Laid Off GM Workers 'Cruze' Back To Lordstown

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GM is adding 1,200 jobs at its assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio, to make the fuel-efficient compact Cruze. GM North America President Mark Reuss drove from Detroit to Lordstown in a Cruze, calling the compact the rebirth of the company. Reuss says the plant will rehire a full shift of laid off workers to make the vehicle.


General Motors had better news to report yesterday. It says it's bringing back 1,200 jobs at a plant near Youngstown, Ohio. Workers there will assemble one of GM's most strategically important cars.

From member station WKSU, Amanda Rabinowitz reports.

AMAND RABINOWITZ: GM president Mark Reuss drove his Chevrolet Cruze from Detroit to Lordstown, Ohio yesterday, bringing word that the plant will rehire a full shift of laid-off workers to make the fuel-efficient Cruze, due out later this year. It puts Lordstown back to round-the-clock production after cutting two shifts and nearly 3,000 jobs last year. Reuss says the Cruze will be GM's key product for competing in the small car market.

MARK REUSS: Every one of our competitors that this car goes up against today, it just thumps. And then we still beat the cars of what we think is going to happen in those competitions for the next five years. So this car is absolutely segment busting here in North America.

RABINOWITZ: But auto industry analyst Michelle Krebs of says putting all of GM's hopes into one car launch is a risky strategy.

MICHELLE KREBS: It's a small car that's got to do a big job for General Motors. It's going up against some products by Ford that are doing very well or are very promising. And it's going against strong products like the Toyota Corolla and the Honda Civic.

RABINOWITZ: U.S. production of the Cruze was delayed for four months after the company decided it needed to upgrade the automatic transmission. The first Cruze is expected to be in dealer showrooms this fall.

For NPR News, I'm Amanda Rabinowitz in Kent, Ohio.

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