to be distancing measures taken. Then continuous testing, and time to safety-wash and sanitize areas that workers are in. All of this just shortens production time.
A total of about 6,000 Corvettes per month was the original estimate
Before the coronavirus entered the picture the estimate for the daily production of C8 Corvettes was about 270 vehicles per shift. There were to be two shifts for a total of 540 cars a day. Running six days a week production was to have been 1,600 per week for a total of about 6,000 Corvettes per month.
Orders for the C8 ran 74% for the coupe and 26% for the convertible. With production being pushed out so far and confounded by the shutdown we don’t know if those numbers will stay the same. Production was expected to be 40,000 so Chevy originally counted on 10,000 of those being convertibles. Of course, now maybe even Chevy doesn’t know what the final number will be?
Chevy has produced 2,695 2020 C8 Corvettes and none are convertibles
We know that Chevy has produced only 2,695 2020 C8 Corvettes so far and none of them are convertibles. There is also a large backlog of orders that need to be filled. All of this dimmed the chances we’d see a 2020 convertible. Now that looks like there will be light through the top of at least a few 2020 Corvettes.