Anticipation, zest for GM Lordstown model accelerate
By GRACE WYLER
When the lease on Bobby Thomas’ 2008 Chevrolet Impala ended last month, the retired General Motors superintendent decided not to get a new car.
He’s holding out to buy the Chevrolet Cruze.
“From what I’ve seen so far, I really like the looks of the car,” Thomas said. “So I picked up a used Pontiac to drive until I get my Cruze.”
Thomas, who retired from the Lordstown GM assembly plant in 1984, has not seen Cruze models at car shows but said he is fairly certain it will be worth the wait.
“What really interests me is that they are saying it is going to get 40 miles to the gallon,” Thomas said. “I am reasonably sure it is going to be a good car, knowing that it is GM and that they have always put out a good product.”
There has been a lot of early interest in the Cruze, said David Sabolsky, general sales manager at Spitzer Chevrolet in North Jackson. The car, which will be made in Lordstown, is set to hit showrooms in August.
“It’s incredible how many people have expressed interest in buying the Cruze already,” Sabolsky said. “I foresee lots of people pre-ordering them because of what the vehicles can do and because they are made locally.”
The addition of a third shift at the Lordstown complex could also drive sales, Sabolsky said.
“Whenever people go back to work, it lifts their spirits and it puts them in a buying mood,” he said.
The dealership expects that the Cruze will be more popular than the Chevy Cobalt because of the new car’s technology and expected fuel-efficiency, Sabolsky said.
“The Cruze will be technology at its best,” he said. “This is something that is going to be environmentally friendly, and that is what people are looking for.”
The efficiency of the Cruze models will put Chevy cars ahead of the game when the federal government’s new fuel- economy standards start to go into effect in 2012, Sabolsky said.
The new fuel-efficiency standards, issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency April 1, call for passenger cars to achieve an average 35.5 mpg by 2016.
Fuel-economy numbers for the three basic Cruze models have not been released, but the car’s six-speed transmission is expected to improve fuel efficiency.
A high-efficiency model, the Cruze Eco, is expected to achieve 40 mpg on the highway. The Eco, which was unveiled at the New York Auto Show last week, will not go on sale until the last quarter of this year.