Cruze launch new chapter in best seller

So far, the Lordstown-built Chevy Cruze has been a success story for the Mahoning Valley.

With Wednesday’s unveiling of the sleek new sedan, the world is ready for chapter two.

We think it will be equally as successful.

Despite the fact that the car is the “oldest” Chevy product without an upgrade in General Motors’ lineup, it still continues to set records as Chevrolet’s top-selling car. More than 3.5 million Cruzes have been sold around the world since 2008, and more than 1.25 million of those have been made in Lordstown since the car launched here in September 2012.

But in recent months, sales have cooled a bit. There is debate over whether that’s because GM has increased incentives on some of its other models or if it’s because buyers are growing tired and are ready for a new design.

Whatever the reason, GM is hoping the new look will re-energize the Cruze market.

Here’s what GM says the world can expect when the car hits the showrooms in early 2016:

The new compact car will be 250 pounds lighter despite being three inches longer. It is expected to get 40 miles per gallon on the highway, and will contain a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and built-in Apple Carplay and Android Auto – great, high-tech features that will be appealing to younger drivers. Certainly, GM is hoping the new features and sleek look will bring new drivers into the Chevy fold.

All in all, engineers promise the car will be larger, lighter, faster and still more fuel-efficient than the original model.

We are eager to see them proven right.

It’s arguable, after all, that Cruze means more to the Valley and Ohio than it does even to General Motors.

We all hold a stake in the success of the Cruze and the Lordstown plant, where the car comes to life around the clock. The complex also is the second home to about 4,500 of our Valley’s men and women who work hard every day to produce the quality car.

We are proud of what they do, and proud that GM recognized that their hard work and dedication was worth the $250 million investment in upgrades to keep the next-generation model here for years – or even decades – to come.

Since the Lordstown plant was built in the 1960s, GM has invested more than a billion dollars in improvements, including the recent $250 million.

General Motors last week chose an historic concert hall in the Motor City to unveil the new Cruze. The company may have been sending a message that the event also was historic.

GM CEO Mary Barra left no doubt how important the new Cruze is to GM as it rebounded from bankruptcy.

“Our renaissance began with the Cruze,” Barra said. “This car sets the standard.”

So, as the story of Cruze continues to unfold, we eagerly await the next chapter. And after seeing it, we feel confident it will continue to be the page-turner that it has been so far.