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Published: Wednesday, 11/16/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

General Motors to cut Ohio Chevrolet Cruze production as sales slow

A 2011 Chevy Cruze. A 2011 Chevy Cruze.

DETROIT— General Motors Co. will shut down the plant that makes the Chevrolet Cruze compact car for a week because sales have slowed and Japanese competitors now have ample supplies of competing small cars.

The factory in Lordstown, Ohio, had been running around the clock with overtime shifts on Saturdays to keep up with strong Cruze sales during the summer. Sales of the compact were boosted because two of its main competitors, the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla, were in short supply because of parts shortages from the March earthquake in Japan.

GM spokesman Chris Lee said in an e-mail that the Lordstown plant, about 50 miles southeast of Cleveland, will be shut down the week of Nov. 28. It will return to around-the-clock operations the following week.

The Cruze was the top-selling small car in the U.S. from May through September, with sales in most of those months 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.

GM said it had about 39,000 Cruzes at its dealers 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.

Small-car sales typically drop in the final quarter of the year. Gas prices also have fallen from around $4 per gallon earlier in the year.

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