Lordstown rolls out Cruze test models


LORDSTOWN — Test models of the Chevrolet Cruze are now under construction at the General Motors complex.

The first Cruze went through the assembly line Thursday, and another one was built Friday.

“It’s a learning process,” said Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714. “We’re making sure everything is in place.”

The official launch of cars that will be sold to the public will occur in April.

“We are working toward the best launch that GM has had yet,” said Tom Mock, a plant spokesman.

Before the end of this year, GM plans to build about 100 test models to check new manufacturing processes and equipment that have been installed.

GM spent $351 million to prepare the assembly plant and adjacent metal-stamping plant. Included were installing 800 pieces of robotic manufacturing equipment and reconfiguring the assembly line.

Plans call for the complex to produce 500 more test models early next year before the launch. These models will be considered “saleable,” but they won’t go to the general public. They will be sent to GM test tracks and other organizations for safety testing.

The complex is continuing to produce the Chevrolet Cobalt until the launch date.

It will increase production next month as it adds a second shift of workers. About 1,050 workers are being added Oct. 5.

The complex has about 2,200 hourly and salaried workers on staff with one shift.