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Deliveries By X-Mas? I think so!!!

Customer Z06's were initially stated to be received approximately by the end of this year. This timetable was corroborated last week by Tadge Juechter in "cars_revs_daily," when that media reported "as soon as December." Thinking GM is giving themselves extra time, that the first customers, behind Rick Hendrick's VIN 001, will see their Z06 maybe a week before or during Christmas week.

What is probably going to happen between November 3rd and the end of the year? And, why I believe that the first Z06's going for an extended train ride will not be therefore receiving theirs until mid-January.

As with every new model, there is slow ramp up, i.e., the rate at which the Z06's will be interspersed with StingRays, will be progressive, and will start intermittently . If, and we as of yet do not know the long term planned integration rate (4 Z06's of the 18 Corvettes per hour or ???), the Z06's will probably, initially, be integrated at a rate of just a few per hour. However, arguing against that usual slow ramp up, I observed on April 24th, four Z06's go down the line back to back, so unlike convertibles which can not go back to back, Z06's clearly can. (Unfortunately, next day, saw two of them, again not customer cars, in the "correction area.")

Having worked on an car assembly line (a while ago), know that every model, or sub-model, sometimes even a single option, presents unique challenges to assembly line workers. Each assembly worker's job(s) is tailored, in the case of Corvettes, to take approximately three minutes (the time when the car enters that person's part of the line until it moves past them, into the next worker's area). But every model/option has its jobs that challenge the three minutes allotted, so it is often desirable to mix the sequence in line, e.g., a Z-51 coupe, followed by a base convertible, a base coupe, or similar. We of course do not know optimal Z06 sequencing, but know that unlike convertibles, Z06 coupes can go back to back.

A highly, highly connected person was surreptitiously told last week that the target production week for his Z06 would be November 3rd (note that TPW's are not yet available even to dealerships, nor to ChevroletCustomerCare). Let us assume that customer Z06's therefore start down the assembly line on November 3rd, though, as always, that timetable could be moved forward. Or backwards.

The 2014 StingRay, as it was a brand-new model, had about new 5,000 parts. It was held, after initial assembly line completion, for a four week quality hold (QC hold). Even though estimates are that the 2015 StingRay had few changes, a best guess is that there were about 50 changed parts (historical average) for the 2015 model year. Fifty (50) parts out of a total of 5000 is, obviously, just 1%, yet GM chose a two-week quality hold for all 2015 StingRay's, with an even longer QC hold for those with the A8 automatic transmission.

Why are cars held at the factory for a QC hold? Why not, upon completion, immediately release them through normal shipping processes? By keeping them at BGAP, problems identified on all cars are readily available for repair. And as is obvious, BGAP personnel are the best trained in the assembly of a new Z06, have replacement parts right there, and have the best tools and other equipment available to most expeditiously fix any and all problems. Conversely, while I brag about my Corvette Master Technician who does all of the work on my Corvette, my Z06 will be the first one he is ever seen; he does not have any Z06 unique replacement parts at his dealership; and his training is minuscule compared to, for example, the Performance Build Center employees who have already, for many months, been training on the world's best equipment to assemble the new LT4.

At the NCM Bash, was talking with Phil Minch, 25 year GM high performance Engineer and for years now, Tadge's Assistant. I guessed that the new Z06 had 300 unique parts. Phil said that while that number had not yet been calculated, he believed that the number of Z06 new parts was more than that. His best guesstimate was about 500, about 10% of the Z06's total parts. If there was at least a two week QC hold for the 2015 StingRay, with its roughly 1% new parts, it is most likely that with its 500 new parts, the Z06 will go through a four-week quality hold. Would be surprised if any less. During this time, some will be pulled aside for an additional, random global customer audit (GCA).

At each of General Motors' 140 plants throughout the world, it is mandated that every single day, at least three vehicles are randomly pulled aside to undergo a GCA. For those not familiar with that term, a GCA is an approximate 25 hour audit conducted by a team of engineers and quality control specialists, during which they examine key assembly parts, review the overall exterior a third time, and specifically check and recheck those parts or assembly procedures which have been recently shown to be problematic. The GCA is typically concluded with an 8 mile road test. When a new model is introduced, the percentage of GCA's is significantly increased. It is possible that on November 3rd, that they only assemble a few Z06's per hour, and when those cars are completed, maybe as many as half of them will undergo a GCA. Those that are not randomly selected for a GCA, are put aside and stored for the remainder of the quality hold. During GCA's, they might, in this hypothetical example, disassemble every Z06's underbelly aerodynamic trays to closely inspect every Z06's torque tube -- if that is an area that they wanted to ensure that assembly were absolutely perfect. Meanwhile, the next day and the next day and the next day, based on assembly line worker input, testing analysis, how many cars with what issues were moved into the "correction area," and previous GCA results, the GCA team might next hone in on front suspension components or other parts or sub-assemblies. But all this time, the rest of the completed Z06's continue to stack up at the BGAP facility, at least until the four week QC hold time is over.

Then, as provided by GM's contract with Jack Cooper Transport, once a specific Z06 is finally released, that transport company has up to 10 days to remove a released vehicle from the Plant. And, sorry, to those whose Z06's were first assembled, but there is no relationship as to when your car will be selected to be shipped out of the Plant. The transport company is like all other businesses, that they want to operate most efficiently, filling every one of the their 11-Corvette transporter trucks completely. If, for example, they only have 9 Corvettes (StingRays and Z06's) released for direct transit to South Carolina, they will skip those 9 (even if they some were Z06's built the very first production week), and instead, they will take 11 Florida-bound Corvettes which have already been released, even if those latter cars were build later than the "SC 9." And thus why, even though your Z06 might not have a TPW until November 17th, you could theoretically be the second person in the country, after Rick Hendrick, to receive his Z06. In fact, this is identical to happened to a specific 2014 StingRay owned by our forum member "CyberVette," who lives in Florida. CyberVette received the second StingRay ever delivered on September 21st (just behind Rick's) even though his TPW was not in the first week of all 2014 StingRay's were assembled.

It is critical that all understand that previous reality, that there may be little relationship between having an early TPW and an early delivery, and further, this non-relationship will be especially compounded by the further one lives from BGAP. As an example, my Z06 could be the very first customer car to go down the assembly line, and yet, as I live on the West Coast, would probably receive it many weeks later than a person who's Z06 started down the line the end of the third week of Z06 customer production, but who lives in Nashville. [Note that production of car transporter rail cars has not caught up with the last few years' significantly increased vehicle production rate -- though hopefully this winter, the problem will not be exacerbated by excessively horrid winter weather.]

Estimated Timeline (IF November 3rd remains the first week of customer Z06 production):

November 5th: First Z06 customer car completed. Initial GCA's start, as well as internal Plant vehicle processing being undertaken (typically a couple of days per "non problem/non issue" cars);

November 7th (or thereabouts): Four week QC Hold starts, though if enough "issues" with first cars or with their assembly procedures, might be additional delays at this point, or later. For example, if right near the end of the four week QC hold, a problem is just identified on the welds of a supplier provided suspension knuckle, the QC hold could become a little or a lot longer than four weeks.

December 5th: QC Hold could end for first Z06's;

December 6th: First Z06's could be removed from Plant grounds, begin their journey (though each individual Corvette may sit for up to 10 days);

First deliveries before Christmas!

Are any of those dates firm? Absolutely not. Just trying to damp down expectations of those who are recently either PM'd me, or posted that they are thinking initial customer deliveries in November. That will not happen unless GM, surprisingly, moves the first assembly of customer cars to a TPW of October 20th. Conversely, all my inquiries this past few days have not resulted in anyone suggesting Z06 customer-car assembly starting before November 3rd. In fact, just the contrary, for everyone I communicated with, universally and rather firmly said November 3rd is the current projected starting date.

Hang on, for each day now gets longer and longer, as waiting gets harder and harder. (Speaking personally here...)
 

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Very good points John and very true. Weather for those of us living in snow country can play a major role in delivery in extending delivery times. Also living close to some of the top dealerships but buying from a smaller near by dealership can possibly be a good thing. As John said they want to fill the truck so my dealer who is only getting 1 Z06 for the year I have to believe my car will be on a truck that is delivering several corvettes to another dealer near by.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Very good points John and very true. Weather for those of us living in snow country can play a major role in delivery in extending delivery times. Also living close to some of the top dealerships but buying from a smaller near by dealership can possibly be a good thing. As John said they want to fill the truck so my dealer who is only getting 1 Z06 for the year I have to believe my car will be on a truck that is delivering several corvettes to another dealer near by.
You are totally correct. Absolutely they will, once they get in a target area, they go from dealership to dealership, dropping them off one here, four there, 'till empy, and then back to BG.
 

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John, a well stated explanation. As further backup to your time estimate, wasn't the Gates Chevy constraint report for 18 Sep, the first Z06 consensus, listing 3 Nov as the projected TPW for the Z06s?

Also, to reinforce your explanation of QC holds, when my '13 427 was built on the second day of '13 production, it went through a new model 4 week QC. Even though the C6 had been built for 8 years, the 427 was a new model, and went through the extended hold you described. My car was built on May 3, 2013, but I didn't get to pick it up until June 20, at Fichtner in MT.
 

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John most of the part differences are in the drivetrain, brakes, T-tube correct? I know the Z06 will have some different panels, badging, steering wheel, dash pod, computer software, harnesses & additional cooling. I guess all those changes can through some challenges to the line.. I truly don't want the car till Jan/Feb/March even though I am sitting at 3000 status. I just want it built correctly
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
John most of the part differences are in the drivetrain, brakes, T-tube correct? I know the Z06 will have some different panels, badging, steering wheel, dash pod, computer software, harnesses & additional cooling. I guess all those changes can through some challenges to the line.. I truly don't want the car till Jan/Feb/March even though I am sitting at 3000 status. I just want it built correctly
I am with you on wanting my car right, even if it takes extra time for them to get it right. At the same time, am not concerned getting a second year C7. Exactly in the same situation when I bought a second year C6, a Z06. It too had a lot of new parts, including also a brand new motor, and the car was perfect for nine years (just sold it).

Not worried about getting a C7 Z06!
 

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I am with you on wanting my car right, even if it takes extra time for them to get it right. At the same time, am not concerned getting a second year C7. Exactly in the same situation when I bought a second year C6, a Z06. It too had a lot of new parts, including also a brand new motor, and the car was perfect for nine years (just sold it).

Not worried about getting a C7 Z06!
Good points & at least this is not a completely new car from the ground up like the C7 was this time last year..
 

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This is why I go to this forum - for information like this! Thank you. Great analysis. Everyone who has a Z06 on order and is at 3000 has been wondering the same thing and I don't have enough insight as to how this all works so I couldn't put my finger on it. I was thinking "Thanksgiving"? But now that you laid it all out in a time-table - it makes good sense. Given that my car will need to go all the way to the west coast - it'll likely go via rail which will mean a few more lengthy transfers and other potential delays.

So I'm thinking I won't see my car until mid-January at the earliest. Now that I know that - I'm fine with it. January will be good. There is too much happening in December anyway. Now I don't have to worry about it and can just immerse myself in other things and set this aside for a while. A burden has been lifted. Thank you.
 

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Dealerships in our area get rail shipments out of Milpitas, including my wife's car which was shipped to KUNI in your area. I would think your shipment will go through Milpitas as well.

Sometimes it is super fast (we picked up my wife's car just a day or two after it was unloaded off the train in Milpitas), but sometimes it is super slow (earlier this spring some Corvettes remained on the lot in Milpitas 20 days waiting for a truck to go get them and take them to the largest NorCal Chevrolet dealer about 25 miles away). You just never know.

The approach you are taking to put it aside and not worry about it will serve you well, I think. :)
 

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Due to realized capital gain tax considerations, I really want a 2015 arrival & delivery. Anytime after December 31st works...

Of course, you know what that means...the car will be here in December & my dealer will insist on immediate delivery...HA! Will have to float some short term financing to get around paying the taxes next April.
 
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