Corvette's Paint Shop Scores a Multi-Million-Dollar Sheen

May 21, 2015
The upgrade is part of $439 million in investments that GM announced it will make at the Bowling Green, Ky., plant. 

The paint shop that produces the testosterone-inducing palette of Torch Red, Shark Gray Metallic and Velocity Yellow will be getting some beefcake of its own in the coming months.

Chevrolet announced today that in the next two years, it will rebuild and expand the Corvette paint facility in Bowling Green, Ky. to almost half the size of the entire current Corvette production facility. The paint shop upgrade is part of $439 million in investments that GM plans to make in the plant, including upgrades to the shipyard and utilities. 

When finished, according to a Chevrolet press release, the new 450,000 square-foot paint shop will have substantial technology upgrades including:

  • FANUC robots with Versa-bell 3 electrostatic applicators to add some extra-smoothness to the Stingray’s sheen  and conserve 25 percent of the paint used.
  • LED lights in the process decks to improve visual inspection and save energy
  • Dry Scrubber Booth Technology with Limestone Handling to eliminate sludge water and waste
  • Baking ovens with higher efficiency that use less energy and sharpen the paint finish

Construction is expected to begin this summer. The 150 paint shop jobs will be retained with the upgrade, the press release stated.

Corvette production at Bowling Green began in 1981, in a renovated former Chrysler air-conditioning unit factory. The plant was gutted in 1996 and redesigned as a manufacturing facility for the fifth-generation Corvette.

In 2011, GM launched a $131 million investment in the plant to support production of the Corvette Stingray, adding about 250 jobs. Upgrades in 2012 and 2013 included a $52 million body shop to build the aluminum frame in-house for the first time. In 2013, GM relocated its Performance Build Center from Michigan to the Bowling Green plant,, which now builds the Camaro Z/38 and Corvette Z06 engines.

This story was updated on May 22, 2015 with new information on overall plant improvements.

About the Author

Laura Putre | Senior Editor, IndustryWeek

I work with IndustryWeek's contributors and report on leadership and the automotive industry as they relate to manufacturing. Got a story idea? Reach out to me at [email protected]


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