UAW, Lordstown plant leadership excited Cruze at center stage


By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

DETROIT

General Motors’ best-selling car has made its presence known worldwide thanks to the efforts of the employees and leadership at the Lordstown Assembly plant.

When the new 2016 Cruze hits showrooms next year, the goal is to build off the success of today’s model.

“Without [the Lordstown plant] it wouldn’t be here,” said Steve Notar Donato, Lordstown Assembly plant manager. “[There are] 4,500 people who are dedicated to continuing the reputation of building a quality car.”

At the Lordstown plant, about 1.3 million Cruzes have rolled off the assembly line.

“We are really, really excited as a team to be able to get our hands on this,” said Glenn Johnson, United Auto Workers Local 1112 president who represents the assembly workers. “We will build this, and we will involve our buying community and continue to just pump out Chevy Cruzes every day.”

Elected officials from the Mahoning Valley also welcomed the unveiling of the newly designed compact car.

“I am thrilled to see GM unveil the new Chevy Cruze. Since its debut, the Cruze has seen incredible success, selling more than 3.5 million cars globally. This is a testament to the amazing work that is done each and every day in Lordstown,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, D-13th. “This unveiling comes a year after GM showed their commitment to the Valley by investing $50 million into Lordstown. I am be proud of the work we do here at home.”

The success of the Cruze translates to success and job security at the Lordstown plant.

“This is what drives our community, and we couldn’t be more proud to bring this home to Lordstown, and have an opportunity to build it in Lordstown and sell it to the whole country,” Johnson said.

Johnson’s take is the new Cruze is a major step up in all features from technology, to spaciousness and design.

“Just the excitement and enthusiasm around the next-generation Chevy Cruze speaks volumes for everything we believe in the Mahoning Valley: blue-collar work ethic and great family values,” Johnson said.

To Notar Donato, the new Cruze builds on the features of today’s model that customers want from great gas mileage to connectivity and safety features.

“It’s everything it had and then some, and on top of that the styling, I think, is to die for, and I think people will be impressed by the amount of value people are getting for the package,” he said.

Sleek, roomy and sporty is how Robert Morales, president of the UAW Local 1714, who represents the fabrication plant workers, describes the new Cruze.

“I cannot wait for our membership to see the vehicle for themselves,” Morales said. “I think General Motors is committed to listening to the customers. Everything they have done with this Cruze, they have definitely hit a home run with it.”

The next-generation will be offered in more than 40 global markets and goes on sale first in North America in early 2016.

The Cruze will compete in the largest and most-competitive segment in the world: the compact-car segment.

In 2017, Chevrolet will introduce a new diesel model for U.S. customers that builds on the success of today’s Cruze diesel model.

“The original Chevy Cruze was a significant milestone for GM,” said Michelle Krebs, senior analyst for Autotrader. “The Chevy Cruze was the first car that proved General Motors could design and engineer a good small car and that a U.S. assembly plant with a once-cantankerous unionized workforce could build it.

“The new 2016 Chevy Cruze significantly ups the ante by packing lots of amenities and technology in a handsome design. The Chevy Cruze is an extremely important vehicle globally,” she said.

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