Would you pay more than $5,000 to assemble the engine of your new car? That's what a GM customer is doing today.
Several months ago, I wrote about BMW offering an “ultimate plant tour” at its Spartanburg, SC, factory. Most people who responded thought it sounded like a good way to connect with passionate consumers.
Maybe someone at General Motors Co. was paying attention. Today, one of its loyal customers is scheduled to participate in the inaugural Corvette Engine Build Experience at GM’s Performance Build Center (PBC) in Wixom, MI.
Todd Schnitt will help assemble the 638-hp supercharged small-block engine of his new ZR1 Corvette. “I’m anticipating it being one of the coolest things I’ve done in my life,” says Schnitt, who hosts a radio talk show in Tampa, FL. “It definitely makes my ‘bucket list.’”
“Corvette owners are some of the most passionate-and most involved-enthusiasts in the industry,” claims Jim Campbell, U.S. vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “The Corvette Engine Build Experience offers customers an unprecedented opportunity to participate, hands on, in creating the car.
“At the PBC, the customer doesn’t merely view the engine’s assembly; he or she builds it under the supervision of and support from skilled technicians,” Campbell points out. “The experience is possible because of the hand-assembly processes used at the 100,000-square-foot PBC.”
The Engine Build Experience is an option that Chevy customers can sign up for at their local dealer. It has a suggested retail price of $5,800. But, in addition to the once-in-a-lifetime experience, a personalized nameplate (I doubt that it’s gold-plated!) is added to the engine next to the builder’s name. And, GM even throws in a video and photos to document the day.
As part of the Engine Build Experience, a special Chevrolet concierge coordinates all arrangements with participants. After each engine is assembled, it’s shipped to the Corvette assembly plant in Bowling Green, KY.
What do you think of this idea? Should Ford come out with a similar program for Mustang or F150 enthusiasts? Heck, if someone wants to fork over a pile of dough, perhaps they should be allowed to help assemble an entire car-or maybe just install a seat or two.