Chevy Cruze on display at Cleveland Auto Show


Lordstown Assembly Complex, Parma Metal Center celebrate Cruze

By Kalea Hall

khall@vindy.com

CLEVELAND

As the Chevrolet Cruze gleamed in the light of the Cleveland Auto Show, representatives from the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex and Parma Metal Center talked about their partnership in building the compact car.

Teams from both sides used the auto show as the place to showcase their partnership Friday.

“They are integral to the build of the car,” said Glenn Johnson, president of the United Auto Workers Local 1112. “The UAW works together as a whole. It’s good having those folks right down the street.”

GM Lordstown has built vehicles for more than 50 years, and the metal center is in its seventh decade of stamping metal parts.

That metal is used in every vehicle General Motors makes except the Chevrolet Corvette.

The Lordstown-built Cruze makes up 13 percent of Parma’s production with 35,000 parts shipped to Lordstown every day.

The finished product in this Northeast Ohio partnership, the Cruze, will be on display at the IX Center during the Cleveland Auto Show which runs through March 4.

Production of the compact car launched in 2010. Since then, 1.8 million Cruzes have been built.

“For Lordstown and Parma, we are very committed to our manufacturing process,” said Rick Demuynck, plant manager.

The plants, Demuynck said, focus on safety, quality and productivity.

Last year, the stamping plant received “built-in-quality” level four. Built-in-quality is a process of securing quality at each phase of production.

“Our membership is pretty conscientious about the quality,” said Al Tiller, UAW Local 1005 shop chairman, representing 1,000 workers at Parma.

GM Lordstown earlier this year retained “built-in-quality” level three and is working toward level four. Meanwhile, Cruze sales have been down year over year for the last nine months. That’s despite the Cruze receiving the “Top Pick” title for a compact car from Consumer Reports in 2017.

The Cruze is the first domestic compact car in more than a decade to receive the “Top Pick” title.

The consumers’ shift away from small cars led to the loss of a third shift and more than 10 down weeks in 2017.

“The passenger-car market is still a critical part of the Chevrolet portfolio,” Demuynck said. “It’s still a very important segment. We made some tough decisions with the UAW so we can thrive during these conditions.”

The UAW Local 1112 represents all 3,000 workers at the GM Lordstown Complex, but before this month, the plant had two unions. UAW Local 1714 represented the fabrication plant workers at the complex since 1970 until it merged with UAW Local 1112 officially in early February.

“We did it for our members. For our company. For our facility. For our community,” Johnson said. “We know what an integral part we are in the community.”

Lordstown and Parma 2017 wages totaled more than $300 million and $60 million in payroll taxes. Charitable giving from the plants was more than $1 million.

Production of the Cruze, Johnson said, is going steady.

“We would love to sell more Cruzes,” he said. “Right now, we got what we got. Right now, we’re doing the best to make sure every vehicle is world class.”

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