GM Cuts Half of Lordstown Plant's Workforce as Chevrolet Cruze Sales Slide

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
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gm cuts half of lordstown plant s workforce as chevrolet cruze sales slide

General Motors summoned all 3,000 of its Lordstown Assembly employees to the Ohio plant this afternoon, and half left the meeting with an uncertain future.

The automaker said it plans to cut the second shift at the plant, just a year after GM scrapped the third shift in the face of declining compact car sales. Lordstown, which opened in 1966, builds only the Chevrolet Cruze.

The Youngstown, Ohio newspaper The Vindicator reports that the shift will end on June 15th, leaving 1,500 workers out of a job, though an attrition program offered by the automaker should see some of those workers enter retirement. WFMJ claims the retirement packages are worth $60,000.

Regular production, now on one shift, starts up again on June 18th. GM employs 2,700 hours workers at Lordstown, plus 300 salaried employees.

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), who toured the plant in late March, was quick to issue a statement in the wake of the news. Ryan points the finger at President Trump and the Environmental Protection Agency’s new mandate to roll back fuel economy standards.

“I am deeply disappointed by today’s GM Lordstown announcement,” Ryan stated. “While low gas prices encourages the decline of compact car like the Chevy Cruze, President Trump’s intention to weaken fuel economy standards is putting his thumb on the scale in favor of the larger cars and SUV’s made elsewhere. He claimed he was against the government picking winners and losers, and yet he goes against the very region and state that helped put him in office.”

Corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) targets enacted by the Obama administration did little to stem the surge of buyers away from traditional passenger cars and into commodious trucks and SUVs. The law called for a fleetwide average of 54.5 miles per gallon by the target window of 2022 to 2025, something automakers increasingly rebelled against. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has not yet stated what the new standard will be.

While overall light-duty vehicle fuel economy has stayed pretty much stagnant over the past few years, it does so with a far greater proportion of light trucks in the mix. Turbocharging, direct injection, multi-cog transmissions and CVTs, and hybrid drivetrains have allowed consumers to purchase a new, larger vehicle with the same fuel economy of a smaller car from a decade ago. That greatly increased the appeal of crossovers and SUVs, but it hasn’t done anything good for cars like the Cruze.

The Cruze launched at a very opportune time. As the economy bounced back from the recession, gas prices soared, making the compact sedan’s 2010 debut a perfect time to tempt car-seeking Americans with a domestic automobile boasting far greater build quality and fuel economy than previous small Chevys. Sales peaked at 273,060 units in 2014, declining each year since.

Sales of the Cruze, now available in hatchback form and with an optional diesel engine, sank 13.4 percent in March. Year-to-date, Cruze sales are off last year’s tally by 26.1 percent.

Last week, GM announced a refreshed 2019 model.

[Images: General Motors]

Steph Willems
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  • Geo Geo on Apr 14, 2018

    I'm a little surprised that sales are falling so much. Could it be the 2016 redesign causing the sales decline? I thought it was pretty decent... Year sales 2010 24,495 2011 231,732 2012 237,758 2013 248,224 2014 273,060 2015 226,602 2016 188,876 2017 184,751

  • Sketch447 Sketch447 on Apr 16, 2018

    What a darned waste. A great compact sedan. But how can Honda sell every Civic they can make, with minimal discounting? How can Toyota sell the stodgy Corolla in high numbers, with not much money on the hood? The Cruze was dying before Trump ever took office. The large SUV mutated into endless compact variations with comparable fuel economy to sedans. And people will keep buying SUVs even up to 4 buck gas. Higher fuel economy standards and gas taxes? It's all an elitist plot to maintain power. The elitists drive the desirable vehicles and the rest of us end up with donkey carts. You "save" the planet, but they OWN the planet. Maybe people would have more sympathy for higher fuel economy standards if if the Obamas and Hillarys drove Chevy Sparks instead of taxpayer-subsidized stretch limos. (Are you aware that HRC hasn't driven a car for decades b/c of that handy limo outside her door at all times?) I drive a 4cyl sedan with a stick. Not looking for any SUV. But I'll always want that choice and I don't need Obama telling me I can't have that choice. And by the way, Trump rocks!!!!!

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  • 28-Cars-Later "But Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Franciscan Democrat who wrote the electric school bus legislation, says this is all about the health and wellbeing of Golden State residents. In addition to the normal air pollution stemming from exhaust gasses, he believes children are being exposed to additional carcinogens by just being on a diesel bus."Phil is into real estate, he doesn't know jack sh!t about science or medicine and if media were real it would politely remind him his opinions are not qualified... if it were real. Another question if media were real is why is a very experienced real estate advisor and former tax assessor writing legislation on school busses? If you read the rest of his bio after 2014, his expertise seems to be applied but he gets into more and more things he's not qualified to speak to or legislate on - this isn't to say he isn't capable of doing more but just two years ago Communism™ kept reminding me Dr. Fauxi knew more about medicine than I did and I should die or something. So Uncle Phil just gets a pass with his unqualified opinions?Ting began his career as a real estate  financial adviser at  Arthur Andersen and  CBRE. He also previously served as the executive director of the  Asian Law Caucus, as the president of the Bay Area Assessors Association, and on the board of  Equality California. [url=][1][/url][h3][/h3]In 2005, Ting was appointed San Francisco Assessor-Recorder in 2005 by Mayor  Gavin Newsom, becoming San Francisco’s highest-ranking  Chinese-American official at the time. He was then elected to the post in November 2005, garnering 58 percent of the vote.Ting was re-elected Assessor-Recorder in 2006 and 2010During his first term in the Assembly, Ting authored a law that helped set into motion the transformation of Piers 30-32 into what would become  Chase Center the home of the  Golden State Warriors
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