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Final C6 Corvette built in Bowling Green

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 14:15:00 EST

With all of the attention given to the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray lately, you could be forgiven for thinking that it's already well along in production, yet tooling up for the new C7 has only just begun. In fact, production of the outgoing C6 generation in Bowling Green, Kentucky just halted on Thursday.
As the C6 has aged, production numbers have predictably ebbed along with demand, but this year, the addition of the 427 and 60th anniversary models resulted in an uptick in vehicles built - this, despite a model year shortened by around 25 percent to accomodate the new model changeover. The final C6 Corvette ever, No. 13,466 built this year, was a white 427 Convertible destined for the General Motors Heritage Center museum. The car's 7.0-liter V8 heart was assembled by Corvette chief engineer Tadge Juechter himself.
In total, Bowling Green pushed out 215,100 C6 Corvettes over nine years. If you're still a C6 fan at heart and are hoping to get a good deal on a phase-out model, step lively - Chevrolet reportedly had about 6,100 unsold units, which Autoweek suggests is good for around five and a half months of supply at the model's current sales rates. Given that demand will likely slacken even further as the C7 draws closer, that should be a big enough stockpile to keep dealers satisfied until 2014 Stingrays begin showing up on their forecourts in December.

Vert-A-Pac train cars kept your Chevy Vega's price in check

Fri, 01 Mar 2013 08:46:00 EST

Our apologies to those who've seen this before, but for the rest of the class, how awesome are these pictures of the Vert-A-Pac shipping system General Motors came up with to ship the Chevrolet Vega back in the 1970s? Developed along with Southern Pacific Railroad, GM was able to double the amount of Vega models it could ship by packing them into the unique storage cars vertically.
At the time, rail cars could fit 15 vehicles each, but Chevrolet was able to lower shipping costs by making it possible to ship 30 Vegas per rail car, in turn allowing the price of the Vega to remain as low as possible. Each rail car had 30 doors that would fold down so that a Vega could be strapped on, and then a forklift would come along and lift the door into place. All the cars were positioned nose down, and since they were shipped with all of their required fluids, certain aspects had to be designed specifically for this type of shipping, including an oil baffle in the engine, a special battery and even a repositioned windshield washer reservoir. See for yourself in our image gallery above.

Chevrolet donates 300 vehicles damaged by Sandy to help train first responders

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 17:45:00 EST

Super Storm Sandy took out a lot of automobiles in its path of destruction through the Northeast last October. The number surpassed 250,000 at last count, and a few of those were owned by Chevrolet - cars either sitting on dealership lots or waiting at port to be shipped off. Rendered unsellable by the water damage inflicted by Sandy, these vehicles were facing the crusher. But Chevy didn't send them there.
Instead, Chevy had a better idea: It will be donating 300 of these vehicles damaged by Sandy to help train first responders at Guardian Centers in Perry, GA. Chevy is the official automotive partner of Guardian Centers, which is an 830-acre facility that trains first responders in disaster preparedness. Junked cars are practically a consumable commodity there, where a full-size cityscape simulator gives trainees an entire urban center in which to train for all sorts of rescue operations and disaster scenarios.
Chevy says its particular vehicles will be used "in conjunction with role players for wide area searches, traffic congestion in emergency situations, counter terrorism, public order and mass casualty exercises." While grim scenarios all, we're certainly glad there are people out there preparing for the unexpected. While a zombie apocalypse isn't officially on the list of potential disasters to prepare for, when the virus hits, we'll be hot-footing it to Perry, GA to hang with these guys and gals.

More Corvette Stingray Factoids: Vanishing panel gaps and 26-mpg LT1

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 17:00:00 EST

During January's Detroit Auto Show, we managed a longer than expected wandering tag-team interview with C7 Corvette chief engineering exec Tadge Juechter (pictured above), and LT1 engine boss Jordan Lee (pictured below). They are, quite honestly, two of the very nicest bigshot lads to ever walk the engineering corridors of an American manufacturer. Both are enthralled by what they're doing for a day job. So are we.
We've followed the pre-sale anticipation for the Chevrolet C7 Corvette Stingray like an Oreck vacuum yanking every speck of dirt from a well-trampled carpet. Everything is reportable and contains a grain of further knowledge about this dramatically important and cheered-for car, as it continues to be pressured into representing all that is superior about the American dream. The Corvette wears one heavy cloak.
So, most of what was talked about has been expertly reported already right here on Autoblog. But, looking through our notes again, both Jeuchter and Lee added facts to the buzzing mix.

Why the Corvette is Chevrolet's billion-dollar baby

Thu, 28 Feb 2013 09:59:00 EST

Edmunds has worked up a piece that tries to figure out just how much the global Chevrolet Corvette economy is worth, a spitballed guesstimate putting the number at more than $2.5 billion with the proviso that the number is probably low. It starts by taking Corvette's new car sales of 14,132 units last year, which would equate to $714,725,900 (including destination) assuming ever car sold was a base coupe with no options. In the final tally, a little extra padding gets that number up to $750,000,000.
But that's not all. Consider this: Many of the almost 1.4 million Corvettes produced over the model's history are still on the road. There are new parts being produced and aftermarket companies like Mid-America Motorworks deaing business, that single Illinois company doing more than $40 million a year in sales. There are the Corvette events large and small, restorers who do nothing but Corvettes, salvage yards that deal only in used Corvette parts and the Corvette magazines where owners find all this stuff.
And then there are the Corvette-themed tchotchkes, every single one of which provides a tiny contribution to the huge licensing royalties that General Motors collects every year. The article admits there's no way to come to an accurate number, but it just goes to show how valuable one specific model can be to a company.

Hot Wheels' Twitter-enabled vending machine coughs up free Camaro diecasts

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 19:29:00 EST

There are still plenty of companies that haven't gotten the whole social media thing down pat yet, but Hot Wheels isn't one of them. During the recent Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, Hot Wheels created a lot of buzz for itself by using a vending machine filled with Chevrolet Camaro models, but instead of money to get the cars, show attendees just had to use Twitter.
To get the free car, people were asked to send a tweet to Hot Wheels Canada saying what they liked about the new Hot Wheels Edition Camaro, and including the #ChevyCIAS hashtag. This seemed to be a popular marketing tool, too, as AdWeek reports that the @HotWheelsCanada account more than tripled in followers during the course of the 10-day show. Looking ahead, this could open up even more innovative marketing possibilities using social media.
Check out the video posted below to watch how it works, and while the auto show has ended and the free-car giveaway has too, we're almost certain that some of the 1,500 freebies will make their way onto eBay.

Chevrolet planning low-cost Corvette under Stingray?

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 13:31:00 EST

If you're burnt out on musings about the Chevrolet Corvette, you'll want to go ahead and skip this post. Motor Trend reports General Motors is hard at work on a low-cost version of the seventh-generation sports car for 2015. Rumored to be called the Corvette Coupe, the car will forgo the Stingray and skip the 450-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 engine in favor of a 5.3-liter V8 with under 400 ponies. If you're keeping track, that's a shade of the same engine found behind the headlights of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.
The report also suggests the Coupe will receive a number of aesthetic tweaks to separate it from the Stingray, including different front and rear fascias as well as new front fenders and a rear diffuser. Motor Trend says the point of all this is to cut the car's price tag, which means we may see a Corvette on showroom floors for less than $50,000 if this car comes to fruition.

Chevy to show redesigned Captiva in Geneva, will it come to US rental lots?

Wed, 27 Feb 2013 08:46:00 EST

Unless you're renting a car or driving through Orlando, Florida (the rental car capital of the US), you'll probably never see a Chevrolet Captiva - the rebadged, fleet-only version of the old Saturn Vue - on our roads, but this crossover is popular in many other parts of the world. As such, Chevrolet announced that the Captiva will be getting an update for 2013, which will be unveiled next week at the Geneva Motor Show.
Coming off a pretty extensive refresh in 2011, the 2013 model year will bring even more changes to the Captiva like LED taillights, new 18-inch wheels and revised fascias with a new grille and fog lights up front and inset chrome exhaust outlets at the rear. New interior features include heated rear seats, dual-zone climate control as well as available options on some of the upper trim levels such as leather seating and keyless entry and start. We have yet to hear back from Chevrolet as to whether or not the updated Captiva will be making its way to a rental lot near you, as the model is only available in the US to fleet buyers.
Alongside the updated Captiva, Chevy is also showing off its new Trax in Europe, where the subcompact crossover will go on sale this spring. GM's press release for these two Geneva-bound models is posted below.

Why Cadillac thinks it needs to succeed in Europe to sell cars elsewhere

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 10:59:00 EST

Ward's Auto has taken an interesting look at the renewed focus General Motors is showing towards Cadillac in Europe. Susan Docherty, president and managing director of Chevrolet and Cadillac in Europe (pictured), says in order for the luxury brand to thrive in China, it first needs to succeed in the old country. The reason? Chinese buyers look to Europe for cues as to what's deemed worthy of the term "luxury." There are hurdles to the plan, however. In addition to the fact that the EU is flooded with high-end nameplates, GM doesn't necessarily have the distribution network in place to put buyers behind the wheel.
Combine that with persistent economic woes and Cadillac's checkered past marred by a lack of diesel engine options and a bankrupt distributor, and the road ahead for the brand looks like less of an uphill climb and more like a straight-up cliff face. But Docherty is optimistic and says she has a plan for the brand. We recommend heading over to Ward's for a closer look at the full read.

Who sold the most heavy-duty pickups in 2012? PickupTrucks.com investigates

Tue, 26 Feb 2013 08:44:00 EST

Domestic manufacturers enjoyed a good year for heavy-duty pickup sales in 2012. PickupTrucks.com has taken a close look at exactly how those sales broke down between each manufacturer and between three-quarter and one-ton pickups. Ford sold some 67,786 F-250 Super Duty models last year with the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD falling just behind at 56,359 units. The Ram 2500 HD came in third at 41,918, while the GMC Sierra 2500 HD earned itself fourth place with 27,616 deliveries. While Ford held onto the top spot in the one-ton market, Ram easily nailed down second place by selling more 3500 HD models last year than General Motors sold Silverado 3500 HD and Sierra 3500 HD trucks combined.
So, did GM manage to sell more trucks than Ford with its two brands? Very nearly. Ford sold a total of 119,338 heavy-duty pickups to GM's 111,555. Ram, meanwhile, moved a distant 77,583. But perhaps more interesting is the diesel take rate in this segment. PickupTrucks.com says 80 percent of all domestic one-ton trucks roll from the dealer lot with a turbo-diesel under the hood. Head over to the site for a closer look at the breakdown.