Click above for high-res gallery of the 2011 Chevy Cruze

The 2011 Chevy Cruze is a big deal. It's not Tom Cruise big, but when was the last time GM offered a truly competitive small car? The Cobalt has been around since 2005, and the Cavalier dates back to 1982. So it's been at least 26 years of Chevy offering a back of the pack small car. The Cruze is a bit different, having been developed not by GM's designers and engineers in North America, but by its European and Asia Pacific teams. It will debut at the Paris Motor Show in October and go on sale in Europe and Asia next year. About a year after that the Cruze will go on sale in the U.S., and that version will be built at GM's plant in Lordstown, OH. GM CEO Rick Wagoner was at the plant today to announce a $500 million investment in its U.S. operations to build the Cruze here, with more than $350 million earmarked for the Lordstown plant where the current Chevy Cobalt and Pontiac G5 are built.

The Lordstown plant will likely build the new Cruze side-by-side with the Cobalt and G5 for a while until the latter two are phased out. It rides on GM's new compact Delta platform, which itself will eventually underpin a number of new products including the highly anticipated Volt, the next-gen Astra and an upcoming MPV to replace the Euro-only Zafira that's likely coming to the U.S., as well.

UPDATE:
Two live shots of the Cruze from today's announcement from GM's Lordstown plant have been added to the gallery.

Related Gallery2011 Chevy Cruze

[Source: GM]


PRESS RELEASE

GM Announces $500 Million Investment For New Small Car

New Chevrolet Cruze to be built in Lordstown, Ohio

Lordstown, OHIO – General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rick Wagoner today announced that the company will invest more than $500 million in the U.S. to build the Chevrolet Cruze, an all-new global compact car. The vehicle will be built at its Lordstown, Ohio plant. The Chevy Cruze will be officially unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in a few short weeks. In a surprise move, the investment announcement was accompanied by a glimpse of the Cruze life-size show property.

The investment in Lordstown is one of several that have been announced at U.S. plants in the past five years, adding up to over $2 billion total investment in Ohio and more than $20 billion in the United States. "One of the key reasons for the success of the Chevrolet Cobalt and Pontiac G5 is the Lordstown workforce and the strong partnerships with the UAW and local and state officials," Wagoner said. "Based on the quality of work and these strong partnerships, we are pleased to announce our plans to invest another $500 million in the Chevy Cruze product program in the U.S., including more than $350 million in Lordstown."

Ed Peper, GMNA vice president of Chevrolet, spoke to GM's strong position in delivering fuel-efficient vehicles that consumers want to buy. "The Cruze will build on the already successful Chevrolet Cobalt, Cobalt XFE and Cobalt SS, all of which are nearly sold out in dealer showrooms," Peper said. "Our dealers are asking for many more Cobalts than we can build."

Chevrolet Cobalt sales are up 16 percent, year-to-date through July 2008, with an impressive 33 miles-per-gallonhighway. The new Cobalt XFE model jumps to 37 miles-per-gallon and is selling almost as soon as it's unloaded from the delivery trucks to dealerships.

The Chevrolet Cruze epitomizes the global nature of the automobile industry and General Motors' commitment to deliver fuel efficient, high-quality products. Cruze is the result of a development process harnessing GM's global design and engineering expertise. It is the first of a new family of compact Chevrolets that will continue the attention to quality, fuel efficiency, and strong value promise of the highly successful Malibu and all other vehicles under the Chevrolet brand.

"The Chevrolet Cruze was designed and engineered by our global teams in Europe and Asia Pacific and will be manufactured in those regions in addition to the assembly plant here in Lordstown, Ohio," Wagoner said. "Our goal for the Chevrolet Cruze is to lead in fuel economy in this very competitive car segment."

The new Cruze will be launched in Europe and Asia Pacific next year. It's scheduled to make its European debut at the Paris Motor Show in October.