Reuters is reporting that the next iteration of the Chevy Cruze, originally due at the end of 2014, will not go into production until December 2015, as a 2016 model year car.
The news was revealed when union leaders at a Canadian Auto Workers staffed supplier, Cooper Standard Automotive, told their members. As Chevy is currently rolling out a number of new models, by the end of 2013 the Cruze will be Chevrolet’s oldest model. The next gen Cruze is supposed to be all-new, inside and out, and GM says that it will have more interior and cargo space as well as better fuel economy. June sales figures show that the Cruze is currently the second best selling car in America, behind Toyota’s Camry, and U.S. sales for the first half of 2013 were up 17% to ~134,000 units. Since the Camry is a midsized car, that means the Cruze is the best selling compact car in the U.S. market.
Though General Motors declined comment on the report out of Canada, the CAW local leaders said that “engineering changes” forced the delays. GM doesn’t want to have a repeat of the lukewarm response to the redesigned 2013 Malibu, which itself is getting a rare second year refresh for 2014. According to a supplier, GM is taking the extra time on the Cruze to ensure that it “”does break through the clutter”, unlike the recent Malibu. According to Reuters’ sources “familiar with the company’s plans”, the current model’s strong sales are also a factor in the delay of the new model, with the car company trying to wring as much profit out of the car as possible, before they replace it. The strong sales allow GM to bank money and putting off the new Cruze also allows them to reallocate funds to products currently being or about to be launched.
GM says that the new Cruze will not be assembled in Korea, perhaps an indication that unlike the previous model based on a Korean (read Daewoo, which is now GM Korea) platform, the new Cruze is being designed and engineered a bit closer to the Lordstown, Ohio plant where it will be assembled for the North American market.