Last Cruze moved to Sweeney Chevrolet

WARREN — The last Chevrolet Cruze assembled at General Motors’ plant in Lordstown is at Sweeney Chevrolet in Boardman.

It has a buyer, but the buyer wishes to remain anonymous at least until next week when he / she takes delivery at the Market Street dealership. It arrived there about 3 p.m. Friday directly from the assembly plant.

The Cruze was originally destined for a dealership in Florida.

“It has a buyer so it’s sold,” said Alexa Sweeney Blackann, vice president of Sweeney Chevrolet. “The customer actually called us originally and said, ‘Hey, I would really like to purchase this, is that possible?’ and we worked with the dealer in Florida who totally understood why it was a special vehicle for us in this community and was willing to swap it out of inventory.”

She said they are still trying to figure out what vehicle will be swapped for the Cruze — a white LS model with black interior.

The owner is expected to take delivery Tuesday or Wednesday.

“It makes us a little sentimental. It almost takes your breath away when it came, it was here and it was the last one off the truck,” Blackann said. “We live and work in this community, and these Lordstown employees are our friends and family.”

Several Lordstown workers sent text message images of their signatures on the body to the dealership. Also Friday, signs signed by plant employees were found in the trunk.

“It was really cool. We felt like we were part of the history and to be able to host it is really special,” she said.

“We’re just mindful of our history and Lordstown’s history,” Blackann said. “We are all in this community together and we’re happy to be part of the last Cruze on its journey, and we’re optimistic they will be allocated a new product.”

United Auto Workers Local 1112 President Dave Green tried to arrange a vehicle swap and reached out to a local dealership to try to make it happen, but was told someone beat him to it.

Production stopped at the Lordstown GM assembly plant about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday when the Cruze came off the line.

The plant was the first of five in North America that GM intends to idle by the end of the year as it shifts its focus toward SUVs, trucks and autonomous and electric vehicles. As the automaker restructures, it is letting go of 14,000 salaried and blue-collar jobs, but has said most of its blue-collar workers who lose jobs in the U.S. will be able to transfer to other plants in the Midwest and South.

About 1,600 employees worked at the Lordstown plant that, at one time, employed about 10,000. About 400 of the GM Lordstown employees who volunteered to transfer have already been placed at a GM plant elsewhere in the U.S.

Union officials and members, and others who are trying to convince GM to reverse the decision to idle the plant are holding out hope the company will assign a new vehicle, perhaps an electric or plug-in hybrid, to the facility. They believe the fate will be determined when the UAW and GM meet later this year to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement.