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New product for Lordstown? Buzz builds that Valley plant may get crossover

Published: Tue, February 23, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.



GM North America President Mark Reuss

By Don Shilling

Expectations are growing that General Motors is adding a third shift at its Lordstown complex, but perhaps there will be more to an announcement today.

Some are wondering if Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, will announce that the Chevrolet Orlando will be made in Lordstown in addition to the Chevrolet Cruze, which is to be launched this summer.

WardsAuto.com reported that its sources indicate that today’s announcement will be product-related because of Reuss’ appearance.

The article notes that the Orlando, a new crossover vehicle, is to be based on the same underbody platform as the Cruze, and GM hasn’t said where the new vehicle will be produced.

Eric Mayne, an editor for the online publication of Ward’s Automotive, said his staff doesn’t have any inside information on the Orlando’s coming to Lordstown, but he added that “it’s logical that it would go somewhere where they are building a sister car.”

Shorty Navarro, who owns the Stadium GM Superstore in Salem as well as other dealerships in Boardman, said his “gut feeling” is that Reuss will announce a third shift.

Workers have been speculating about a third shift since word of Reuss’ visit leaked out last week. Union leaders have been saying for some time that they expect the Cruze to sell well enough that more workers will be needed eventually.

Navarro added, however, that rumors have been swirling in dealer circles about the Orlando’s coming to Lordstown. Many people were talking about that possibility at a national dealers conference at the end of last year, he said.

Greg Greenwood, owner of Chevrolet dealerships in Austintown and Hubbard, said he’s heard that the management and union at Lordstown have been working hard to persuade GM that their plant is the best home for the Orlando.

GM has been keeping the Orlando’s manufacturing site under wraps since it announced in 2009 that it would bring the vehicle to showrooms in 2011.

Tom Mock, a spokesman at the Lordstown complex, acknowledged that rumors have been circulating for a long time that the vehicle would be made locally but said he couldn’t comment on them. He also declined to comment on Reuss’ announcement.

Mike Wall, an analyst for CSM Worldwide in Farmington Hills, Mich., said his company’s forecast calls for the Orlando to be made in Orion Township, Mich. That plant is idle now after GM stopped production of the Pontiac G6, but GM will begin making a new Chevrolet subcompact model there next year.

Wall said, however, that the visit by Reuss indicates that a major announcement is coming.

“Bringing Reuss down there is big time,” he added.

Also attending the announcement will be Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th.

Wall said adding a third shift at Lordstown would not surprise him, but he wondered if GM was ready to make that commitment before sales of the Cruze even start.

Reuss has said in the past that he wants plants to run at full capacity so they can be more efficient, and he wants plants to be flexible so they can produce multiple models, Wall said.

John Donahoe, Lordstown complex manager, said last year that up to seven models could now be built there after renovations to prepare for the Cruze. GM spent $351 million to add 800 robots that would create this flexibility.

In addition to rumors about Reuss’ announcement, there also is speculation as to how it will be made.

Greenwood said he has heard that Reuss will drive from Detroit in a Cruze. Executives have been driving them as part of GM’s road testing of early models that have been built in Lordstown, he said.

Reuss is to visit Greenwood’s Austintown dealership before the announcement. With him will be Diana Tremblay, vice president of manufacturing and labor.



1GetReal1006(9 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

@ FairandEqual, yes, because putting GM out of business will certainly help the interests of all GM retirees. Maybe you need to think that advice over.

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2Mer1(28 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago


Good post. I just want you to know that even if Delphi had their pensions covered, there are many in the valley who want GM to fail. Do you know why? Because they are envious of the wages a worker makes there. I left the area years ago and remember how people in the 80's were always complaining about the auto worker's wages. I agree that the auto worker's wages were too high and feel that they have taken concessions to get them close to where they should be. I've had both of my GM cars for over five years now and have spent a total of $130 on repairs (not including oil and filter changes and a set of tires). I'm glad the third shift will come back. Many of those guys moved here and bought homes only to be told less than a year later that they were laid off. I left the area in the late 80's in order to find better work but still root for the place to make a turnaround. If they hire new workers though, I hope they give everyone a fair shot at a job as opposed to hiring friends and relatives of people who are up the ladder already.

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3dasani1971(22 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Buy American. Simple as that. mazdas, hondas, toyotas---all profits go to japan or asia. Chevys--profits stay in the U.S.,,,what is so hard to understand? Anyone driving a foreign car should be made to leave the states,,u want to drive their car,go live in their country.

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4walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Does that mean that non-American should not buy American name plate products? Canadians should not buy US built cars? Germans should only buy Mercedes or BMW's? Sorry, but it is a global market.

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5Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The problem you have is those "foreign" companies aren't exactly foreign if they are using American workers to build their cars. Honda for example is a company that builds a lot of cars in the U.S.

It is fairly ambiguous, the "buy American" slogan. If I buy a car made in the U.S. by a foreign company that used American labor, does that mean I am not buying American?

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6dasani1971(22 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Thats exactly the problem, I say buy american and you come up with every excuse in the book not too, giving graphs, giving scenarios. Just buy american, how hard is it?

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7rocky14(788 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

90% of cars sold in Europe are made there.
I would say that is true in China,Japan,and South Korea.
Are we that stupid? Buy American---than some of those American cars wouldn't have to be made in Mexico and other countries.

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8walter_sobchak(2418 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

read my post, did I say not to buy American? I merely say that if you want to be protectionist, you are setting yourself up for failure. You say that if you buy a foreign car, you should live in that land. Therefore, if you live in a country that doesn't produce an auto, you can't buy one? I say buy whatever you want! BTW, I drive American cars. And, I also drove a Honda Accord for a rental and it was, far and away, the best car I had ever driven. I also drove a Chevy Impala rental and it was also good, but not quite as good as the Accord. But, it is hard to beat the resale value of the Honda. And, ask any mechanic what type of vehicle they fix the least. I still drive American though, because, in my job, if I piss off one prospective client because I drive a foreign car, it is one too many. So, I grin and bear it. I can assure you of one thing: I won't buy the junk they have peddled out of Lordstown! Not the worker's fault either; just poorly designed crap! Hopefully, teh Cruze will be better but I will wait for a few model years before I would consider one.

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9sue(177 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

If you buy a Honda made in Marysville, Ohio are you buying an American car?

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