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Cruze sales plummet

LORDSTOWN — The Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze was the brand’s No. 5 best-selling vehicle in 2018. It remained in the top 10 into the first quarter of this year, but deliveries have plummeted.

Now it ranks 15th among domestic deliveries, sandwiched between the Spark and all-electric Bolt, the automaker reported Wednesday when it released third-quarter 2019 sales for all GM vehicles. The free fall coincides with the idling of General Motors’ assembly plant in Lordstown, where the last compact sedan Cruze came off the production line March 6.

The decline has been precipitous.

Sales have decreased in each of the quarters this year compared with 2018 — 41.5 percent in the first quarter, 57 percent in the second quarter and 82 percent in the last quarter.

Delivered in the U.S. last quarter were 5,799 Cruzes, compared with 31,971 in the third quarter of 2018. In this year’s second quarter, 16,166 Cruzes were delivered, compared with 37,838 for the same period in 2018.

The numbers include Cruze hatchbacks made in Mexico. GM, however, no longer provides individual delivery numbers.

A spokesman Wednesday also did not say how many Cruzes are left in stock.

Topping GM’s list of best-sellers is the Silverado LD with 119,641 deliveries. It is followed by the Equinox, 79,799; Traverse, 41,116; Trax, 37,407; and Silverado, 34,212.

GM’s sales release comes on Day 17 of the United Auto Workers strike against the automaker that has 49,000 workers off of the job, which has caused GM to halt production at its U.S. factories and at its truck and transmission plant in Mexico.

It’s estimated the work stoppage has cost GM about $1 billion, but workers are feeling the impact, too. They are having to get by on $250 per week in strike pay instead of their normal base pay of about $1,200 per week.

UAW Local 1112 members are picketing outside the closed plant in Lordstown in a show of support for the strike. Talks in Detroit have included GM offering to locate an electric battery manufacturing plant in Lordstown, but it doesn’t appear it would be at the factory.

Instead, Lordstown Motors Corp. is in talks with GM to purchase the 6.2 million-square-foot facility to produce an electric fleet-style pickup truck. Those talks have been overshadowed by the contract negotiations, but Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns said he’s confident a deal will happen. That would need approval by the UAW.

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