By on November 11, 2011

GM has made much of the fact that its Chevrolet Cruze compact has enjoyed strong sales this year, but volume alone isn’t enough to make it in today’s car industry. The key to profitability is keeping production in line with sales, so that plants don’t overproduce, in turn forcing profit-sapping incentives to move the metal. And, as these charts show, GM has been having success selling the Cruze, but not to the extent that it needs to keep production at its current levels. The graph above shows monthly production and sales levels for this year, and it shows that GM has already tried to adjust production once to keep it in line with slower-than-expected sales. But that wasn’t enough. With sales volume dropping the last four months in a row, and inventory jumping from 33 days to 43 days in the month of October alone, the UAW is reporting that the Lordstown plant where Cruze is built will be idled for the entire week of November 28. According to the announcement

The down week is necessary to align production with current market demand. The scheduling modification is attributed to traditional seasonal buying behavior coupled with competitors’ recovering inventories previously impacted by the March earthquake in Japan.

Like a lot of recent Detroit products, the Cruze has received a lot of positive press due to its giant improvement in quality and sales compared to its predecessor. But with demand softening, and GM’s brass fretting over profitability margins as the market shifts to smaller cars, it’s clear that the Cruze’s ultimate success has yet to be proven.

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74 Comments on “Chevy Idles Cruze Production As Inventories Build...”


  • avatar
    wsn

    “GM has made much of the fact that its Chevrolet Cruze compact has enjoyed strong sales this year”

    Strong sales to the dealers.

    It would be best if we can see Civic/Corolla/Focus curves on the same graph.

    • 0 avatar
      philadlj

      It would be best if we can see Civic/Corolla/Focus curves on the same graph.

      Agreed. Elantra and Jetta too…like this chart:

      http://images.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/graph-67.png

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        That chart doesn’t show dealer volume, though. For example, everything I’ve read/seen has shown the Focus demand is out-stripping supply, whereas even here in Chevy-friendly Wisconsin you always seen a ton of Cruzes on dealer lots. I’ve seen two Focii on dealer lots in Green Bay and the Milwaukee area since I bought my hatch back in early September.

        Each area is different, of course, but overall I’ve gotten the feeling they simply make more Cruzes than Focii. Could be wrong, though.

      • 0 avatar
        Volt 230

        Maybe its just running out of steam, or educated consumers are reading the less than stellar reliability data from CR and JD Power

  • avatar
    gslippy

    Gee, maybe the Cruze is losing sales to the Volt. Ignoring their magnitudes, their numbers are going in opposite directions.

  • avatar
    ppxhbqt

    What am I missing with these two charts? They appear to be a chart of the same thing, just with different plots.

  • avatar
    mike978

    This seems eminently sensible that no-one should really be complaining. Inventory at 43 days is still reasonable but will if sales stay around 15K increase further even with a week off. Although isn`t December/January usually strong months? I don`t see any issue if they keep inventory at or below the typical 60 days. The financial reports will be the most important metric – profitability.
    At least they are not trying to solve the issue with massively increased incentives like the old days – that surely is a good sign.

    Edit – do they have a 1 or 2 week Christmas shutdown? If so that will also help trim inventory ready for 2012.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    Production line adjustments for the new Buick Verano!

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      Verano will be built at Orion Township, along with the Sonic.

      • 0 avatar
        alluster

        Lordstown has a monthly capacity around 28,000 Units. I wonder why GM didn’t decide to build the Verano alongside the Cruze since they are based off the same platform. Even including Canada sales, there is no way the Cruze will sell 28,000 Units a month, at least in the first few years it was released.

        With the Nox and Terrain on a tear and demand far outstripping supply, they should have added Orion assembly as overflow for the Equinox. The Theta twins had production increases five times and are still in short supply.

        GM seems to have a much tougher time selling cars compared to suv’s.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Word’s getting out that it’s a typical GM POS. Inevitable, but true. Civic and Corolla are getting back on track and will kick its butt. It’s just another Cavalier whose door locks stop working after two weeks, then the transmission goes at 3 weeks. Typical GM. Oh, and what about those “snap-off” steering wheels? Ignorance is bliss…just keep buying GM cars and my 100,000-mile Civic EX with NO problems so far will pass your 100-mile Cruze sitting on the shoulder with a white rag tied to the door handle. And I’ll be sure to wave.

    • 0 avatar
      Selektaa

      Troll much?

      • 0 avatar
        Mr. K

        The Corvic Kool Aid is powerful stuff. Perhaps GM cars tended to have less then intact interiors but there are untold millions of old J body cars providing reliable if far from state of the art transportation out there.

        The Cruze does seem to be doing well, but it will be 3-5 years before the verdict is in.

      • 0 avatar

        Know what’s the most common reaction I hear from car guys who end up renting a Cobalt?

        “I don’t know why folks say it’s a bad car. It may not be a class leader but it’s a decent compact car”.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        renting =/ witnessed long term reliability

      • 0 avatar
        Zackman

        @Ronnie:

        “I don’t know why folks say it’s a bad car. It may not be a class leader but it’s a decent compact car”.

        The Cobalt/Cavalier isn’t called the “Cockroach of the Road”(c) for nothing! FWIW I see Cruzes all over the place in the Cincinnati area.

        (Copyright: Geozinger)

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      Kevin Kluttz – the biggest moron I’ve seen on TTAC so far.

      Enjoy the drive in your six-digit Civic all the way into the trash bin, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      Civic back on track? Even the toaster testers at CR panned the new Civic, as did every print publication. If you are going to troll, at least base your rambling on established facts before you start distorting…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Back on track as in Civics are reaching dealers and once again selling better than Cruzes, Foci, Jettas, and other assorted mistakes. There was an article here recently with October sales numbers for the segment, and Corolla and Civic are back to 1 and 2 in sales. If you’re going to ‘correct’ people’s posts, at least make sure you know what the facts are before you expose yourself.

        http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/11/chart-of-the-day-compact-cars-in-october-and-year-to-date-bonus-edition/

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        You know, it’s fine and all that you like the Civic more than other small cars, but I find your condescending and downright hostile attitude towards anything that ISN’T a Honda or Toyota (and by extension people in the market who don’t buy them) a bit offensive.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        SV – you aren`t the only one who finds most CJ posts to be offensive and snide. He has been reprimanded in the past and no doubt will again.
        He has never answered why if Honda is so good do they only have a 1% market share in Europe and rely on Japan and the US for their sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Zykotec

        Seriously, for whatever reason CJ has been reprimanded earlier, his post this time was only the thruth as far as I can see. And even if Opel does make more reliable cars now than in the 80′s (as does Ford in Europe) not even their best cars are as reliable as the worst cars Toyota and Honda makes early on monday mornings.
        On the other hand, there are other qualities to a car than reliability, which is why the japanese don’t sell much in Europe. Europe didn’t welcome them with open arms like the US did during the 70′s (apart from Britain) (and the fact that Honda hasn’t made a decent try to attack Europe in the past)

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        He has never answered why if Honda is so good do they only have a 1% market share in Europe and rely on Japan and the US for their sales.

        He hasn’t, but I have. As usual, you keep with your endless apologies for Detroit, while ignoring the facts that you don’t serve you.

        I’ll summarize the last answer that I gave to you on this topic:

        -Europeans drive fewer miles than do Americans, so reliability is not the issue for the average European driver that it is here.

        -Many European middle class workers receive some sort of company car benefit, so the costs and problems associated with reliability aren’t as much as an issue for those owners.

        -The Europeans maintain a 10% import tariff on cars, which limits the Japanese ability to compete on price; US tariffs are 2.5%.

        -During the years that the Japanese were establishing their foothold in the US, trade restraints and contract limitations kept them from doing the same in Europe. That left them with few cars to sell and a limited network through which they could sell them.

        -Automotive nationalism is still strong in much of Europe.

        In other words, there are plenty of reasons that have nothing to do with the product not allegedly being reliable. The JD Power survey in the UK typically gives the highest ratings to Toyota and Honda cars, even if the sales volumes don’t match the ratings.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        PCH – thanks for replying. Lets get one thing straight. I am not an apologist for the Detroit three, I have never owned one of their vehicles. I have a Subaru and a Toyota – hardly evidence of an anti-Japanese bias! Please show me some evidence of being an apologist (pretty strong accusation). I have criticized GM (and the other American manufacturers) on here plenty of times. In this case they are doing the right thing reducing production rather than raising incentives. Just as people like you have said they should. Maybe they are damned if they do, damned if they don’t!
        As to your points – you have some valid points but :

        - Europeans do drive less, on average, but warranties are usually for much more mileage, such as 3 year 60K miles (for all mainstream manufacturers). That is longer than BMW, Cadillac, Toyota, Infiniti etc in the US. I wonder why they offer so much mileage if no-one uses it!
        - I didn`t know about the tariffs and that explains some loss of sales. However Europe is not as price conscious for cars as the US is. Hence why in the UK the BMW 3 series is a top 10 seller. Why VW and Audi do better than Skoda (same technology, cheaper but lower status brand)
        -As for nationalism, I would agree there is some but that is limited to Germany, France and Italy. If it was as important as you say why would Kia/Hyundai have nearly 67% market share. Last I checked they are not a European group.
        -As for company car benefit, speaking of the UK (where I have knowledge from) that benefit has been for the past decade taxed out of existence. So it is minimal.

        And to think you accuse me of being a Detroit apologist when it could sound to many that you are a Japanese apologist! And I think the term apologist is thrown around to easily on here. When what you really mean is someone has a legitimate difference of opinion with you.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        CJ, selling well does not a good car make. The J car sold in droves, yet you would consider it a POS. I never said anything about sales numbers. I never said the Cruze was a good car either. I said that the print publications have all been disappointed by the new Civic and that is an indisputable fact. So before you chastise someone, be sure you read what was said before commenting. I know the Civic kool aid is strong and causing you to slur your speech a bit but you Honda fanbois should be concerned if the new Civic is indicative of what direction Honda is moving. Honda once led the pack. Not anymore, or so it seems.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “CJ, selling well does not a good car make.”

        Obviously not, just look at the Chevy Citation, the Ford Mustang II, the new Explorer, and the Oldsmobile diesels. Selling well year in, year out is a reflection of a product that meets the expectations of buyers. If Ford and GM built their full sized trucks as badly as their cars, they’d have given that market away as well. If Toyotas and Hondas were a decade away from being the most dependable and efficient cars as people want to pretend here, then they’d be as susceptible to new alternatives as they were to a tsunami and a flood. Instead, there are people waiting when their cars are reaching dealers. As for the press, the press is ridiculous. Just read Baruth’s articles on how good reviews are bought. Look at a list of Motor Trend COTYs and try not to laugh. I just caught up on a few months of CandDs and AWs and it was comic relief. Car and Driver had a long term Audi A4 that performed very well, and the article emphasized how they were surprised to discover they could get by with so little car, this being a mere 4 cylinder $41K compact sedan, not their usual loaded flagship. Most of the problems they had were attributed to dealer incompetence, which was generous of them. When it came to a new Nissan GT-R article, they explained how Nissan ‘understandably’ balked at warranty claims from cars launched with VDC defeated, since the owner’s manual said the defeat switch was meant for freeing the car from snow. How understandable was it when Car and Driver explained to their readers that turning off VDC was the key to a good launch and trimmed .9 sec off the 0-60 time and Nissan’s print ads all boasted of the time Car and Drive achieved by turning off VDC? The magazines have no credibility, and a bunch of saps have crummy cars as a result. Being everyone I know’s go-to for automotive problems, I hate when people come to me with awful cars that they shouldn’t have bought in the first place. Thanks to lying automotive journalists and internet shills, it will continue to happen.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Kevin, Toyota just called: your check will be late this month because they’re still mopping up the office in Thailand.
      Sadly, you mistake pretty switches and knobs for durability. Yeah, the Cavalier had a FUGLY interior, no argument there, but the hoary old 2.2 pushrod was bulletproof and the bodies didn’t recycle themselves after 5 or 6 years like Toyotas do here. (I guess we should be thankful you only went back as far as the Cavalier, and not all the way to the Chevette, Vega or Corvair.)
      As the dealer principal of our Chevy store used to say (his dad owned the company and we had Toyota stores, too), ‘Never be afraid to stack up the Chevy to a Toyota,” this was as he stormed out of a sales meeting to drive over to one of the Toyota stores they owned where yet (another) happy customer was throwing things in the service department over a POS Rav4.
      BTW, I used to sell a lot of Cavaliers just by deliberately having the prospect test drive it down a local major road that was uneven and bumpy from all the truck/bus traffic. As I made my trial closes, if they mentioned driving the Corolla, we’d go straight to our closest Toyota store and get the keys. Driving up the same nasty road, the cowel shake and the shuddering door frames of the Corolla was very, very obvious. Another Cavalier SOLD.
      (After the major 2003 re-do, the ecotec and suspension/steering upgrades made the job even easier.)

      • 0 avatar
        84Cressida

        LOLLLLLLL. the Cavalier “reliable”? Yeah, reliably terrible. Out here where cars last a long time and don’t rust, you hardly ever see one of those turds, even the newer ones, unless you venture into the junkyard. A Corolla that has been totalled, burned, submerged in water, and beaten to death is a far better car than any Crapalier. I feel so sorry for the saps you managed to foist a Cav on. I’ll bet they aren’t fond of you now.

      • 0 avatar
        PJ McCombs

        My first car was a 1984 Cavalier wagon, and although it was dead-nuts reliable (built on a Monday when the boss was watching, we said), the way that it thumped, banged, and skittered over bumps actually frightened some passengers.

        The last Cavalier I rented in 2004 looked newer, but felt about the same compared to its contemporaries. I’d be very surprised if a torsional-stiffness test didn’t favor the Corolla.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        I detailed a 2007 Camry with 60,000 klms ,for a dealer I do a little work for.

        I couldn’t believe what a POS it was. It rattled, sqweeked and drove like a tractor.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Completely torn here. Only two Nissans (300ZX and a Pathfinder) and one Toyota 4Runner and loved all of them. Have to give my preference to Nissans. Hated the way Hondas and Toyotas sounded so tinny when you closed the doors. As well loathed the ride. Could never figure out what was so appealing about a Honda or a Toyota.

        However, the Cavalier for most of its time was a unmitigated POS. There was a brief period from ’93 to ’95 with the updated body style and upgrade of engine to the 2.2L (yet somehow holding on to the horrifyingly hoary 3.1L V6 in the “Z24″) that the Cav was competitive. It did well until the ’95 Civic came available.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        My wife had a 1999 Cavalier. The engine died at 113,000 miles, and the air conditioning had conked out at about 50,000 miles (as it did in the Cavalier of a friend). Sorry, but reliable is NOT a word I would use to describe the Cavalier.

        Even when it was working, the car was loud, the engine was coarse and the seats were uncomfortable.

      • 0 avatar
        geozinger

        I try not to involve myself in these internet p!ss!ng matches anymore, but my experiences have been much different than many of yours.

        My J’s have served me reliably for many years, although now they’re so old that if a major component dies, I will gladly send it off to it’s reward as a parts donor. I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of the little cockroaches. Without getting into a lengthy post, I would have no problem buying another small GM product.

  • avatar
    sunridge place

    This chart appears to show US and Canadian production #’s from Lordstown but only US sales.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      Very good catch. Canadian sales in October were 2513 units. Cruze is still being produced more than it needs to be right now, especially with more production coming back online from Japan.

      • 0 avatar
        sunridge place

        Agree that production needs to be dialed back a bit. The chart should at least reference the fact that the production #’s include vehicles being shipped to Canadian dealers while the sales #’s do not reflect Canadian deliveries.

        Roughly, chart 2 should show about 220,000 deliveries YTD vs the 200,000 or so it shows. And in chart 1, it should have an extra 2000 or so deliveries a month give or take.

        I think they are still running three shifts there–not sure if there’s any OT>

        So, rather than layoff a shift, this is the natural first step. I would imagine dropping a shift would be the next step if occasional shutdowns isn’t enough to keep production in line with demand.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    A development worth watching.

  • avatar
    Diewaldo

    Well, from my German perspective I really wondered why the Cruze was selling so well, because compared to its competitors on the European market it still is one step below competiton.

    It is the cheaper and uglier sister of the Opel Astra. The Astra is on par with the new Focus, the Cruze … not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      I’ll agree to that – while Ford has been keeping each new release about as global as can be, Chevy hasn’t quite followed it’s European cousins on that one.

    • 0 avatar
      stroker49

      From a Swedish perspective. I think it seems very much like the same car as the Opel Astra. However, you actually see quite a number of these Chevrolet Cruze here in Sweden (made in S Korea). But what is the General doing, who are they competing with? Themselves again? Or have they realised that Opel will go bancrupt in the future and then it is good to have the chanells on track to pump out still living GM brands?

      • 0 avatar
        Diewaldo

        Well, let’s put it the other way round to really represent the facts. Opel is the engineering powerhouse of GM. That is why they could not sell it and will not sell it.

        How can I prove this? Simple: Hyundai/Kia has located its new European center for design and engineering in Rüsselsheim … in the same small city where Opel is located as well.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        So Hyundai/Kia want to soak up any spare engineers? In our small town there are five custom automation engineering firms. People move from one to the next to the next as the years go by and sometimes return to the first one if the money is offered. As a result everyone knows each other and there is some engineering “cross pollination” going on. Some particularly experienced employees use this against the employers to negotiate the best pay/benefits (as they should).

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      Diewaldo – I thought Chevy was meant to be one step beneath European Ford and Opel. Opel was to move, over time, to be more upmarket like European VW models. It would have been silly to have two identical cars with the Cruze and Astra – the Astra has to be better to justify the higher price in Europe.

      • 0 avatar
        Diewaldo

        Well, this whole upmarket thing is very questionable. VW is not seen as an upmarket brand in Germany, I think GM has no real understanding of the European market, so it is bound to fail!

        The VW Golf is what the Beetle once was … simply the car that everybody can drive regardless of social status and income. And this is why it is at the top of the sales chart every year, over and over.

        Let’s face the facts:

        The Cruze is competing at the lowest end of the market. Pricing here in Germany is 11.990 € for the hatch. The Astra hatch starts at 15.990 €, the Ford Focus at 16.850 € and the VW Golf at 16.975 €.

        So the Astra is certainly not upmarket … it competes in the medium priced segment were the biggest volume in Europe is moved and not with the likes of Mercedes B-Class and BMW 1er or Audi A3.

        The Cruze is competing at the low end of the market … and blessed with an questionable image as a rebadged Daewoo product. The Opel will continue to outsell it, even at the mentioned price gap. The styling of the Cruze, the interior and the refinement are still behind most of its competiton.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Diewaldo – you are correct the Cruze is behind most of its competitors. I would just add the words “in Europe”. Since the quality of the cars (in terms of refinement, interior materials etc) is higher in Europe than the US. As witnessed by Euro Honda Accord is US Acura TSX, Opel Insignia is Buick Regal and Euro VW Passat was too expensive to sell in the US.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      I wonder how different the EU Focus is with the NA Focus. To me, the NA Focus is on part with the NA Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        fvfvsix

        I don’t think it helps that GM has destroyed Chevrolet’s brand image in Europe with a decade of bad Daewoos. Several people I know in various European countries have told me that Chevy is a “crap” brand in Europe. The Cruze probably has that image to overcome… or the European product planners have contented appropriately with purchasing expectations.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        Decades of bad Daewoos? I thought Daewoo started in the early 1990′s (using 1980′s Opels) and Daewoo disappeared after 10-15 years. So a while but hardly a lengthy time on the market.
        It is true it is viewed as a downmarket brand, but it still sells close to Honda levels and then have Opel above it.

  • avatar
    monomille

    The recent Consumer Reports Reliability Survey showing lackluster reliability results for the Cruze may be having some effect.

    • 0 avatar
      Diewaldo

      Is there a rebadged Daewoo that ever received a good result in a consumer report?

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        Or a non-rebadged, Daewoo Daewoo?

      • 0 avatar
        tced2

        Daewoo as an entity disappeared 10 years ago (according to Wikipedia). Was the Cruze/Astra-Daewoo car even a twinkle in anyone’s eyes 10 years ago? I think it’s time that “it’s a Daewoo” should disappear. But there should be recognition that there’s not a lot of basic American engineering in the Cruze.

      • 0 avatar
        eldard

        But the Daewoo name lived on in different forms until very recently. Why didn’t GM use the name is beyond me. It sounds high end. Probably because of the ‘woo’ I always thought they made good audio speakers. lolz

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Daewoo may have become a subsidiary of GM many years ago, but they’ve still been turning out some of the worst cars offered here as recently as the 2009 Suzuki Forenza. Incidentally, the Forenza was a Daewoo Lacetti in other markets, just like the ‘Chevrolet Cruze.’ GM chose Daewoo to engineer their new small cars for North America in spite of the fact that Daewoo has a terrible reputation based on recent performance. I suppose the press is cheaper than engineering and product.

      • 0 avatar
        GarbageMotorsCo.

        Daewoo is known under the GM umbrella as “GM-DAT (Daewoo Auto Tech, I believe) and is responsible for a lot of GM’s small cars as well as a few of the older Suzuki models when zuk was under the GM umbrella as well.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I’m no Chevy/GM man….but I have to say after driving several rentals and pricing one out for a friend, it’s a solid choice… certainly better than the Corolla and Sentra. Miles better than the Cobalt.

    • 0 avatar
      joeaverage

      Let me know how your Cruze does after 150K miles. We have alot of GM’s in the extended family. My sister’s sub 150K mile Buick went down again needing a starter. Last time it was an alternator and before that the a/c.

      Nope. I haven’t enough confidence or patience yet in the GM products to actually buy one.

  • avatar
    v8corvairpickup

    In the recreational vehicle world, the Cruze was being pushed by GM as the next big thing. Customers were told that the Cruze was able to be towed behind an RV with 4 wheels on the ground. Suppliers make components for the Cruze. RV’ers bought lots of the Cruze. Transmissions started failing after being towed. GM sent out technical bulletins advising RV’ers no longer tow the Cruze and GM would assist with alternatives. Now the Cruze has lost a potential niche.

  • avatar
    alluster

    YTD Chevy has sold 207,600 Compacts (Cruze + Volt + Cobalt) compared to 103,300 last year, 104,300 more units in 10 months. Lordstown has been cranking them out three shifts non stop for a while now with no maintenance. While demand has definitely cooled, its more of a seasonal factor. Gas is also very cheap, relative to April -July period.

    Nothing wrong in GM trying to align production with demand. GM has to do this to enjoy a 3000$ price premium in ATP over the Corolla and 2000$ over the Civic.

    Like someone mentioned, the chart above does not include Canadian and Mexican production, about 2500 units a month or 25,000 units for the first ten.

    EDIT – i meant Canadian and Mexican sales

  • avatar
    Pch101

    it’s clear that the Cruze’s ultimate success has yet to be proven

    The chart shows a summer peak of about 25,000 units per month, returning to about 15,000 units.

    15,000 units per month is nothing to sneeze at. Even if 25-30% of that is fleet (which I suspect that it is), that would still probably add up to the car being profitable. Not quite a home run, but competitive and good for the bottom line.

    I would be watching reliability, though. Let’s remember that the Vega and Chevette all sold well, yet ultimately harmed GM in spite of the volumes. It’s nice that they’ve improved the packaging, but a pretty car that breaks is still a broken car.

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    Earlier this year, I was in the market for a new commuter car. I decided to not repeat the mistake of buying a one trick pony like the 2007 Prius I had (good gas mileage, but a couple of niggly electrical problems, poor comfort for long trips, and dangerous winter traction, with the inability to turn traction control off.)

    After testing several cars, I settled on a Cruze Eco with the manual transmission. In the 6 months I’ve owned it, I’ve put almost 12,000 miles on it with zero issues. We used it for a 2000 mile vacation trip from New England to the hottest summer weather in DC, then to PA and MI without a complaint. It’s one of the more comfortable cars I’ve ever owned, especially for a small car. My overall fuel mileage is 39.8mpg, which doesn’t hurt either.

    I don’t always agree with some magazines like Consumer Reports. While my sample size is a lot smaller, I’ll give an example. They rate the 2002 Olds Alero as a poorer than average performer and the 2002 Toyota Camry a much better than average performer.

    My wife has a 2002 Alero, and the only non-wear parts we’ve replaced are the front tie rod ends. My ex-wife has a 2002 Camry, and it’s going to the shop every other month, mostly for engine and electrical issues. Both cars are almost identical mileage-wise (around 150,000 miles) We pay a small fraction of maintenance cost on the Alero compared to the ex’s Camry.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      While that may be true, the Camry is a good bet, reliability wise. Even though there are many things about a Camry that make it a non-starter for anybody who enjoys driving and who appreciates that bond between man and machine, the reliability has always been there.

      • 0 avatar
        carbiz

        In my experience in the ‘biz, import buyers are of a different mindset. What Toyota and Honda get away with calling ‘maintenance’ would give many domestic car owners apoplexy. Honda has recently switched to timing chains, but I don’t know how I could have justified a $6-800 ‘maintenance’ issue (because they may as well replace the water pump while they’re in there!) to my customers in year 3 or 4. Oil life monitors are another item.
        I had one old codger with a 2 1/2 year old Impala call me up one day, just steaming because his wife had spent $300 for an ‘oil change.’ I pulled his service records and the service visit had included a gas line filter replacement, tire rotation and the usual lube, oil, filter, plus Ontario’s vaunted 13% in combined sales taxes. (Naturally, he had ’rounded up’ the invoice from $260 or whatever it truly was.) When I pointed out to him that in 30 months, this was only the 3rd oil change he had had done, and second tire rotation, with no other service charges at all, he quieted down.
        Over at our Toyota store, few people batted an eye at a $500 service visit. If someone deliberately pays $3,000 more for a Camry than a comparable Malibu, in their mind they are purchasing a ‘premium’ vehicle and will tolerate all sorts of injustices to protect their ‘investment.’

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        The Honda timing belt thing isn’t as bad as you make it out to be. That is assuming your dealer is a greedy bastard or you choose to use an independent mechanic.

        I’ve done my own timing belts myself for 225K miles. The timing belt itself is $50. The water pump, should you opt to replace it, is $65 from the dealer. You might want OEM antifreeze at $14 per gallon. I’m on my second water pump. The original lasted until ~160K miles.

        My dealer says he’ll do it for $325 labor. I do my own.

        You only need to do it once every 80K miles. The last time I did mine I also replaced cam seals and crank seals just in case using OEM parts. I also added a new timing belt tensioner for the fun of it too. I’m good for another 80K miles.

        Compare that to almost that much just to have a shop replace a starter on any modern brand vehicle.

      • 0 avatar
        geeber

        Sorry, but in my experience GM cars do not wear as well after about 70,000 miles.

        The “Honda and Toyota are really junk, but customers are too brainwashed to realize it” theme only exists on the internet. In the real world, it’s the diehard owners of domestics who repeatedly overlook constant repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      Zykotec

      I’ll give GM one thing, some of their older cars could take abuse that any japanese vehicle besides the HiLux wouldn’t even dream of taking on. My brothers J-body Opel Ascona was one of the more durable (not the same as reliable) cars I’ve witnessed. And that’s one of the reasons older Opels are competitive in banger racing/autocross , and as field cars and winter beaters. You can jump and shunt and j-turn and handbrake turn an old Opel ’till the cows come home’ or whatever… Most Civics or Accords will split in half if you even tried stuff like that.
      On the other hand, most Japanese cars would actually start and run in the first place, and still be in such a condition that people wouldn’t abuse them in such ways…

  • avatar
    mjz

    Memo to GM: Gee, why not add the Cruze hatchback to the North American portfolio? There are many people in this segment that are buying your competitors cars (Focus, Mazda3, etc.) because you don’t offer a hatch version of the Cruze here. Seems like a no-brainer, it’s already in production in just about every other market in the world, so you don’t have to go back to the drawing board, just start building the damn thing here too. Duh.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Probably not a bad idea, but what were the total Maxx sales figures, as compared to the old Malibu? Our dealership sold quite a few Maxxes, (my younger sister is driving one!). They were great on gas and the sliding 2nd row is fantastic for older kids. The Optra 5 door sold very well in Canada, too, but GM never bothered selling it south of the border so there must be some reason….?

      • 0 avatar
        mjz

        I’m not sure I would look at the Maxx as a true reflection of sales potential for a hatchback Cruze. The Maxx was a weird sort of combination between a station wagon and a hatchback. While practical, it had ungainly proportions and was based on what was a homely (at the time) Malibu sedan. I think Chevy should look at the sales mix of hatch/sedan that Ford has with the new Focus and Mazda with the 3 as a better gauge.

  • avatar
    mjz

    What does Michael Karesh have to say about Cruze reliability?

  • avatar
    caboaz

    GM has a more limited customer base than it had pre-bailout so the old sales models won’t work. Whether you agree with them or not there are millions of former customers or potential customers who won’t have anything to do with GM due to the government ownership and/or GM’s receipt of bailout dollars. Once it sells to those who don’t care about GM’s recent history it runs into a brick wall of people philosophically opposed to purchasing a GM product for any reason.

    • 0 avatar
      carbiz

      Sadly, you are correct. That is why GM has sunk to #2 in Canada and is in danger of becoming #3 because, oddly, Canadians will forgive Chrysler but not GM.
      I would venture to say that a large minority of people won’t consider GM because of the bankruptcy (that is why I got out of the ‘biz in early ’09 – I was losing sales right and left to GM diehards who were too scared to buy the superior Malibu because of the fear of not getting parts!), and another goodly minority skip GM because they don’t realize that GM has always been #1 in North America and mistakenly believe that Toyota is #1 everywhere.
      Canadian urban markets, like American ones, have largely been lost to the ‘imports.’ Last figures I heard for Toronto were less than 8% market share for GM. (Well, HELLO – both Toyota and Honda have 2 dealerships in the central core of the city. For GM, you have to drive to the suburbs where about a dozen of the once 40+ dealers exist.)
      I work in an office of women who are entirely import owners. As is often the case, there last experience with Detroit runs from non-existent (that would be 32 year old D) to about 20+ years ago for the rest. It’s impossible to discuss vehicles in my office. I just leave. The degree of misinformation is scary. Even when I showed the mea culpa CR printed in 2007 over the Camry/Avalon fiasco, the women just sniff and begin making up excuses.
      Anyway, all of them truly believed Honda and Toyota were #1 in sales, both in Canada and the U.S. Don’t think for one second that Civic or the F-150 bragging about being #1 (because GM reports the Sierra/Silverado separately) does not effect sales.

      • 0 avatar
        joeaverage

        There are alot of people relatively fixed in their beliefs about politics or cars – take your pick. It’s the same when trucks and big engines b/c a topic at work. I do fine with my four cylinder tow vehicle and a light enclosed trailer. I have a Prius driving friend who hates the big trucks. And then I have co-workers who argue they NEED the big truck for this or that occasional use. Whatever. ;)


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