BOWLING GREEN — General Motors will rev up engine production at the Kentucky plant that assembles Corvettes.
The automaker announced Wednesday it will build specialty, high-performance engines for the iconic sports car at its Bowling Green assembly plant, shifting the work from GM's Performance Build Center in Wixom, Mich. The transfer will add 20 jobs at the Bowling Green plant, where the work force is nearly 700.
The $3.5 million relocation to Kentucky comes on top of a $131 million investment announced in 2011 to build a new body shop and retool the Bowling Green plant for production of the next-generation Corvette. The all-new 2014 model is scheduled to reach dealers' showrooms by the third quarter of this year.
GM manufacturing manager Arvin Jones said the investments "reinforce our absolute faith in this facility and our unwavering commitment to this community."
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"This is the home of the greatest sports car on the planet," he said, drawing cheers from plant workers who filled bleachers at the pep rally-like announcement at the sprawling plant.
The relocation is slated for the first quarter of 2014. The announcement was part of a broader consolidation of GM Powertrain engineering sites.
Standard engines for Corvettes will still be made at a plant in Tonawanda, N.Y.
The Bowling Green plant is the only GM site that assembles Corvettes. The Kentucky plant currently does not make engines for the sports car.
Bowling Green plant manager Dave Tatman said it was too early to estimate how many engines will be built at the Kentucky plant.
GM said previously it planned to expand its work force by 250 jobs as part of the $131 million investment. About 150 of those jobs have been added, and the rest will be filled by summer, Tatman said after the event. The 20 jobs tied to the Performance Build Center are on top of that figure, he said.