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“Car of the Year” plant shuttered temporarily

Increased competition from Japan’s recovering automakers is closing Chevrolet’s Cruze plant for a week


November 17, 2011
by The Canadian Press

DETROIT—General Motors Corp. will shut down the plant that makes its Chevrolet Cruze sedan for a week because sales have slowed and competition from its Japanese counterparts has increased.

The Lordstown plant—about 80 kilometres southeast of Cleveland—will be shut down the week of Nov. 28.

Sales of last year’s Canadian “Car of the Year” increased while two of its main competitors, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, staggered after parts shortages from the March earthquake in Japan.

The Cruze was the top-selling small car in the U.S. from May through September, with sales topping 20,000, according to Autodata Corp.

But sales dropped to just more than 14,000 in October and the Cruze was passed by the Civic and Corolla as production and dealer inventories started to return to normal.

It will return to full production in the first week of December.

GM said it had about 39,000 Cruzes sitting in its dealer’s lots at the end of October. At the current selling rate, it would take about 70 days to sell all of them.

A 60-day supply is considered optimal.