General Motors is desperate to avoid the recall stigma that plagued the first year of North American production of the original Ford Focus a decade ago. That car was recalled five times in the first year to fix early production glitches. The new Chevrolet Cruze had been scheduled to launch production at the company's Lordstown, Ohio factory in April of next year, but that has now been pushed back to July.
Although earlier launches of the Cruze in China and Europe have not had any serious problems, as the first major new product since GM was re-born out of bankruptcy this summer, and the company wants to make sure nothing goes wrong in the U.S. as well. The Cruze is expected to hit 40 mpg in highway driving with its new 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder. According to reports, the delay will also give GM time to have every variant of Cruze ready for customers on day one. Often, production launches are staggered with some versions held back. This can frequently cause problems for an automaker if they don't build enough of the version people actually want to buy.