Production of GM’s 2017 Cruze Begins Today

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – It’s been only a few short months since the redesigned 2016 Chevrolet Cruze began production at General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly Complex, but already the plant is ready to start production on the next model year.

The new models are set to be delivered to dealers nationwide in August. Except for a few minor changes – four new color options and a slightly different taillight shape, for example – the cars rolling off the assembly line will be largely the same as what’s been produced the past year or so.

“Our part is mostly the same with the structure. It’s minimal stuff due to the fact that the car is still brand-new,” UAW Local 1714 President Robert Morales said Thursday. “We’re still ramping up five months into it.”

Glenn Johnson, president of UAW Local 1112, said most of the changes are on the logistical side of the operation.

“A lot of it is just changing part numbers from 2016 to 2017,” he said yesterday. “It’s mostly working out logistics with the suppliers and making sure we have everything in-house at the time it needs to be changed and [taking out] anything that’s only for the 2016 inventory.”

Sales of the Cruze nationwide have been on the rise over the past months. In April, sales totaled 14,153, rising to 16,671 in May and again to 18,666 in June. To keep up with increasing sales, GM sold Cruzes built in its plant in Ramos Arzipe, Mexico, in conjunction with those built at Lordstown, which has supplied the entire U.S. market.

Next month, officials from GM Lordstown including Johnson and Morales, will visit the Ramos Arzipe plant and the Oshawa stamping plant to learn how they operate.

Both are designated as Built In Quality Level IV by General Motors, meaning they operate as efficiently as possible and have top-notch communication throughout its departments. The Lordstown plant is ranked as Built In Quality Level III.

“We’ll see how these plants run their processes and produce vehicles at the best quality they can. It’ll involve things like how long it takes to build, how they problem-solve and how they involve the team,” Morales said.

Johnson noted that the tours and production of the 2017 Cruzes weren’t intentionally aligned, but “the timing is excellent on it.”

It isn’t yet known whether production at the plant will increase – three shifts are already being run regularly at the plant – but Morales and Johnson said their workers are prepared to build more cars as needed.

“Demand is still there, whether it’s ’16 or ’17. I think customers demand the vehicle and we’ll keep up with it,” Morales said. “There’s a build schedule we have to build to and every day we try to meet that demand. If something comes up and we have to add a Saturday, we will.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.