Vermont Composites Inc., one of the largest suppliers of carbon fibre products in the US, has been awarded a contract from General Motors to produce 14,000 carbon fibre fenders for the Z06 Corvette.
Vermont Composites, Inc. of Vermont, USA, a subsidiary of the Advanced Products Corporation (APC), and manufacturer of aerospace and medical equipment, is expected to produce about 14,000 of the carbon-fibre fenders over the next year which represents around 60 carbon fibre fenders being produced a day for the next seven to eight years.
VCI commented that the contract will boost its annual revenues by about a third, with Jim Sharkey, the plant’s General Manager, adding that the company has employed 35 extra employees to handle the job, bringing its total workforce to 180 employees. “”We’re pretty excited about this [fender] project and real excited about this automobile,”” said General Motors’ Corvette Chief Engineer David C. Hill. “”It’s going to be a very special car and we’re very proud of the job Vermont Composites people are doing.””
The Corvette contract represents one of the first times that aerospace materials are being used to produce relatively large volumes of auto parts with each of the complex shaped fender weighing just 3.5 pounds.
Advanced Products Corp. of Los Angeles acquired a majority interest in Vermont Composites last year. It soon expanded into an 82,000 square foot building on nearby Kocher Drive. The company eventually wants to dedicate the 45,000 square foot on Shields Drive, where the fenders are being produced, solely to auto parts.
VCI is starting up a new carbon fibre fabricated parts facility that will be completed in mid 2005.
General Motors hopes to start selling the 500-horse power Z06 domestically by Autumn this year and overseas by the end of the year. The company estimated that “roughly one-fifth of all Corvettes will be the Z06 model”.
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