Workers at the General Motors plant in Kentucky that assembles Corvettes have voted to authorize a strike over lingering safety concerns. But a local union leader says he hopes the dispute can be resolved without a walkout.
Union members voted to give union leaders the green light to call a strike if necessary. About 800 union workers were eligible to cast ballots.
Eldon Renaud, president of United Auto Workers Local 2164, says the issues involved include safety and quality control.
He says there have been several "near misses" that could have led to serious injuries for assembly line workers at the Bowling Green plant.
Renaud says he hopes the strike-authorization vote leads to stepped up negotiations.
The plant says worker safety and quality of its products are at the forefront of every decision. It says it's confident management and the union can work together.
General Motors says it will oversee the restoration process for the eight sports cars that fell into a giant sinkhole Wednesday morning at the Corvette Museum. Bowling Green Corvette plant manager Jeff LaMarche says they won’t know the exact condition of the cars until they’re recovered.
“We know that these cars represent significant milestones – not just in our history in Chevrolet and General Motors but also in the automotive history. And nobody really has a better understanding of their significance and what it takes to properly restore these than the engineers and designers at Chevrolet where they were developed," said LaMarche.
The lead engineer for the reconstruction project says it will take 2-3 weeks to stabilize the ground around the sinkhole. After that, he says it will take 4-6 days to remove the cars. Museum officials say repairs will start Friday and they hope to have everything complete by August when the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary.
A Bowling Green-built auto continues its streak of awards.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, made at the General Motors plant in Warren County, has been named North American Car of the Year at the North American International Auto Show.
The Stingray has already won best car of the year honors from Automobile and Autoweek magazines.
The press preview days for the North American International Auto Show kick off with the awards. The announcements came Monday morning at Cobo Center in Detroit.
The truck of the year winner is the Chevrolet Silverado.
The Chevy sweep came after General Motors made the most appearances on this year’s list finalists. Others included the Cadillac CTS and Mazda3. Truck/utility finalists included the Acura MDX and Jeep Cherokee.
Forty-eight automotive journalists vote on winners from the list of finalists.
The Chevrolet Corvette Stingray is driving home a second car of the year award.
The vehicle manufactured at the Bowling Green General Motors plant has been named Autoweek's Best Car for 2014. Automobile magazine last month gave similar honors to the Stingray.
"The thing about the Corvette is that it's always been a good sports car for the money. But I can tell you that it's really the best sports car you can buy right now regardless of price," said Wes Raynal, editor of Autoweek.
Raynal says the new Corvette has a more comfortable and better-built interior than previous versions of the vehicle. He believes the Stingray will continue the Corvette's image as an iconic car.
"I don't know if you've ever seen that poster of the '63 Stingray, and the tagline is something like, 'They don't write songs about Volvos,'" Raynal told WKU Public Radio. "It's part of America. It's like Elvis, and Bruce Springsteen, and Coca-Cola, and Levi's."
Officials from the G.M. Foundation in Detroit were at the Bowling Green Assembly Plant Wednesday to hand out $75,000 in grants to eleven local non-profit agencies. Plant Manager Dave Tatman also announced plant tours will start up again in a couple of weeks after being canceled for nearly a year.
The groups that will share in the grant money include:
* Barren River Area Safe Space, Inc. (BRASS) for emergency assistance, resources and programs for regional domestic violence and homeless shelter residents.
General Motors is enhancing its footprint in Bowling Green. Officials gathered at the Corvette plant Wednesday to announce a $3.5 million investment. The automaker is moving its performance built center from Michigan to Bowling Green.
The center specializes in building high performance engines. GM Manufacturing Manager Arvin Jones says the move is expected to create or retain 20 jobs.
“We’re working out the details with the international union and ourselves on how we’re going to bring those folks down, but they have the right to follow the work," said Jones.
Kentucky's automotive industry had more than a million vehicles roll off their lines in 2012 for the first time since 2007.
Kentucky ranks fourth in the nation for total light vehicle production, third in the production of cars and fourth for light trucks. One out of every ten light vehicles produced in the United States in 2012 was made in Kentucky. Kentucky is home to nearly 450 motor vehicle related facilities employing almost 75,000 people. In the last two years, 135 auto industry location or expansion announcements were made representing 7,200 new jobs and nearly $1.8 billion in new capital investments.
Governor Steve Beshear attended the Detroit Auto Show earlier this month for the unveiling of the 2014 Corvette Stingray which is made in Bowling Green. General Motors is in the process of a $131 million plant transformation to the Bowling Green plant.
The next generation Corvette is no longer a secret. With much fanfare, General Motors unveiled a revamped Corvette in Detroit Sunday night, the first new version of the iconic sports car in nine years.
"This car is all new from the ground up and it's absolutely the best performance car we know how to engineer and build," said General Motors North America President Mark Reuss. "I will eagerly put this car up against any of the top performance cars in the world. In terms of design, technology, and performance, this car is second to none."
The 2014 model, so new that it shares only two parts with the current model, picks up cues from the 1963 Stingray. It's described as the most powerful standard model ever, but GM promises it will be the most fuel-efficient Corvette. At the unveiling in Detroit, Reuss offered kudos to the Bowling Green plant for bringing the car the life.
"A few weeks ago we traveled to Bowling Green and drove the first cars made at the plant. Their commitment made this Corvette worthy of the Stingray name once again," praised Reuss.
This weekend has been a long time coming for Corvette enthusiasts. General Motors will unveil the next generation car on Sunday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The reveal couldn't be more exciting for Dave Tatman, manager of the Bowling Green GM plant where the new model will be produced.
"We've had people from the Bowling Green assembly plant traveling to Detroit for almost three years now working with engineers in Detroit side by side on this car," says Tatman.
The 2014 Corvette will go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than four seconds, and Tatman says the car is literally all new.
General Motors plans to idle Corvette production in Bowling Green for six months to prepare for the next generation of the iconic sports car. The automaker laid out its schedule for revamping its assembly plant in Warren County for the all-new 2014 model.