U.S. Sen. Rob Portman tours the Lordstown General Motors complex

By David Skolnick



After his first visit to the General Motors Lordstown complex, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, co-chairman of the Senate Auto Caucus, called it “a really inspiring experience.”

The Republican senator said Friday that he was impressed with the Chevrolet Cruze being built at the facility and the workers.

Lordstown “is producing a world-class car in a world-class production facility,” he said about the Cruze.

Every Chevrolet Cobalt made at the Lordstown facility has been recalled because of problems with its ignition switch. The Cobalt was made from 2005 to 2010, and was replaced by the Cruze.

When asked about the GM ignition-switch problems, Portman said a Senate subcommittee is having hearings on it.

“There needs to be not just accountability, but consequences,” he said. “It can’t happen again.”

GM has come under fire for the ignition-switch defect on small-model cars, which are tied to 13 deaths and more than 50 accidents. Company officials have admitted the switch problems were known for more than a decade before the recalls were announced in February.

The Cruze hasn’t been recalled for ignition-switch problems, but has been recalled for issues with its engine-block heater power cord, and the 2013 and 2014 models were recalled for problems with its driver’s-side air bags.

“Every car that comes through here gets checked and double-checked manually,” Portman said.

He added: “You don’t want to have a recall, because it’s incredibly expensive to the company and it makes the U.S. less competitive if we don’t produce high-quality cars. I believe this car, its service record and its standards speak for itself.”

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