Chevrolet's Lordstown plant taking week off to control Cruze inventory

Some were shocked when Chevrolet announced six months before the Cruze went on sale here in the U.S. that its assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio would be running three shifts to build the new small car. Three shifts suggested sales of more than 20,000 units per month, which seemed to some at the time as a big gamble considering the company's track record in the small car segment. But they hadn't experienced the Cruze yet, and neither had the American public.

Turns out that Chevy was right to turn the dial up to 11 on Cruze production, as demand for this global small car in the U.S. has remained high all year. Well, they were almost right. Now we've learned that Chevy plans to idle its Lordstown plant for one week starting November 28 because its supply of the Cruze has grown to large. Right now the company is sitting on a 70-day supply, while 60 days is usually considered an industry goal.

Rather than see the idle week as correcting a mistake, though, one should look at the decision to slow down production as evidence that GM isn't interested in making the same mistakes that lead it down the path to bankruptcy in 2009. The old GM would've kept cranking out Cruzes and used incentives and higher fleet sales to reduce supply. Instead, the new GM is giving the Lordstown workers, all 3,400 of them, their first break from building the Cruze in over a year.

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