Early on the morning of Wednesday, March 18, 2020, General Motors sent an email to Chevrolet dealerships around the country, telling them to immediately stop accepting orders for the 2020 Corvette. This email was quickly leaked by a member of CorvetteForum and in it, the automaker explained that 2020 orders were no longer being accepted, why 2020 orders were no longer being accepted and what the plans are for the 2021 model year.
No More 2020 Corvette Orders
Below is the content of the email sent from General Motors to Chevrolet dealerships.
“Due to an overwhelming response to the all-new 2020 Corvette and to avoid false customer expectations, it will be necessary to suspend the ability to create a sold order (SRE) beginning March 18, 2020. This does not prevent you from processing existing sold orders (SRE) within allocation, nor creating and processing a normal stock order (TRE).
Regretfully, launch timing was delayed by the six-week work stoppage that reduced the 2020 Model Year production schedule. Therefore, it is possible some of your 2020 orders, sold or stock may not be produced as planned.
Chevrolet plans to deploy 2021 Corvette Ordering Capability in Order WorkBench 30 days earlier than planned, on Thursday, May 21, 2020. The purpose in advancing the 2021 Model Year ordering is to enable you and your existing customer to create a replacement 2021 Model Year order. Further information will be forthcoming from Chevrolet regarding the handling of sold (SRE) 2020 Model Year that we will be unable to accept, and the creation of a replacement 2021 Model Year sold order.”
In other words, General Motors is not sure if they will be able to build all of the 2020 Corvettes for which they have already received orders, so as of yesterday, no new 2020 orders were being accepted by the automaker.
One Delay after Another
In the email to dealerships around the country, General Motors is citing the six-week work stoppage last year. That labor dispute-based stoppage caused production of the 2020 C8 Corvette Stingray to begin late. With an insanely popular model like the C8, that late start alone poses a problem in terms of fitting all of those units into the normal production schedule. However, there is more to this issue.
We have to keep in mind that on March 18th, it was announced that all American assembly plants from Ford, GM and FCA would be shutting down through at least the end of March. Realistically, we would be surprised if the Covid-19 downtime doesn’t extend into April, so the Bowling Green Assembly Plant is looking at two-to-six more weeks of unscheduled downtime. If the company wasn’t sure if it could build all of the 2020 Corvettes prior to this unplanned stoppage, the impact of Covid-19 may mean that Bowling Green isn’t able to produce every 2020 C8 ordered prior to Wednesday the 18th.
Some analysts believe that the national work stoppage could run on for months and if that is the case, it is unclear how GM will handle the ordered yet unbuilt 2020 Stingrays. The company can only push 2021 production back so far, so if they cannot build all of the 2020s in time, those orders will have to be commuted to the 2021 model year.
If you wanted to order a 2020 Corvette and did not, you will now have to wait until Thursday, May 21, 2020, when the order banks open for the 2021 Stingray. Production of 2021 models was slated to begin on September 1st, but right now, schedules pertaining to dates months in the future don’t bear much weight.
Patrick Rall is a professional writer and photographer with a passion for all things automotive. Patrick has been sharing his automotive expertise in automotive journalism from Detroit for more than a decade covering the Big Three. Having grown up in his father’s performance shop, he spent extensive time at the oval track and drag strip – both driving and wrenching on various types of vehicles. In addition to working as a writer, Patrick previously worked as an automotive technician before moving on to a business office position with a chain of dealerships, and this broad spectrum of experience in the industry allows him to offer a unique look on the automotive world. Follow Patrick on Youtube and Twitter.