Chevrolet Fulfills 1 Millionth Corvette Restoration Pledge

Sinkhole-damaged milestone returns to National Corvette Museum

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – 09.03.2015 – After more than four months and 1,200 man-hours of painstaking craftsmanship, restoration of the milestone 1 millionth Corvette – a white 1992 convertible – is complete.

It was unveiled today at the National Corvette Museum, where it returns as part of the permanent exhibit. The car was damaged on Feb. 12, 2014, when it and seven other rare Corvettes tumbled into a sinkhole that opened beneath the museum’s Skydome area.

Chevrolet pledged to restore it.

“We felt it was important to restore this extremely significant car in Corvette’s long, storied history,” said Mark Reuss, General Motors executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “When we disassembled it, we found that each employee involved in building it had signed a part of the car, which was fantastic and moving to see. It brought the history to life, and reinforced the importance of the project.”

After recovery from the sinkhole, the 1 millionth Corvette was moved from the museum to the Design Center on GM’s Technical Center campus in Warren, Mich., for restoration. Approximately 30 craftspeople and technicians from GM Design’s Mechanical Assembly group, along with GM Service Operations, took on the project.  Mechanical Assembly and the Fabrication Shops at GM Design build concept vehicles and maintain GM’s historic vehicle collection.

“As the one and only 1 millionth Corvette, its preservation was important to us as the designers of the vehicle – and as Corvette enthusiasts,” said Ed Welburn, vice president of GM Global Design. “The damage was significant in many ways; however we have one of the most highly skilled specialty shops and team of people in the industry, so they were fully prepared to take on the challenge.”

Despite extensive damage, the team, represented by UAW locals 160 and 1869, vowed to preserve and repair as many original components as possible – a decision that involved posterity as much as history. That’s because under the skin, the 1 millionth Corvette carried all those signatures from the Bowling Green Assembly workers who built the car.

Only two signed components couldn’t be saved, so the team had the autographs scanned, reproduced as transfers and placed on the replacement parts.

“We went to great lengths to preserve every autograph,” said David Bolognino, director of GM Global Design Fabrication Operations. “In the end, we saved every one of them, which was an unexpected and important element to the restoration.”

One component with a single signature from Bowling Green Assembly employee Angela Lamb was too damaged to save or even accurately scan for her autograph. Chevrolet worked with the National Corvette Museum to secure a new signature from Lamb on the replacement part, so the 1-millionth Corvette will be historically accurate down to the last signature.

Among the parts replaced were the hood, front fascia and the lower panels between the front wheels and doors, as well as a number of ancillary supporting components under the hood. The replacements came from a vehicle of the same vintage and color, ensuring authenticity of the parts and materials involved with the restoration.

A few other components, such as the rear fascia and front exhaust system, would have probably been replaced in almost any other restoration project, but the team repaired them because they were also covered in signatures.

Additional highlights from the restoration:

  • The front sub-frame was damaged in the fall into the sinkhole and required straightening
  • The wheels were damaged, but reconditioned, with the original Goodyear Eagle GS-C tires
  • Rather than replace the scuffed and scratched pad on the instrument panel, its soft cover was carefully removed and replaced to preserve the employee-signed structure beneath it
  • The red leather seats, featuring one-off “1,000,000th Corvette” embroidery on the headrests were damaged but deemed irreplaceable, so they were restored, including a few replacement patches of carefully matched hide
  • The 5.7L LT1 engine, transmission and other drivetrain components were inspected and found to be damage-free

Surprisingly, the one component the team didn’t have to replace was the crushed windshield header. When the car first rolled into the shop, an overhead crane was used to raise it enough to make the car drivable, but the frame pulled up surprisingly close to the original position, encouraging the team to save it.

“The header restoration was a wonderful surprise for what everyone assumed would be the toughest aspect of the restoration,” said Bolognino. “With access to the original specifications, we got it spot-on – and even the new windshield glass dropped in perfectly.”

The final touch was replacing the unique “1,000,000th” windshield banner it wore when it rolled off the assembly line 23 years ago. The computer graphic file used for the original was still available, allowing creation of an identical banner.

The 1 millionth Corvette is the second sinkhole-damaged Corvette that Chevrolet has restored. The first, a 2009 Corvette ZR1 prototype known as the Blue Devil, was only lightly damaged and was returned to its original condition last fall. The National Corvette Museum will oversee the restoration of a third car, a 1962 Corvette.

The other five Corvettes swallowed by the sinkhole will remain in their as-recovered state to preserve the historical significance of the cars. They will become part of a future sinkhole-themed display at the museum.

FAST FACT: The 1 Millionth Corvette rolled off the assembly line as a convertible with a white exterior and a red interior – just like the first Corvette produced in 1953.

Chevy Malibu Milestone: 10 Million Customers Served

Venerable sedan’s 51-year legacy strongest in U.S., China and Korea

DETROIT – Fifty-one years after it was introduced as Chevrolet’s first midsize car, production of the venerable Malibu sedan has crossed the 10-million mark.

Chevrolet celebrated the sales achievement today for the global sedan in the United States, China and Korea, which collectively account for more than 90 percent of sales. The Malibu is sold in more than 25 markets around the world.

“The Chevy Malibu joins an exclusive club of vehicles that have achieved this extraordinary milestone and we acknowledge it today by honoring the common thread linking every one produced: The customer,” said Alan Batey, president, global Chevrolet. “Some people are buying their very first Malibu today and others may have driven a Malibu from a different generation as their first car. It is a car that has resonated with customers for more than half a century.”

Chevrolet’s interaction with customers has evolved since the Malibu was introduced in 1964. Back then, an owner’s manual and a personal relationship with the dealer defined conventional customer service. By the 1990s, a toll-free line to call centers provided answers to many customer questions.

Today, customers can communicate with Chevrolet any time of day or night all around the world through in-vehicle technologies such as OnStar and social media, where teams of specialists complement the ownership experience with support and information.

“The immediacy of socially driven technologies is fundamentally changing ownership experiences and what owners expect from the manufacturer,” said Batey. “It’s a whole new world of customer interaction and Chevrolet is working hard to lead the way.”

Malibu’s 10-millionth milestone comes as the all-new 2016 Chevy Malibu enters production. The ninth-generation sedan is completely restyled and is the most fuel-efficient, connected and technologically advanced Malibu ever – and many of its new and enhanced features, like its Teen Driver system which encourages safe driving habits for teens, were influenced by the voice of customers.

Longer and lighter, the new Chevy Malibu offers more interior space. Its wheelbase has been stretched nearly four inches (101 mm), and it is nearly 300 pounds (136 kg) lighter than the previous model.

The 2016 Malibu reaches an exceptional level of fuel efficiency with an all-new, available hybrid powertrain that uses technology from the Chevrolet Volt. It helps offer a General Motors-estimated 48 mpg city, 45 mpg highway – and 47 mpg combined, unsurpassed in the segment.

The Malibu’s standard 1.5L turbo powertrain is projected to offer 37 mpg highway. It also features a fuel-saving stop/start technology that enhances efficiency in stop-and-go driving.

Additional features include new Chevrolet MyLink with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility; and the all-new Teen Driver feature, which allows parents to view their kids’ driving statistics, such as maximum speed, warning alerts and more.

Malibu through the years

Named after the California city famous for its beaches, the 1964 Chevrolet Malibu was the top-line model of an all-new vehicle line touted as a premium choice for families that needed space and efficiency for long commutes.

Chevrolet called the Malibu an “intermediate” car – positioned between the full-size series and the compact Chevy II, It represented the birth of the mainstream midsize segment, which has grown to be the highest-volume segment in the industry. Customers snapped up more than 370,000 in the first year from a lineup that also included the entry-level 300 and Chevelle models, and a range of body styles that included coupes, sedans, wagons and convertibles. The lineup also included the Malibu SS muscle car.

Sales of Chevy’s upstart intermediate range topped 503,000 by 1969 – with the popular Malibu two-door sport coupe accounting for 300,000 of them.

Malibu rolled through the 1970s as one of the best-selling cars of the decade. It was retired in 1983, after its fourth generation. It returned in 1997 as a modern, front-drive sedan and was named Motor Trend Car of the Year. In the nearly 20 years since, it has evolved and offers the latest in efficiency-enhancing technologies, safety features and, more recently, the connectivity features that have become increasingly important to customers.

The 2016 Malibu is built at the GM Fairfax Assembly facility, in Kansas City, Kan.

Chevy Tahoe is Top Dog Among K-9 Units

DETROIT – 08.28.2015 – The ability to take the heat off hard-working police dogs helps make the Chevy Tahoe Police Patrol Vehicle (PPV) the country’s most popular police vehicle for K-9 units.

The roomy interior and advanced climate control system are ideal for all three components of a K-9 unit: the police officer, the police dog, and the vehicle they travel in.

“Our K-9s live with our deputies and their families. They are on duty with our deputies every day – responding to calls for service, training, and creating an unbreakable bond,” said Oakland County (Mich.) Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard. “The K-9 Unit is an invaluable tool that serves our community and the Tahoe PPV is an important part of our operation.”

Because dogs are vulnerable to heat, the Tahoe PPV has more heating and cooling vents in the vehicle’s third-row area than any other police utility vehicle. In the Tahoe PPV, the seat is eliminated to make room for the K-9 unit’s kennel. This allows the industry’s only third-row upper and lower air vents to circulate cooled air into the back of the vehicle.

“Heat exhaustion is one of the top killers of police dogs,” said Michael Werges, sergeant-at-arms, North American Police Dog Association.

Unlike humans, dogs aren’t covered in skin that allows them to sweat when temperatures get too high. The tiny pads of exposed skin on the bottom of their paws are the only way they can remove heat.

There have been a few instances this summer of police dog fatalities because of extreme heat.

“It’s imperative to police agencies that K-9 vehicles are equipped with an air conditioning system that can keep the dog’s entire body cool, from head to toe,”  said Werges.

In addition to K-9 use, state and local municipalities and the federal government use the Tahoe PPV for patrol, first response, tactical, HAZMAT and Border Patrol.