GM Lordstown ranks in Top 10 US auto producers
By Burton Speakman
Automobile Magazine has ranked General Motors Co.’s Lordstown plant as the ninth-highest producing vehicle plant in the United States.
In 2011, workers at the plant built 279,674 Chevrolet Cruzes. The plant has made more than 14.5 million vehicles since it opened in 1966. The Lordstown site was the only location in the top 10 that makes only one vehicle.
“We’re the No. 1 facility in the world when it comes to production of one line of vehicle,” said Glenn Johnson, president of United Auto Workers Local 1112 in Lordstown.
The facility always has been able to produce a large number of vehicles partially because Lordstown has always built smaller cars, which has led to fewer shutdowns, he said.
A lot of people understand the plant in Lordstown is large, but most probably do not understand how big it is in the “grand scheme of things.” Johnson said.
The plant always has employed a lot of people, and its economic impact expands beyond the Mahoning Valley. Workers in Northeast Ohio cities, such as Defiance, Parma and Canton among others, work for companies that supply parts for the Cruze, he said.
“It’s pretty impressive; there is no other way around it,” Johnson said.
The plant has more than 400,000 square feet. It is a tremendous undertaking producing there on a daily basis, he said.
It’s good for the plant to be included on list like this because it compares production for both foreign and domestic auto makers, said Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1714.
“I think part of this relates to our focus on quality in making sure parts are right so we don’t pass problems further up the line,” he said. “The plant has been focusing on quality like we never have before.”
People continue to buy the Cruze, with the vehicle selling between 16,000 and 22,000 per month, Green said. The plant does have the ability to build slightly more than are being sold.
The Lordstown plant was not the only Ohio production site to make the list. The Marysville Auto Plant, which makes the Honda Accord, Acura TL sedans and Acura RDX, finished seventh, making 285,258 vehicles.