By Kristen Russo
The Lordstown-built Chevrolet Cruze helped rev up sales for General Motors last month.
The automaker experienced a record increase in retail sales, up 70 percent over February 2010.
Meanwhile, retail sales for Chevrolet models increased 69 percent last month.
The Cruze led Chevrolet’s total sales with 18,556 models sold. Cruze sales are up 212 percent over the Cobalt, the compact car the Cruze replaced last year.
Chevrolet spokeswoman Lesley Hettinger said she isn’t surprised by the Cruze’s popularity.
“The Cruze is a high-volume vehicle for us, so it’s important that sales continue to increase over the coming months,” Hettinger said.
Tom Mock, spokesman for the Lordstown plant, said it’s comforting to see the work of GM’s Lordstown employees making such a positive impact for the company.
“What’s great is just to see how well the Cruze is doing across the U.S., and all of North America, for that matter,” Mock said.
“We’re so excited about the Cruze and the way it’s been received.”
Mock said the Cruze has helped bolster relationships between the plant and local dealers.
“We’re learning more about each other. We’ve always tried to maintain a strong relationship with our dealers, and the Cruze is helping us do that,” he said. “They just want us to keep building them.”
Mike Hudok, general manager at Stadium GM Superstore in Salem, agrees.
“[Lordstown] is really looking for our feedback to make the product better,” Hudok said.
His dealership sold 38 Cruzes in February.
“If anyone’s not driven a Cruze yet, they are missing out,” Hudok said.
“It’s one of the nicest vehicles that Lordstown has ever produced — if not the nicest — and it’s the best quality.”
David Sabolsky, general sales manager at Spitzer Chevrolet in North Jackson, also said the Cruze has strengthened relations between the dealership and the plant. He said a number of GM employees have come in to purchase or lease their own Cruzes.
“I think they’re really proud of what they’re building,” Sabolsky said.
Spitzer sold 62 Cruze models last month, and Sabolsky said he’s looking forward to March sales.
“Obviously, with Lordstown putting out a great car, that’s what’s helping us sell vehicles,” he said.
Greenwood Chevrolet, which has locations in Austintown and Hubbard, sold 80 Cruzes at its Austintown location last month.
Mark Fabian, general sales manager at the Austintown location, said sales are up across the board. The dealership, which calls itself “The Cruze Capital of America,” sold 277 vehicles last month.
GM’s total February sales increased 49 percent in the U.S. In total, there were 207,028 GMC, Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac models delivered to U.S. dealerships last month.
During the first two months of this year, total sales for all GM vehicles have increased 36 percent.
, while retail sales have increased 52 percent.