2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 LT4 Will Be Built in Kentucky and New York
According to the Tennessean, General Motors is currently working on staffing the new high performance engine build portion of the Bowling Green Assembly Plant where all of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette fastbacks and convertibles are built. This new portion of the Kentucky production facility is already busy building the LS7 V8 that powers the Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, but as production of the 2015 Corvette Z06 ramps up, these new hires will help to build the powerful LT4 engine for the most powerful Corvette of all time. This comes as a big change, after GM built nearly all of the high performance engines for their Chevrolet and Cadillac models at the Performance Build Center in Michigan.
Bowling Green Begins to Make Engines
The Performance Build Center used to be based in a dedicated facility in Wixom Michigan, but General Motors announced the closing of the Wixom facility back in September 2013. In addition to building the high performance engines for the likes of the Camaro ZL1, the C6 Corvette Z06 and the C6 Corvette ZR1, the Wixom building also housed the Build Your Own Engine program which allowed those folks buying a high end, high performance General Motors product to actually build the engine that would power their new performance car. When the company made that announcement last fall, they explained that the Build Your Own Engine program would be moved to the Bowling Green Assembly Plant where the automaker has built every new Corvette since 1981 – but Bowling Green has never before had to build engines. Now there is a section at the Bowling Green facility dedicated to production of both the naturally aspirated LS7 V8 for the Camaro Z/28 and the supercharged LT4 V8 that will power the 2015 Corvette Z06.
The LT4 Will Be Built In New York as Well
While it was a surprise to many to learn that the activities of the Wixom Performance Build Center were moved to the Bowling Green Corvette plant – including building engines that weren’t intended for Corvette models – the bigger surprise comes in the fact that some of the LT4 engines that will power the 2015 Corvette Z06 will also be built at the Tonawanda Engine Plant in New York. Tonawanda is a massive facility that produces engines for a variety of GM vehicles including the LT1 V8 that is packed under the hood of the C7 Corvette Stingray and starting at some point, Tonawanda will also produce the LT4 engine for the C6 Corvette Z06 – although it is unclear what will determine which engines are built in Bowling Green and which are built in New York.
A key aspect of the production of the supercharged LT4 V8 is that the Wixom Performance Build Center and the new engine production area in Bowling Green build all of the engines by hand whereas Tonawanda is generally a high volume, mass production facility with less hands-on applications. For GM to build the LT4 in New York, they will need to put together a hand-build area with some of the unique tooling of the Performance Build Center that you wouldn’t find in a mass production engine facility or they will have to build the LT4 on a similar engine assembly line as the LT1 – which I find to be highly unlikely.
In any case, the hiring of the new employees at the Bowling Green plant who will be tasked with building the new supercharged LT4 engine in the same plant as the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 which will feature that engine is one of the final steps as the automaker prepares to begin building and selling the most powerful and most track capable Corvette of all time.
Source: The Tennessean