By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The new 2014 Corvette’s state-of-the-art engine is set to be built at Tonawanda plant starting early next year.
”We have done pretty much bread and butter engines for a while,” Mary Ann Brown, plant communications manager, said. “We haven’t done a Corvette engine in a long, long time ... . We are very excited.”
The plant was recently renovated to support the building of the Corvette Lt1 type of engine — GM’s Generation 5 of small block engines.
GM announced a $400 million expansion in the plant in 2010 for the renovations, which included ripping out old equipment and adding new technology in addition to laying down new concrete on the factory floor.
The building of the Gen 5 engines is set to create more than 710 jobs at the Tonawanda plant. According to Brown, 75 people from other GM plants in Lockport and Rochester have been brought in for the project in the past month.
”And we brought back 130 people from layoffs when the program started up,” she said. “No one is currently laid off.”
The 2014 Corvette will be the most powerful standard Corvette to date — with a preliminary output of 450 horsepower.
“The Holy Grail for developing a performance car is delivering greater performance and more power with greater fuel economy and that’s what we’ve achieved,” Tadge Juechter, Corvette chief engineer said. “By leveraging technology, we are able to get more out of every drop of gasoline and because of that we expect the new Corvette will be the most fuel-efficient 450 horsepower car on the market.”
It will also be the quickest, with the capability to go from 0 to 60 mph in just four seconds.
Most importantly, it will also be the most fuel-efficient Corvette and will exceed the 2013 EPA-estimated 26 miles per gallon on the highway.
”And that’s really good for a Corvette,” Brown said.
The Tonawanda plant also built the first small block V-A Corvette, which debuted in 1955 and was rated at 195 horsepower. Five years later, V-8 power helped the Corvette secure its first racing victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The 2014 Corvette is set to be unveiled in January before the Detroit Auto Show, and assembly of the engine will begin in Tonawanda in the first quarter of 2013.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.