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C8 Z06 is later than we wish — but NOT due to development nor engineering issues

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  • C8 Z06 is later than we wish — but NOT due to development nor engineering issues

    I need to repeat this title due to its importance, that while the C8 Z06’s reveal will be later than we are wish, it is not later due to development nor engineering problems.

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    There are three factors that could delay the Z06’s initial presentation all the way into the 2022 calendar year. These three are all facts, are each not debatable IF you accept that the C8 Z06 was never intended to be a 2021 model, always debuting as as a 2022 model year . But did it get pushed forward, either its reveal and/or its is first customer cars, to it now being going to be revealed in the ending half of 2021 or even not until calendar year 2022 — and perhaps therefore even appearing as the first customer vehicles until as early 2023 model year models? If so the following two or three things made that happen.

    So what are these three facts.
    1. The strike prevented the Z06 vehicle integration team (VIT) team for working for 2 full months during the fall of 2019;
    2. Covid delayed the vehicle integration team from working an additional 2 1/2 more months (from Feb 16th through May 25th of last year);
    3. Covid differentially delayed the testing and development for six weeks — as explained below. However, could this six week delay uniquely not have additionally delayed the Z06 at all but instead occurred within the BGA 2 1/2 month March 16 through May 25th shut down that occurred last spring? If it was additional, the totality of the preceding items 4 1/2 month delay really became a six month delay. What is this six week factor? It was the mandatory “pause all development and testing” of all GM models which came out around mid March of last year, was issued by GM’s Executive Director in Charge of Program Management, Michelle Braun. Thankfully, to the best of our knowledge that development, engineering, and testing moratorium/cessation ended around the end of April, 2020.
    How did these factors delay the car from earlier? For those not aware of the term vehicle integration team (VIT), there is an excellent explanation of it in Larry Edsall’s “Stingray: The Making of the Seventh Generation Corvette.” It is a superlative book if you want to learn how GM successful integrate design and engineering into BGA’s production. Alternatively, in short form the VIT (vehicle integration team) is one of the most critical parts of the development of every new Corvette generation and model. The VIT is a team made up of half BGA employees and its other half employees coming from GM’s Michigan next Corvette development team (many from the Warren Technical Center), who every other week travel to the other half of the team’s faculty and there work together to fit each and every part and processes into that next model’s creation. By starting from all team members meeting the very first clay model of each vehicle in Michigan, and then having those team members eventually work side-by-side on a weekly basis with BGA engineering, development engineers and line assembly workers (all as VIT partners), the transition from literally one full sized model in Michigan to being able to build one customer unit on the BGA assembly line slowly, methodically and progressively takes place. As Kai Spande told us at the 2019 Bash, the first C8 took over 200 hours to completely integrate into the BGA line, but over time it obviously completed transitioning to its current pace of building an average of 11.6 C8’s per hour. That 200 hours at the BGA facility was even after years of the vehicle integration team working in-the-end weekly in developing parts/processes for the production C8.

    Here from the new C8 book, “Corvette Stingray: Mid Engine Revolution” is one picture of the C8 vehicle integration team early on in action. Note that Tadge, as is his hands on style, is in both this and the below VIT pictures. As he has said to me on two occasions, one earlier during the C7 gen and again in the C8 time, “I much prefer being with my team, hands-on working on engineering issues than standing in front of a group receiving a Corvette award.”

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    The transition process starts with one full sized clay model in Michigan to eventually transitioning over years to a regular Corvette going down the BGA line. This process is obviously way more challenging and time consuming for every brand new Corvette generation than for an individual, subsequent model development, e.g., more difficult, and more complex for the initial 2020 C8 than it would be for the subsequent, upcoming Z06. Nevertheless if we count the number of new and unique parts that a C8 Z06 will have, it will exceed 750 of them, and if we add in the additional new numbers of parts within its DOHC motor, the number of new parts will then exceed 1,500 compared to a C8 coupe or HTC. Hence the VIT has been working on the Z06’s integration into BGA for a long while already — though significantly interrupted for at least 4 1/2 months, and perhaps up to six months in 2019 and 2020 as noted above.

    Here, toward the end of the VIT process, also from the new C8 new book, it still shows still some body parts remaining 3-D printed while others are some of the earlier, sheet molded compound panels.

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    Might the first few testing Z06 mules have already been built at BGA?

    I believe that is unlikely, that these proceeding mules were instead hand assembled instead in Michigan, BUT what. is likely that as there as will be eventually a slew of more Z06 mules and then hundreds and hundreds of captured test fleet Z06’s (CTF’s) that will be made at BGA both some before the reveal and many more between that reveal and the first customer Z06’s going done the line. We remember that 2020 CTF C8’s eventually numbered over 400 of them. Thus the questions are:
    1. Have the first Z06 mule or CTF already been built at BGA?
    2. And if so, was it not just the building of right hand drives but were those Z06’s the that were last week we had two sub-186 unit build days at BGA?
    3. If not yet, when might they start slowly, e.g., one here and one there integrating a Z06 mule onto the BGA assembly line among the customer C8’s, then one more, then 25 more customer C8’s, etc?

    Regardless of whether this has started or might not for several more months, one thing I know is that Z06 development is continuing in a precise, controlled, progressive pace.

    While the strike, the six week development time out, and the 2 1/2 month closure last spring slowed down the development of the Z06, none of those things were due to the Corvette team experiencing factors interfering with its progress, that all of them were due to factors completely out of the realm of possibility of the Corvette top team members.

    Progress on the Z06 is continuing, though as all of us here are impatient (understatement), we always wish for definitive news before we will receive it.

    Ah, the definitions of frustration and angst of waiting unrequited.
    GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

  • #2
    Thanks again John for both the historical perspective of manufacturing the Z06 as well as the practical perspective, given the recent Strike, Covid and requisite shutdowns resulting from both. Patience is indeed a virtue!
    07/01/20 Deposit @ VanBortels on 2021 C8 Coupe; 08/01/20 Prelim Order Status 1100; 01/21/21 Final Order Status 2000; 01/27/21 Status 3000; 03/06/21 Status 3300 (TPW 03/22/21); 03/16/21 Status 3400; 03/22/21 Status 3800; 03/23/21 Status 4B00; 03/26/21 Status 4D00: Status 4200; 04/02/21; 04/06/21 Status 5000; 2LT Coupe; GMO; DSZ; Q8Q; HTA; AQ9; E60; FE2; NPP; ERI

    ”You only live once, but, if you live right, once is enough “

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    • #3
      John, your language has changed in the last two weeks from "could" to "is". "Is" being more definitive. Does this mean it's a foregone conclusion that the Z06 IS delayed and won't be a 2022? Are you basically saying, if the Z06 was supposed to be a 2022 then it IS delayed in 2 parts reveal and production start? Or, are you saying if it was supposed to be a 2021 then it IS delayed because it's not going to be revealed until 2021? Sorry. Long article that I'm just trying to understand

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      • #4
        Interesting analysis John.

        Do you think GM really lost 6 months on the Z06 program or just some portion thereof?

        Most teams have figured out how to work remotely using sophisticated video conferencing tools to continue making progress on technical projects.

        Obviously there are items that are only accomplished in person but I would expect there are a lot of tasks that can be completed remotely.

        Perhaps the GM engineers actually got time to do some things that normally don't get done until later in the project.

        I am hopeful that GM did not have to actually stop all work on the Z06 project for 6 months due to the strike and Covid and will make the reveal on 7/18/2021 with production late this year.

        I'm a glass half full optimist engineer!

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        • #5
          It is close to impossible to use a remote method with up tp 40 people handling the same and next-door parts — when those parts are not yet production parts.

          As to losing six months, if as I suspect that the six week all corporate hold was within the 2 1/2 month COVID BGA hold, I would guess 4 1/2 months net.

          The great improvement in Corvette quality has been the VIT’s, getting those who design, engineer and create to work side by side by those who will eventually be installing each and every part, roughly every five minutes, all day long, e.g., creating a true team instead of the old method of handoff, i.e., I in my smarts created this and now you assembly line worker install it all day long. Minute things such as “if you shorten this tab 1 MM and bend it an additional 3 degrees toward its back side, I can put it in now not just quicker but with less stress on both the part and on me.”

          For sure some of the engineers got to work on third tier projects they would not have otherwise been able to do. Did they for example start to work on ZR1 processes or parts that would not have started for another year??? But additionally even the test drivers who would have spent hour after hour with the software engineers at Milford’s and at Yuma’s hidden and secret tracks, also lost those 4 1/2 months minimum.

          Those forced time outs created havoc in so many ways.
          GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

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          • #6
            So my question is: is this post the result of some “new” information, or rather, pure speculation? I have seen nothing official as to a reveal date, nor even any actual acknowledgment of the C8Z’s future existence.

            Comment


            • #7
              In the world of IMSA racing, isn't there a limit on time before a car or engine can be used For example, does Corvette have to use the flat plane crank engine in a production car within some time frame after it is used in a race?
              Ceramic Gray Metallic Z51 w/TT interior Spec Grey Wheels

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Michael A Riley View Post
                So my question is: is this post the result of some “new” information, or rather, pure speculation? I have seen nothing official as to a reveal date, nor even any actual acknowledgment of the C8Z’s future existence.
                I agree Michael that as far as GM is concerned the mere existence of the C8 Z06 is not confirmed; that is of course consistent with past GM practice to never acknowledge any upcoming generation nor Corvette model in advance. And of course the outflow of that is that GM will of course not even hint at a reveal date for a model that does not yet even exist in the future. We all have previously heard the official public statements when a Corvette team member has been imprudently asked about something, some model, some future version they have replied that, “we do not comment on potential future product.”

                Regarding my attempt to dig out information, I have totally none as to when the Z06’s reveal will be but re the info that was released last week by Marcus Veiga when he stated in writing that we were getting definitive Z06 information in July, I ran in a storm of headwinds , e.g., not coming in July. Though as to when after that, no surprise that I could not get a morsel of speculation nor fact.

                Consequently, I just kicked up my monthly saving program an another major notch, so when the “possible, maybe, might be coming ‘future potential model’” actually does appear — meaning we then have an official word from GM, I will have enough in the kitty to get it equipped exactly as I want.
                GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

                Comment


                • #9
                  John's posts give us a lot to think about. If we rely on history, it is logical to conclude that the Z06 will be the next model offered to all of us Corvette faithful. My thesis is, 'what does history have to do with things now'???? We are certainly not living is what anyone would consider normal times. I'm quite certain that the business plan was to introduce the all new 2020 C8 in the fall of 2019. I won't go over all the delays but the introduction of the new C8 was anything but normal. The team did an outstanding job of dealing with repeated obstacles. It would have been easy to just 'fold' and use the strike and Covid as an excuse..... but they didn't. In normal times, the logical successor to the base C8 would be the Z06.

                  In my opinion.... and it's strictly an opinion.... the Corvette team may well be faced with a new (you pick the word: obstacle, opportunity, corporate directive....). Politically, it really won't be very popular to have a big media announcement placing the spotlight on a high powered gasoline powered supercar.... especially after the chairman (Mary) got all the headlines and media attention with the announcement that GM will 'try' to be all electric by 2035!

                  Where I'm going with this is that I, for one, wouldn't be very surprised if the next big announcement from the Corvette team was the e-Ray rather than the Z06. I, like many of you, can't wait to see/get a flat plane crank powered C8 HTC supercar. I'm just not quite as certain that the next great thing from the team will be the announcement of the Z06. I hope I'm wrong.....
                  Last edited by tooold2race; 02-01-2021, 07:45 PM.
                  2020 HTC Torch Red with lots of goodies. Built in September. Museum Delivered in October......

                  Other toys in the garage: Ferrari California, BMW i8 Roadster, Bentley Flying Spur

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good analysis. How about the wildest option of revealing both at the same time? I know that is very far fetched, yet they did reveal the C8 HTC and the C8.R that same delightful, October 2nd, 2019 evening at the Kennedy Space Center.

                    Click image for larger version  Name:	7C6BD3A5-46A4-4361-ACC1-28D1C22CCBFD.jpeg Views:	0 Size:	920.3 KB ID:	236274
                    GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I raised that same possibility of the E-Ray coming first a while ago. https://www.midenginecorvetteforum.c...-the-z06-model

                      However, I still think the Z06 is up next.
                      GBA Black; HTO Twilight/Tension interior; Z51 & Mag Ride; E60 lift; 5VM visible carbon fiber package; 5ZZ high wing; FA5 interior vis CF; ZZ3 engine appearance; 3LT; Q8T Spectra Gray Tridents; J6N Edge Red Calipers; SNG Edge Red Hashmarks; VQK Splash Guards; RCC Edge Red engine cover; VJR illuminated sill plates. Lifetime, annual contributors, and 23 year members of National Corvette Museum. Home is the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by John View Post

                        Consequently, I just kicked up my monthly saving program an another major notch, so when the “possible, maybe, might be coming ‘future potential model’” actually does appear — meaning we then have an official word from GM, I will have enough in the kitty to get it equipped exactly as I want.
                        John, it sounds like you are of the same mindset as me. I do not like waiting, but on the bright side, there’s a good chance of driving away from the NCM with a highly optioned C8Z06, and NO payment. Similarly, we just placed an order for a new Escalade for my wife, and they are on back order.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hopefully no more plant shut downs - couldn't they possibly be producing CTF's right now? Perfect opportunity.
                          Rocket City Florida

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            It would not surprise me to see GM succumb to the EV pressures and reveal the E Vette next especially after the all EV by 2035 commitment.

                            Personally I do not have any interest in the E Vette or any other EV for that matter.

                            While I am a GM stockholder, I may not be a future customer from the all EV GM.

                            I may hedge my C8 Z06 bet and place an order for a Stingray or just buy a nice C7 Z07.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by John View Post
                              It is close to impossible to use a remote method with up tp 40 people handling the same and next-door parts — when those parts are not yet production parts.

                              As to losing six months, if as I suspect that the six week all corporate hold was within the 2 1/2 month COVID BGA hold, I would guess 4 1/2 months net.

                              The great improvement in Corvette quality has been the VIT’s, getting those who design, engineer and create to work side by side by those who will eventually be installing each and every part, roughly every five minutes, all day long, e.g., creating a true team instead of the old method of handoff, i.e., I in my smarts created this and now you assembly line worker install it all day long. Minute things such as “if you shorten this tab 1 MM and bend it an additional 3 degrees toward its back side, I can put it in now not just quicker but with less stress on both the part and on me.”

                              For sure some of the engineers got to work on third tier projects they would not have otherwise been able to do. Did they for example start to work on ZR1 processes or parts that would not have started for another year??? But additionally even the test drivers who would have spent hour after hour with the software engineers at Milford’s and at Yuma’s hidden and secret tracks, also lost those 4 1/2 months minimum.

                              Those forced time outs created havoc in so many ways.
                              John
                              i have to respectfully disagree with your first statement. Without saying more, let’s just say that similar groups, much larger than that, are working on things MUCH more complex (both production and R&D) from remote locales—and frankly, have been since well before COVID.

                              That said...I do believe the Z06 (to our mutual disappointment) has been moved right due to other COVID related factors.

                              Last edited by Missileer; 02-01-2021, 10:32 PM.

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