By GRACE WYLER
The Chevrolet Cruze, General Motors’ highly anticipated compact car, will cost just under $17,000 when it hits showrooms in September.
The Cruze, which will be built at the GM complex here, will start at $16,995, about $2,000 more than the Chevy Cobalt that it will replace, the company announced Thursday.
The Lordstown plant will stop making the Cobalt later this month and launch production of the Cruze in mid-July.
The Cruze is one of the most-important vehicles GM is launching this year, said David Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714, which represents workers at GM’s fabrication plant in Lordstown.
“There has been no other product out of Lordstown that has been this important, and few products out of the corporation have been this important,” Green said. “Our members are clear that all eyes are on us.”
Green, along with several local dealers, were pleasantly surprised by the pricing of the Cruze.
“It is really nice to hear that the base price is well under $20,000,” said David Sabolsky, general sales manager for Spitzer Chevrolet in North Jackson. “I was under the impression that it was going to be a little higher because of what this car can do.”
Although the Cruze base model will be more expensive than low-end models of the Ford Focus, the Honda Civic and the Toyota Corolla, there will be no comparison between the quality of the Cruze and other compact cars on the market, Sabolsky said.
“The quality that this car is going to have, up against the Corolla, up against the Honda Civic, it is not even in the same playing field,” Sabolsky said.
GM plans to launch four models of the Cruze:
The base model, the Cruze LS, will have a standard 1.8-liter Ecotec engine and six-speed manual transmission. The LS will have the standard safety features and standard convenience features including power windows, power door locks with remote keyless entry and a driver information center.
The Cruze LT will have a suggested price of $18,895. The LT model will have a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo engine, six-speed automatic transmission and 16-inch wheels.
The Cruze Eco, the vehicle’s most fuel- efficient model, will start at $18,895. The Eco is expected to get 40 miles per gallon on the highway, through its 17-inch alloy wheels with ultra low-rolling resistance tires and an enhanced aerodynamic performance package. This model will have the 1.4- liter Ecotec turbo engine and six-speed manual transmission,
The Cruze LTZ will start at $22,695, with a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo engine and six-speed automatic transmission. The LTZ package includes 18-inch wheels, leather interior, remote vehicle start, ultrasonic rear-parking assist and other features.
GM hopes the Cruze, which will be pitted against other vehicles in the competitive small-car segment, will attract new compact-car buyers looking for a fuel- efficient vehicle.
“We believe the Cruze can redefine the expectations for compact-car owners and shoppers who are new to the segment,” Jim Campbell, vice president of U.S. marketing for Chevrolet, said in a statement. “For the price of a compact car, Cruze offers the styling, safety features, roominess, amenities and refinement of a much more-expensive car.”
To showcase community excitement about the Cruze, a group of Austintown students joined representatives from the Lords- town complex Thursday to film a commercial for the new car.
The video — which features students from Austintown Fitch High School, Austintown Middle School, Frank Ohl Intermediate School and Watson Elementary School — will be viewed at a plantwide meeting in July.