General Motors is currently in the process of re-tooling its Lordstown, Ohio manufacturing facilities to produce the new Chevy Cruze, the replacement for the Chevy Cobalt.
Listed on Edmund’s roster of the 10 worst-selling cars, the Cobalt has long suffered from lackluster sales and received a less-than-glowing review on www.caranddriver.com which described the 2009 Cobalt Sedan SS as ‘less refined than competitors’ and proclaimed it ‘the last hurrah of an old design.’
Annual sales of the Cobalt have been just under 45,000 units which pales in comparison to small car market competitors including the Honda Civic, with annual sales of nearly 98,000, and the Toyota Matrix which has reported annual sales of over 100,000.
The Chevy Cruze is much sleeker and more agile than the Cobalt and offers more highly refined appointments and interior than its predecessor. GM engineers have focused on improving its reliability and reducing road noise as they go head to head with perennial sales leaders Honda and Toyota.
With production scheduled to begin in April 2010, Chevy is claiming that the Cruze ‘was developed by a global design and engineering team with sophisticated styling cues that are fast becoming the signature for Chevrolet,’ and goes on to proclaim that the Cruze ‘delivers on Chevy’s promise to offer a smartly- designed compact at an exceptional value.’
Workers and management at the Lordstown, Ohio production plants have expressed optimism over the announcement.
Lordstown UAW local President, David Green, conceded that ‘GM built shoddy cars 20 or 30 years ago,’ and went on to say that that approach gave customers ‘a reason to go to foreign products.’ With the introduction of the all-new Chevy Cruze, he hopes those customers will ‘have a reason to come back and at least try our products.’