By Grace Wyler
The early success of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze continued this week, with Mahoning Valley dealers reporting a strong second month of sales for the Lordstown-produced compact car.
The General Motors Complex here has been working around the clock to make the Cruze. The plant reached full production speed Monday, said plant spokesman Tom Mock, ending a three-month acceleration process aimed to emphasize quality over speed.
“We are really pleased with the launch and what they are doing inside of the plant,” Mock said. “We have a team of 4,500 people working together to produce the best compact car in the world.”
Cruze sales have so far met GM’s initial targets, Mock said. The company sold 8,000 Cruzes last month out of the 9,000 units that were on dealer lots at the beginning of November.
“We are very pleased with the reaction we have been getting outside of the plant,” Mock added.
Local dealers sold 84 Cruzes last month, making the compact car the Valley’s second best-selling vehicle. Since it hit showrooms in mid-September, area dealerships have sold 126 Cruzes.
“Everybody loves the Cruze. They have nothing but good to say about it,” said David Sabolsky, general manager of Spitzer Chevrolet in North Jackson. “To me, that’s a testament to the guys at the plant that delivered the product.”
The Cruze was Spitzer’s best-selling car in November, Sabolsky said, adding the dealership delivered five new Cruzes on Friday alone.
The new compact, which replaces the Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cobalt, has started to gain ground on the Chevrolet Malibu, its popular midsize cousin. Valley dealers sold 138 Malibus in November, putting year-to-date sales at 1,690, up from just 870 in the same period last year.
Other popular vehicles were the Ford Focus, the Chevrolet Silverado and the Ford F-150 pickup truck.
Overall, local new-vehicle sales were up about 42 percent last month compared to November 2009.
Local auto dealers sold 1,677 new vehicles in November of this year, compared to 972 sold in the same month in 2009.
Valley auto dealers sold 18,099 new vehicles in the first 11 months of 2010, compared to 16,095 sold over the same period in 2009.