2011 Chevrolet Cruze – Click above for high-res image gallery

It looks like General Motors is going to announce that Lordstown will be getting a third shift. Lordstown, Ohio is the plant where GM is going to be building its new compact Chevrolet Cruze, and apparently they think the demand is going to be pretty high for this handsome little sedan.

If you recall, Lordstown was supposed to be a round-the-clock plant when then-GM CEO Rick Wagoner announced a third shift and $350 million investment in the plant. That was way back In August 2008, though, before the carpocolypse. By September, the industry and whole country found themselves in a free-fall. By January 2009, two shifts were eliminated at Lordstwown, idling some 2,800 workers. Last April GM idled the whole plant for three weeks to cut supply and lower operating costs.

The addition of a third shift should bring a number of union employees back to work building the all-important new Cruze, wit the highly efficient, 40-mile-per-gallon Cruze arriving in dealerships this fall.

UPDATE:
General Motors made the extra shift at its Lordstown, OH plant official today saying it will add 1,200 new jobs. Follow the jump for GM's official press release.

Related GalleryLA 2009: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

[Source: Detroit News]
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General Motors Bringing 1,200 Jobs to Lordstown Complex
    • Third shift added to support production of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze·
    • The Chevrolet Cruze program represents a $500 million investment in U.S. manufacturing, including more than $350 million to revamp Lordstown facilities·
    • Chevrolet Cruze is a fuel-efficient global car coming to North America, affirming GM's product-focused turnaround strategy

LORDSTOWN, Ohio – General Motors will add a third shift at its Lordstown, Ohio complex, adding 1,200 jobs to support production of the new, 2011 Chevrolet Cruze compact car. As previously announced, the Chevrolet Cruze program represents a $500 million investment in U.S. manufacturing operations, which includes more than $350 million to re-tool the Lordstown facility.

Production begins in the third quarter and will increase the Lordstown workforce from 3,300 to 4,500. The third shift is expected to generate $47 million in additional payroll, $470,000 in local income taxes and $1.4 million in state income tax.

Since last July, GM has made announcements that represent about 5,515 new jobs and investment by the company of more than $1.4 billion in the United States.

"Adding a third shift to build Cruze is an investment with impact far beyond General Motors. It's an investment in the long-term value of Lordstown and the prosperity of Ohio," said Mark Reuss, president, GM North America. "It provides rewarding manufacturing jobs and efficient class-leading new cars for American car buyers."

"Lordstown is the latest announcement made by GM to secure the best possible manufacturing footprint to react to market demand and deliver cars and trucks faster to our customers."

Additional Ohio-based production support comes from:

  • GM's Defiance Foundry, which will build engine blocks for the Cruze
  • GM's Parma Metal Center, which will stamp 49 different components for the Cruze
  • GM's Toledo Powertrain Center, which produce transmissions for the Cruze (after initial vehicle production begins).
  • Eighteen Tier 1 suppliers located in the Lordstown area and throughout the state that will contribute numerous parts and subassemblies

"Cruze is a perfect example of how GM's turnaround is focused on the right products at the right time," said Reuss. "This is a global car already kicking goals in 60 international markets. Based on that reaction, we expect the plant will be busy building a hot seller for North America."

The 2011 Cruze is the first of a family of new Chevrolet small and compact cars that are designed to offer excellent fuel economy, outstanding quality and top safety ratings. Lordstown will produce Cruze models for the United States and Canada.

The Lordstown complex covers 5 million square feet and includes 25 miles of conveyors. Last year, the facility – which includes on on-site stamping plant – purchased nearly 102,000 tons of steel and recycled nearly 53,000 tons of it. Renovations in preparation for the Cruze include a new, state-of-the-art body shop, with more than 800 new robotic systems.

Since vehicle assembly started in 1966, the Lordstown complex has produced about 14.3 million GM cars. It currently builds the Chevrolet Cobalt, of which more than 1 million have been produced since its 2004 launch. Cobalt production will end as Cruze production ramps up this summer.

Recent GM production announcements and investments mean jobs
The addition of a third shift at Lordstown follows other recent decisions to strategically extend production capacity to deliver more hot selling products to North American buyers.

On Feb. 18, GM announced a $494 million investment and the creation of nearly 550 jobs, among three facilities, to produce the next-generation of fuel-efficient Ecotec four-cylinder engines.

Additional announcements include:

  • Third shifts added at the Fairfax, Kansas; Lansing Delta Township, Mich. and Fort Wayne, Ind. assembly plants, adding a total of 2,400 jobs; the third shift started at Fairfax last month, while the Lansing Delta Township and Fort Wayne third shifts start in the second quarter
  • The all-new Chevrolet Aveo, another member of Chevrolet's growing family of small and compact cars, will be built in Lake Orion, Mich. in 2011 for the North American market
  • A $246 million investment at GM's White Marsh, Md. Transmission plant to develop and manufacture electric motors in the U.S., which will create about 200 jobs.

GM has also announced an investment of $700 million in Michigan-area facilities to support production of the Chevrolet Volt, including the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, the Flint Engine South engine plant and a new lithium-ion battery pack plant in Brownstown Township, Mich.

Since launching the new GM last July, GM has made announcements representing investments totaling more than $1.4 billion at 18 facilities. These investments create more than 5,515 jobs and demonstrate a commitment to GM's future and to the United States.

Cruze brings midsize car presence to the compact segment
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze offers the spaciousness and amenities of a midsize car, combined with segment-leading features and details that challenge preconceived notions about what a compact car can be in North America. It also affirms Chevrolet's commitment to building refined, fuel-efficient vehicles featuring new, small-displacement four-cylinder Ecotec engines.

Cruze is expected to deliver segment-leading fuel economy of 40 mpg on the highway with a high-efficiency model, using a new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 turbo with variable valve timing – that's hybrid-like performance without the cost of a hybrid.

"Cruze is already a hit in Europe and Asia, and it is designed to challenge the status quo in America," said Jim Campbell, general manager, Chevrolet. "Along with the Volt electric vehicle, Cruze is the latest tangible example of how Chevrolet is working to bring new products to market that range from gas-friendly to gas-free."

The 2011 Cruze will be offered in LS, LT and LTZ trims. Standard and available equipment includes:

  • Ten standard air bags, including frontal, side-impact, roof rail head curtain, rear-seat side air bags and new front knee air bags
  • Bluetooth, USB connectivity and navigation system
  • XM Satellite Radio and OnStar
  • MacPherson strut front suspension and Z-link rear suspension, with 16-, 17- and 18-inch wheels
  • Standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, traction control and anti-lock brakes
  • Fuel-saving, rack-mounted electric power steering
  • Unexpected levels of quietness, smoothness and refinement for the segment.

All models share an interior characterized by upscale materials and a lengthy roster of equipment usually found in larger and more expensive vehicles. Available technologies include Bluetooth and a navigation system.

Cruze's Ecotec 1.4L turbo performs like a larger engine when needed, but retains the efficiency of a small-displacement four-cylinder in most driving conditions; it is standard on LT and LTZ models. Rated at an estimated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm), it enables a cruising range of more than 500 miles (800 km). Cruze will lead the way for Chevrolet in small-displacement, turbocharged Ecotec engines that are highly fuel-efficient and fun to drive.

Standard on LS models is an Ecotec 1.8L four-cylinder that has the same basic architecture as the 1.4L turbo. Both engines are designed with fuel efficiency in mind, including technology such as full variable valve timing that optimizes performance and fuel economy across the rpm band.

Backing the Cruze's engines are six-speed manual and automatic transmissions. Each contributes to Cruze's excellent fuel economy.

Engineers have already logged more than 4 million miles in quality and durability testing worldwide, making Cruze one of the most real world-tested GM products prior to a U.S. launch. It is backed by GM's five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty – the best coverage in America.

About General Motors
General Motors, one of the world's largest automakers, traces its roots back to 1908. With its global headquarters in Detroit, GM employs 204,000 people in every major region of the world and does business in some 140 countries. GM and its strategic partners produce cars and trucks in 34 countries, and sell and service these vehicles through the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling. GM's largest national market is the United States, followed by China, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Italy. GM's OnStar subsidiary is the industry leader in vehicle safety, security and information services. General Motors acquired operations from General Motors Corporation on July 10, 2009, and references to prior periods in this and other press materials refer to operations of the old General Motors Corporation. More information on the new General Motors can be found at www.gm.com.