Lordstown-built Chevy Cruze tucked away at Detroit auto show


DETROIT (WYTV/AP) – The focus as Chevrolet unveiled what will be new for 2018 at the North American International Auto Show was on big vehicles and technology, not the Lordstown-built Cruze.

Chevrolet’s presentation at the auto show in Detroit Monday lasted about 20 minutes. Maybe 15 seconds was spent on cars. The Chevy Cruze was brought up only once.

Even though the Cruze was just mentioned in passing, two of the cars were on display, tucked away with no large crowds around them.

“We just revealed in the 2016 calendar year the all-new 2016 Chevy Cruze, both sedan and hatchback. So no big fundamental changes for ’17,” said Chevrolet Marketing Director Steve Marjoros.

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Alan Batey, president of GM’s North American operations, addressed the decision to shift operations at its facilities.

“The Cruze has done really well in its segment. The unfortunate thing is the segment has not done really well itself, so we’ve taken the appropriate measures to meet supply and demand,” he said.

Reducing that supply and demand has meant eliminating the third shift at GM’s Lordstown Complex.

Batey said it’s still too early to know if the third shift will be coming back, saying they have to take “one step at a time.” Still, GM is hopeful Cruze sales will pick up again.

“The car’s been really well-received, so yeah, we’re optimistic,” Batey said.

Marjoros said Chevy will be ready to build more Cruzes when people want them.

“If gas prices and things happen, and cars maybe become a little more in favor, then we’ll certainly be well-poised to meet that need.

Chevy’s big unveiling was the redesigned Traverse, which offers 24 storage compartments. Two other crossovers, the Trax and Equinox, have also been redesigned.

Then there’s the new all-electric Chevy Bolt. The Bolt was named top car in North America during a ceremony on Monday at the auto show. It gets 238 miles per charge and sells for $37,400.

GM CEO Mary Barra was also at Monday’s event. She did not speak but Sunday night, she said GM has no plans to change where it produces small cars, despite Donald Trump’s threat to tax cars built in Mexico.

The auto show opens to the public on Saturday and continues through January 22.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.