The timing appears to have been perfect.
Management and hourly workers at the Lordstown General Motors plant convinced Detroit that the Mahoning Valley was the best place to built Chevrolet's new generation of small cars.
And now, as the end of the Cobalt's first model year approaches, the 2005 Cobalt has climbed into the top 10 in vehicle sales in the United States, placing ninth, between the Ford Explorer and the Ford Taurus.
To be sure, the aggressive sales drive by General Motors has been a factor in the Cobalt's marketing success. GM employee pricing has made this an almost irresistible time to buy a new car or truck.
But just as important to the long-term success of the product is customer satisfaction, which is reported high.
The Cobalt replaced the Chevrolet Cavalier, which was in the ninth year of a model run that had its highs and its lows.
By the numbers
Automotive News reports for June showed Cobalt sales increased 16 percent from May to June and 43 percent over the number of Chevrolet Cavaliers sold in June 2004.
Customers bought 23,649 Cobalts in May and 27,444 in June. A year earlier, just 19,163 Lordstown-built Cavaliers were sold.
The entire Mahoning Valley got behind the effort to bring Cobalt production to Lordstown. State and local government support was unqualified. But in the end, it has been the responsibility of those who work at the plant to produce a car that Americans would buy. Their early success in doing so should be a subject of satisfaction and optimism.