Chevrolet confirmed today that it will build the next-generation Cruze in Ohio. That may not sound like news on the face of it -- after all, the Cruze already is assembled at the Lordstown plant in Warren, Ohio -- but it does hint that Chevrolet will revamp its popular compact in the next few years.
Although the Cruze was built and sold internationally since 2009, Chevrolet only started assembling the compact sedan in the U.S. in September 2010. Since then, the Lordstown factory has built over 500,000 copies of the Cruze. The facility works in tandem with General Motors' Parma metal stamping operation outside Cleveland, Ohio.
The announcement today promises a $220 million investment in tooling and equipment at both the Lordstown and Parma facilities to prepare them for building the next-generation Chevrolet Cruze. The company declined to say when that model will debut, but promised it will have a restyled exterior, more spacious interior, better fuel economy, and more storage space.
The next-gen Cruze probably won't appear for at least two years. Chevrolet already has promised to introduce a diesel-powered version of the Cruze by 2013, which will be built in Ohio alongside gasoline models. With that in mind, it seems unlikely Chevrolet would revamp its popular compact sedan immediately after launching a new engine choice.
Automotive News suggests the next-generation Cruze will launch in fall 2014 as a 2015 model. The car will reportedly launch on a new global chassis codenamed D2XX that could underpin several future General Motors vehicles. That timing means the diesel version of the current Cruze would be available for just over a year, a reasonable product cadence.
The Chevrolet Cruze has become one of General Motor's best-selling cars. So far this year, the Cruze has tallied 128,828 sales. Last year, Chevrolet sold 231,732 Cruzes here -- making it the second best-selling GM car in the U.S. for 2011, after the Silverado pickup truck line.
Sources: Chevrolet, Automotive News