• Jul 9th 2008 at 1:32PM
  • 71
click above for high-res gallery of next-gen Chevy Cobalt spy shots

Workers at GM's Lordstown, OH plant just got another shot of good news from the General: the next-gen compact car from Chevrolet will be built there. The Chevy Cruze will replace the Cobalt, which recently had a third shift added to its production, and will make its initial debut at the Paris Motor Show in October. Europeans will get the first shot at the new car with sales beginning in April of 2009. The U.S. won't get the car until the following year, as the Lordstown plant begins phasing out the Cobalt and ramping up production of the Cruze in June of 2010. Both cars will be built simultaneously for a short time, according to UAW Local 1714 President Dave Green, who represents the workers at the Lordstown assembly plant.

A look at recent spy shots has our interest piqued over the new small sedan. Styling looks to be worlds better than the just decent Cobalt and the promised forty miles per gallon sounds like just what the doctor ordered in the face of ever-increasing gas prices. Thanks for the tip, Tony!

[Source: WKBN News]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is it me or the photos or the camo, but does this car look at little tall? It doesn't look very sleek IMO (like the design of some other small sedans).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Carrying lots of weight, that prototype...

      Here's hoping it doesn't have the typical "cat in heat" rear end in the air stance but looks more like a Mazda3 or Civic (or this prototype), stance-wise.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Actually, not whether or not it's radical. Simply a comment on the stance... The current Cobalt would look better if it just had a rear suspension tune that didn't pre-suppose that it needed so much in the way of rear jounce for load carrying and push the rear end up so much. One of the things I've enjoyed about Civics and 3, et al, is that they have a great stance just sitting there.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The more Asian they can make it the better for sales. And they've succeeded. It can't be too radical for the US market. It took a year or more for the current Civic to start to wear in. There's a reason that all the midsize cars are so conservative. While you or I would like to see something more advanced, the buyers need to be eased into a new design.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The car will go on sale in Europe in April 2009. It won't be built in the US until June 2010. The story also mentions that that's when we'll see it, as the Lordstown plant stops making the current Cobalt and switches to this."

      The article doesnt say production will ONLY be in Lordstown. It just says that Lordstown will start making the car in 2010. I can read just fine. It will be produced in multiple facilities.
      • 7 Years Ago
      small hatchback?

      I don't know who's worse, Ford not bringing the Euro Focus over until 2010 (with performance versions afterwards) or GM not bringing this over till 2010 (ahem, *late* 2010 if they're not going to start ramping up production until June)... Of course, GM is pouring massive $$$$ on the Volt, and Ford is working on a performance Fusion, but *much* more important projects than getting a better smaller car over here... :(
      • 7 Years Ago
      And had they said they were going to retain the Cobalt name, there would be a series of posts claiming it is stupid of GM to assign the same name to a clean sheet design that is inifinitely superior to the current model.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ Harry

        FYI: The Cobalt's interior is just as bad and uses just as hard a plastic as the Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Ford Focus, Hyundai Accent, etc

        The only ACTUAL difference I can recall, having owned a Cobalt, a room mate who owns a 2007 Corolla, and having rented a Civic for a week (the higher-end one, EX if I recall), is the Civic has a nicer quality radio (feel of it, not audio), and it must be noted the Cobalt in 2007 (I had an 06) updated their radio with a much nicer unit than they had previously used, so that might be a moot point.

        The ONLY vehicles in this segment that don't fit the "crappy hard-plastic interior quality" bill would be the Saturn Astra, VW Jetta and Hyundai Elantra. Sorry to break it to you.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Brand equity is only good if its equity is positive. If only 50% of consumers have a positive impression of a brand, a company is better off starting fresh- no different than Toyota did with the Paseo and Echo. Neither of those models had enough positive brand equity to warrant retaining the name. Edsel is a name many people are familiar with, but I doubt Ford considered it when re-naming the Five Hundred.

        For all the espousing on autoblog about how terrible a car the Cobalt is, I find it rather amusing that so many find it a bad move on GM's behalf to not continue a name that is considered inferior to its' competition. By placing a new name on the new car, GM does not have to, in so many words, to tell potential customers that this Cobalt is much better than the one most people on autoblog said was crap- trust us. It is much easier to convince people that a brand without baggage is a wise choice than it is to sell one known for its cheap interior, bland styling, et al.

        Of course, those with actual marketing experience already know that.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I just don't think that's an accurate statement. Every new generation of car is, by definition, a clean sheet of paper (with the odd exception of course). The new Civic is a new platform from the old one. Every 5 years, like clockwork pretty much, the Civic gets a new platform. It's still a Civic.

        Joe Bag-o-donuts doesn't give a toss whether the platform is new, he cares about the market segment - compact, sedan, hatchback, etc. The current Civic is twice as big as a 1980 Civic but it's still a Civic.

        Brand equity 101 is keep the dang brand around long enough to build equity. This is self-sabotage, almost like GM is trying to lose as much money as possible as fast as possible. Corollas, Camries, Civics, and Accords will still be here while GM cycles through the next 10 misspelled vehicle names.
      • 7 Years Ago
      still doesn't hold a candle to the sweet Ford Fiesta or focus
      • 7 Years Ago
      The upside to this is that Europe gets to plush out all the first year quirks that pop up and Americans get a more reliable car the next year.

      Cruze? Not feeling it.

      Also, where is the coupe? It needs a coupe.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Dude said “Also, where is the coupe? It needs a coupe.”

        I say “Also, where is the hatchback? It needs a hatchback.”

        Although we’re fairly small in number, we hatchback/wagon aficionados won’t settle for something less practical. In order to sell in any quantity in non-USA markets, the Cruze will have to have a hatchback and/or wagon version to offer along side the 4-door sedan shown. Here’s hoping that GM decides to offer either to USA car shoppers.

        When it comes time to replace my xA in a year or two, I’ll be looking for a number of things:
        • Hatchback or wagon body style (5-door preferred; 3-door acceptable).
        • EPA city MPG rating of 27 or higher.
        • Manual trans.
        • Enough front passenger room to keep my 6’3” husband happy.
        • Priced well below $20K.

        The most probable candidate will be the next-gen Fit, although I’ll certainly look at the xD, the upcoming Fiesta, and Mazda 2 or Suzuki Swift (if we get either), maybe the Accent/Rio if the improvement in Hyundai/Kia continues at the present pace (and don’t suggest the Aveo; an Aveo rental was one of the most unpleasant drives in recent memory).

        These are all interesting candidates, so if GM can’t offer a desirable hatch/wagon that can satisfy my wants and needs, it’s their loss, not mine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Honda does a Civic re-design every 3-4 years, not a refresh but a new version. How long did we have to look at the Cavalier - it seemed like forever.

      Good to see GM quickly putting out a new small car but I think they need to stick with a name. Cobalt is fine with me. The current one isnt that bad and has not been around long enough to have the major negative knee jerk reaction, but maybe I am wrong. No one wants to say they drive a Cavalier, is Cobalt aslo that bad? Cruze is a horrible name though so changing it to that also sucks.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The civic (and most Hondas) are redesigned every 5 years. The civic was new in 2001 and 2006. The Accord was new in '98, 2003 and 2008. When has Honda ever redesigned the civic every 3 years? when has any automaker ever done that?

        The cavalier lasted about 12-13 years and the Cobalt will last 6 years, one more year than the Civic. Not a big deal in my book.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Could this be? Could an American car company be planning a small car that accually looks good?

      After nearly thirty years of complaining that small cars are not profitable has GM finally learned that if you build a car that is attractive inside and out consumers will be more incline to buy and spend more for the vehicle. Too bad it took them soooo long to learn this as Toyota, Honda, Nissan and a host of others learned this lession in the early 80's (when gas was relatively cheap) and continued to take an entire market segment from the American automakers.

      Good luck GM. I'm hoping that this car looks and feels good inside and out.
      • 7 Years Ago

      "Cruze" sounds young, makes it a new car to people who thought the Cobalt was a sxxtbox.


      Maybe they are taking some time to re-do the rear of the car so it instantly says "Chevy" instead of "which Korean am I"

      • 7 Years Ago
      ...and will the Cruze sold in Europe be sold here? Will it have the same engine if the Europeans get a more powerful version? Hopefully, because we often get watered-down copies of higher performance cars sold in Europe (Opels vs. Saturns for instance).
      • 7 Years Ago
      Does anyone see an Opel Insignia in this?
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