With a strong commitment to quality and excellence, the Bowling Green team has continued the Corvette tradition since 1981. Recently garnering such awards as J.D. Power's "Best in Segment" for two years running, the Corvette enters its 50th year still in its prime. The Corvette Plant itself won the Silver Award from J.D. Power, joining two other General Motors plants as the top three in North America. Consistently striving to improve upon perfection, the Bowling Green plant is proud to be the world's only "Home of the Corvette."
Corvette didn't always call Kentucky "home," however. In 1953, the first 300 were built by hand in Flint, Michigan. The following year production moved to St. Louis, Missouri.
In June of 1981, Corvette production transferred from St. Louis to Bowling Green, Kentucky. Previously an industrial air-conditioning unit factory, the building was completely renovated into a modern automotive facility twice the size of the previous structure.
Through a contractual agreement between General Motors and the UAW, a skilled workforce of about 900 production employees transferred in from the St. Louis plant. The State of Kentucky generously allotted training money for the orientation of new hires and transferring employees. With the help of then Governor John Y. Brown, the first Kentucky-built Corvette rolled off the Bowling Green assembly line on June 1, 1981.
At the conclusion of the 1996 production year, the entire plant was gutted to make way for a totally redesigned manufacturing facility. New technology and higher quality standards were key in preparing the facility for the fifth generation Corvette, which debuted in 1997.
The Bowling Green plant has often made Corvette history. Three Bowling Green Corvettes have paced the Indianapolis 500, and two models of the car have been named Motor Trend Magazine's "Car of the Year." Corvette fans celebrated when the one-millionth Corvette drove off the Bowling Green line on July 2, 1992. The Corvette's upcoming 50th Anniversary Celebration makes it one of the most enduring sports cars of all time.