General Motors said today it will spend $131 million to prepare its Bowling Green, Ky., plant to build the next-generation Corvette.
GM said assembly of the current-generation Corvette will continue at the plant for at least the next two model years, including the 2012 model that goes into production this summer. Work to prepare the plant for the next iteration will occur during that time, adding about 250 jobs.
The Corvette has been assembled at the Bowling Green plant since 1981. Nearly 400 production workers assemble the cars on a one-shift, Monday-through-Thursday schedule. The workers are represented by UAW Local 2164.
"This is a significant day for anyone who believes that America should build world-class, high-performance products," Mark Reuss, GM North America president, said in a statement. He made the announcement at the plant today alongside Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear.
The current version is the sixth generation in the Corvette's 58-year history. GM says about 50,000 visitors a year tour the plant.
GM sold 4,293 Corvettes from January through April, a 22 percent increase from the same period last year. In April, Corvette sales totaled 1,454 units, a 34 percent jump over April 2010.