By Grace Wyler
By Grace Wyler
The General Motors complex here is ramping up production this weekend to meet the growing demand for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
Workers at the Lordstown GM Complex are being called into the plant this Saturday for three shifts of overtime production on the Cruze, said plant spokesman Tom Mock.
“This will align our production with demand in the field,” Mock said. “Leadership is really ramping demand up, and of course that’s good for us and its good for the community.”
Workers at the plant are excited that production is picking up on the Cruze, said Jim Graham, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112, which represents the Lordstown assembly complex.
“The people on the floor have been waiting for this,” Graham said. “They are ready for overtime.”
The Cruze has been well-received by car buyers across the country since the car hit auto dealerships earlier this month, he said.
“We’ve got orders skyrocketing,” Graham said. “I fully anticipate that there are more Saturdays on the way.”
This weekend will be the fourth day of Saturday overtime for workers at the Lordstown West Complex, said David Green, president of UAW Local 1714, which represents workers in the fabrication plant.
“It feels good to start building more cars,” Green said. “We expect that pace to continue to increase over the next weeks and months.”
Cruze production has been slow since the Lordstown complex began making the car in early July, as the company increases its focus on quality over production targets.
The plant is expected to be at full production by the end of 2010.
The Cruze Eco, a highly-efficient model expected to get 40 miles to the gallon on the highway, is set to launch sometime in the fourth quarter.
GM continues to develop a battery-powered model of the Cruze. The company recently announced plans to launch a test fleet of electric Cruze cars in South Korea next month.
The project is being co-developed by the company’s South Korean division, GM Daewoo. The cars will be powered by batteries made by LG Chemical and LG Electronics.
The 31-kilowatt battery generates maximum power of 150 kilowatts, and the test vehicles have a range of up to 100 miles in preliminary testing, GM said.
The company said it is working on battery-charging capability, to improve the current charging time from eight to 10 hours on a standard 220-volt outlet.
GM plans to announce additional electric-vehicle fleets at undisclosed locations later this year.
The Chevy Volt, the company’s plug-in hybrid vehicle that will hit the market next month, will have a 16-kilowatt battery that will power the car for 40 miles.