Most auto dealers in the Mahoning Valley will soon be selling the 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel, after GM Lordstown has a launch event for 61 dealerships in eastern Ohio on Sept. 26.
Though a handful of dealerships in the Valley already have started selling the model, many have waited because General Motors announced that it would showcase the diesel Cruze for the first time at the Chicago Auto Show in February and introduce the model to buyers in major markets on the East and West coasts over the summer.
It’s unclear when GM will start to report sales figures for the diesel Cruze, but it will hit all markets this fall at a time when the regular Cruze has set a series of sales records across the country in the last three months.
Lordstown’s launch event will allow local dealers to drive a car back to their lots before deliveries arrive for sale at the end of September, said David Sabolsky, general sales manager at Spitzer Chevrolet in North Jackson. “We’re getting inquiries about the [diesel Cruze]. That’s a unique segment of the market, and the biggest reason I think GM is coming out with the car is because they’ve seen the success of the Volkswagen Jetta,” Sabolsky said. “This diesel Cruze is going to beat the competition, and that’s always the idea in a GM market like this.”
Sabolsky said Spitzer will receive its diesel Cruzes after the launch, and he expects them to sell fast. Sales in the local market are up 11 percent this year compared with 2012, as auto sales continue to grow nationwide.
For those who started receiving shipments in June and July, they can’t keep the diesel Cruze in stock.
“The sales are decent; the problem is we just don’t have enough,” said Shorty Navarro, owner of Stadium Chevrolet Buick GMC Superstore in Salem. Navarro said he’s driving a diesel Cruze, and he agreed with most that its gas mileage is unparalleled.
“I think once we get them in steadily, they’re going to keep going fast,” he added. “This is an ideal car for people driving to Cleveland or Pittsburgh for work.”
GM says the diesel Cruze will get 46 miles per gallon on the highway, and if the car is driven efficiently, consumers can get up to 50 miles per gallon on the highway.
The diesel Cruze is GM’s first diesel sedan to hit the market since the 1980s. Its primary competitor is the Volkswagen Jetta TDI, which gets 42 miles per gallon on the highway.
The diesel Cruze has a suggested retail price of $25,695. Rick Sandoval, sales manager at Greenwood Chevrolet in Austintown, said the company is offering 2.9 percent financing for 60 months.
Greenwood donated the first diesel Cruze it received to the Youngstown-Mahoning Valley United Way fundraising campaign.
“The sales people are really excited about this car; we’re proud of the fact it’s built here in Lordstown,” Sandoval said.
Doug Sweeney, at Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC in Boardman, said his dealership has received about five diesel Cruzes this summer — all but one have sold.
Lordstown began producing diesel Cruzes in April.
Tom Mock, communications manager at GM Lordstown, said it’s always a challenge to get a new model out to every dealership when it launches, saying, “It’s an incremental thing when you’re dealing with 4,200 Chevrolet dealerships in the U.S. and Canada.”