Valley to build new Cruze

Lordstown to begin production Aug. 8

LORDSTOWN — The assembly line at the General Motors Complex in Lordstown will be revving up for production of the 2019 Cruze this summer. The sleek, more stylish model will begin production on Aug. 8.

The company said the car is aimed at tech-savvy consumers searching for an entry-level vehicle. Updates include 4G LTE Wi-Fi, a universal tablet holder and remote vehicle start on certain models. Other changes include enhanced safety features such as rear park assist, side blind zone alert and rear cross traffic alert.

Despite recent consumer trends away from cars and toward trucks and sport utility vehicles, Maryann Keller, principal of the automotive consulting firm Maryann Keller and Associates, says there is still a market for small cars.

“If GM markets it right, it will do fine in its own category,” Keller said. “I think Chevrolet has some of the best styling.”

Style changes include new colors, such as Pacific blue metallic and Oakwood metallic, and new LED tail lamps for the Premier model.

Nick Morgan, Chevrolet communications spokesman for GM, said the company is striving to meet consumer needs.

“Chevrolet wants to have the right choice for all of our customers,” Morgan said. “The Cruze is entry-level and accessible for customers.”

Consumer preferences drive decisions being made at GM. Dave Green, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112, which represents workers at the Lordstown plant, hopes customers give the car a try.

“We’ve got a great product,” said Green. “We’re working hard and we’re excited about the new model year. Our hope is that consumers give our car a try.”

Jeremy Acevedo, auto industry analyst for Edmunds, said the new Cruze may get off to a slow start.

“Small cars could come back, but it will take a while,” Acevedo says. “People are looking at space, size, fuel economy and price. Those metrics lead people to SUVs.”

In 2018, compact cars accounted for 11 percent of auto sales. A decade ago, they represented 18 percent. But unlike Ford, which is shedding all but two of its car models, GM is going another direction.

“GM is there to say they’ll keep churning these vehicles out,” Acevedo said.