Chevy Cruze Continues to Cruise
Although the Chevy Cruze had a brisk start when it was introduced as a model year 2011 car, and although it is the Chevy passenger car leader on a global basis (it has actually been available in several other markets prior to being rolled out in the U.S.; it originally went on sale elsewhere in 2009), things have slowed of late for the compact.
According to GM, through July, 128,838 Cruzes were shipped in the U.S. in 2012, as compared with 147,620 from January to July 2011. That’s a 12.7% decrease.
Still, that makes it the second best-selling car in the Chevy lineup (with Malibu being #1, with 153,782 being sold through July).
So GM has announced that it is going to build a next-generation Cruze at some unnamed time in the not-too-distant future at the Lordstown Complex in Ohio, where the car is presently produced. The nearby Parma Metal Center, which supplies stampings for the Cruze, is also part of the plan.
And the plan includes a $220-million investment in tooling and equipment at both facilities.
Since September 2010, when production of the Cruze commenced in Ohio, moe than 500,000 units have been built there.
The next Cruze is said to have new exterior and interior styling, improved fuel economy, and more storage space.
Here are some impressively large numbers.
Since Lordstown started producing cars in April 1966, it has built more than 14.6 million of them.
The Parma Metal Center, which provides stampings to most of the GM vehicles produced in North America, transformed more than 1,000 tons of steel per day in 2011, turning it into about 60 million parts.
This is a 1979 Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the first year the model appeared with its Schwarzeneggerian robustness, which happens to be incased in a block of amber-colored resin: Unlike the insects that are sometimes found encased in actual amber, objects that you can hold in your hand, this object measures 5.50 meters long, 2.55 meters wide and 3.10 meters high.
Adhesives are improving unibody strength and stiffness while reducing vehicle weight.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.