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Build-Your-Own 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Engine Program Has a Catch

Just the Facts:
  • Not all 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 buyers will be able to participate in GM's build-your-own engine experience, Edmunds has learned.
  • Two GM plants will build the new LT4 supercharged V8 engine in the Corvette Z06, but only one plant will allow buyers to assemble their engine.
  • The previous program was open to all Z06 buyers.

BOWLING GREEN, Kentucky — Some buyers of the 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06, those enthusiasts who want to assist with the hand-built assembly of the new LT4 supercharged V8 that will sit under the hood of their new 'Vette, may be disappointed, Edmunds has learned. Not all Z06 buyers will be able to participate in Corvette's build-your-own engine experience when it kicks off next year.

Unlike the previous build-your-own engine program, which dedicated one engine facility to General Motors' performance engines and was open to all Z06 buyers, the 650-horsepower 6.2-liter V8 will be assembled in two new locations: the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, Kentucky and GM's engine-assembly plant in Tonawanda, New York.

However, only the Bowling Green plant will offer some Z06 buyers the opportunity to get their hands dirty and help build their engine.

"This is where it gets tricky," Monte Doran, a Chevrolet spokesman, told Edmunds. "It depends on if your engine is going to be built in Bowling Green or Tonawanda."

GM has not determined what percentage of LT4 V8 production will be sourced in Kentucky.

Doran added: "We plan on doing that program for the seventh-generation cars. (But) we have not quite worked out all the details. How will the process work? How much does it cost? How do the functions of that experience work for the customer?"

The build-your-own engine experience had been a $5,800 option on the previous-generation Corvette Z06 and ZR1 that buyers checked off when they ordered a car.

A GM technician helped the buyer hand-build their engine during an eight-hour process at GM's Performance Build Center in Wixom, Michigan. The names of the GM technician and the Corvette owner were affixed to the engine. However, GM closed the facility and moved Corvette Z06 engine production to the Kentucky and New York sites.

Beginning in early 2015, the Bowling Green plant tour will include LT4 V8s being hand-assembled, in addition to Corvette assembly. Corvette Z06 sales will start early in 2015.

"If you take the tour, you will be able to see Z06 engines being assembled — not for every Z06, but for several of them," Doran said. "It kind of adds to the experience in Bowling Green. You can see basically the assembly of almost all of the major parts of the car under one roof."

Chevrolet has yet to determine the timetable for selected buyers to participate in the LT4 engine assembly experience, but it will be some time in 2015, he said.

Doran expects the Z06 take-rate to rise because of the addition of an automatic transmission and a convertible. The previous-generation Z06 was only available as a coupe and accounted for about 5 percent of all Corvette sales, he said. Chevrolet sold about 17,300 Corvettes last year, with Z06 sales of about 870 vehicles.

For the first time since 1963, the Z06 is also offered in coupe and convertible models.

Edmunds says: Waiting to the last minute to order a 2015 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06 might make the build-your-own engine experience impossible.

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