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GM invests $5.5M for 2013 Chevy Cruze at Lordstown



Published: Fri, October 21, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.

By Karl Henkel

khenkel@vindy.com

LORDSTOWN

General Motors Co. has renewed its commitment to the Mahoning Valley, this time with a $5.5 million investment to build the diesel Chevrolet Cruze.

GM on Thursday announced that the Lordstown plant has been awarded the rights to build the diesel Cruze, a product announced earlier this year.

“We’ve been trying to get a new investment for some time,” United Auto Workers Local 1112 President Jim Graham said. “And the driving force behind these new products is our membership. This brings us added job security.”

The Lordstown plant will start offline work on the diesel Cruze sometime next month and run validation tests next year.

Sales of the diesel Cruze are expected to start in 2013, said GM Lordstown spokesman Tom Mock.

“We’re real excited,” said UAW Local 1714 President Dave Green. “It’s going to give our customers another choice.”

Both Green and Graham said that all details of the investment — including additional jobs — have not been announced by the automaker but should come out over time.

The $5.5 million will be used to modify both the stamping and the body shop for the diesel engine.

Green previously said that with differing types of engines, the underbody of the vehicle needs modification.

Diesel engines get 20 percent to 40 percent better mileage than gasoline engines, which helps as automakers try to meet fuel-economy standards. Diesel fuel, however, costs about 10 percent more than regular-grade gas, and diesel engines cost more to produce.

Analysts expect the diesel Cruze to average about 50 miles per gallon, which would be about 7 mpg more than the diesel version sold in Europe. That’s about 8 mpg more than the U.S. Cruze ECO.

The model will be the first Detroit passenger-vehicle diesel since the 2006 Jeep Liberty CRD sport-utility. It is also the first diesel car from the Motor City since the 1980s.

Kristen Andersson, auto analyst at TrueCar.com, said the Cruze may be the first of many diesel variants offered in the U.S.

“Volkswagen has brought diesels [the Jetta] to the U.S., and they’re selling well,” she said. “The Cruze is the perfect car because they already sell a diesel version outside the U.S.”

Though GM has not announced a price for the new car, Andersson expects GM to offer it at a similar price point to the current model and the diesel Volkswagen Jetta — at least initially — somewhere around $20,000.

The news comes just a few weeks after the UAW ratified a new four-year contract with GM.

More than 70 percent of Local 1112, which assembles the Chevrolet Cruze, voted in favor of the new agreement, and union officials hinted that because the vote was so one-sided, they were hopeful the plant could secure an additional product.

GM had previously announced that it would build a diesel variant of the bestselling compact car — for which it has sold 212,019 units through the first 12 full months — but at the time did not say where it would be built.

The Vindicator, however, in a Sept. 26 story, reported the Detroit automaker had explored expansion projects and had focused on building the Cruze variant at one of two locations — Lake Orion, Mich., or Lordstown.

GM officials would not confirm the location at the time.

The $5.5 million investment is a good start, but Jay Williams, former Youngstown mayor and current federal auto czar, hinted that more could be on the way.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future, an additional investment is announced [for Lordstown],” he said.

Williams, who was at the Lake Orion plant a week ago with President Barack Obama, said Lordstown is “well regarded throughout the GM family and the industry” and that this investment further cements Lordstown’s importance.

Local politicians concurred with Williams.

“Any time a plant can add more vehicles, I think you’re seeing yourself in the context of the company,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Avon. said Lordstown was the clear choice to build the Cruze.

“As the home of the original bestselling Cruze, the Lordstown plant was far and away the clearest and best choice for building the diesel Cruze. This is tremendous news for the workers at Lordstown and the entire Mahoning Valley community,” Brown said in a statement.

“This ‘Made in Ohio’ car epitomizes how central Ohio workers and manufacturers are to the U.S. auto industry,” he added.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich also released a statement, saying the announcement “is further proof of the confidence that GM has in its Lordstown work force and of the confidence GM has in the jobs-friendly climate we’re working to create in Ohio.”


Comments

1ghostofjohnyoung(163 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Is this what this is really all about?

/ Diesel engines get 20 percent to 40 percent better mileage than gasoline engines, which helps as automakers try to meet fuel-
economy standards. /

Does GM get cashola from the feds to "retool" to meet these standards? Likely.

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2Freeatlast(1989 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

bla bla bla

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3Freeatlast(1989 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Looks like Fair and got his share is going to get more and more and he is still crying

President Barack Obama will sign into law today a bill that will have an impact on local Delphi retirees.

The Health Care Tax Credit subsidy available to Delphi workers through their Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association will increase from 65 percent to 72.5 percent as part of HR 2832, which also deals with free-trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and Trade Adjustment Assistance.

The subsidy covers the percentage of health-care insurance costs

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4VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

In addition, diesel fuel competes with home heating fuel, which is similar in it's processing. So, when demand is high for heating fuel (fuel oil) the price goes up on diesel fuel. It was once one of the cheapest fuels out there for heating as it was a by-product of gasoline refining. Now, due to demand, it is one of the highest priced fuels.

I believe the next step for GM would be to create a car engine designed to run on natural gas, since they claim we have a 100 year supply of natural gas within our domestic shale deposits. This would reduce our dependency on imported oil. But, then again, that will also compete with home heating gas...

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5VINDYAK(1799 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

So now we know who really runs this country. The Democraps are cowing to the unions to raise more money for their sinking president and his inability to work with Congress. He has created a "Jobs Bill" that he knew would not be passed by Congress just so he can polarize public opinion to his favor and get massive union support.

When all this dust settles next year, guess what, there will have to be massive lay-offs of public employees because unions refuse to compromise on contract negotiations. Not only will unions stick it to the taxpayer, they will also stick it to their own freshmen members. It's not about their members, nor about the state and federal government's plight, it's about power.

With this in mind, I wonder what really happened to Jimmy Hoffa.

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6nascar74(43 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Why whenever something happens at Lordstown do we always hear from the union people and never a GM spokesperson or management. Goes to show how lopsided this Valley is when it comes to the union mentality. Down with unions, down with GM and down with the Dems.

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7DwightK(1179 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Good for Lordstown means good for the Mahoning Valley. Now we just need GM to add an entirely new car line at the plant.

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8Freeatlast(1989 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

BLA BLA BLA

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9AnotherAverageCitizen(1172 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Good for GM

Good for Lordstown

Good for Mahoning Valley

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10zero(15 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

Where was everyone's anger when VW, Mercedes, BMW, or Jaguar started offering diesel engines in the US? Now that GM decides to offer one in their best selling car people get angry. Interesting...

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11captdinger(108 comments)posted 2 years, 5 months ago

I suppose a lot of you negative sob's in the valley would be happy if GM just shut the plant down and send all the jobs to some other plant. I'm sure there are plenty of other plants that would love to not only the Cruise, but the diesel version to. Give me a break. Why don't you go join Occupy Youngstown?

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