Next Cruze 'from ground up'
CURRENT CRUISE: Chevrolet's says its next Cruze will feature an all-new design, better fuel economy and more storage space.
DETROIT, Michigan - General Motors next-generation Chevrolet Cruze will likely be one of the automaker's first vehicles to be built on an upcoming new platform.
The Cruze has been available in South Africa since 2009, so the new model would be likely to arrive in 2015.
Not much is known about the appearance of the new Cruze but Dave Green, president of United Workers Local 1714, one of two unions at the Lordstown plant in Ohio, said modifications would not be modest: "This is, from the ground up, going to be an all-new vehicle."
R1.6bn PLANT BOOST
GM manufacturing manager Arvin Jones said the new model would offer a new exterior and interior, better fuel economy and more storage space.
According to the Detroit News, GM spokesman Terry Rhadigan said the new platform, known as the D2XX, would replace the existing Delta global platform for the automaker's cars.
The current-generation Cruze is built at Lordstown on the Delta platform, one shared with the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Astra. GM would not say when production would begin but the automaker planned to produce the current generation of Cruze at its Lordstown plant through 2014.
The automaker has said in the past it was looking to consolidate its number of global platforms from the 30 of 2010 to 14 by 2018.
Jim Hall, analyst with 2953 Analytics LLP in Birmingham, Alabama, said GM no longer needed a standalone crossover platform and that the new platform would allow a greater variance of vehicles to be built off one platform.
Scott Whybrew, GM's executive director of global manufacturing engineering, said the automaker's platform simplification would help boost profits and would eventually cover 90% of the models it produces. GM had condensed five architectures into one for the Chevrolet Sonic.
GM announced in August 2012 that it would invest the equivalent of R1.6-billion into its Lordstown plant and R167-million in its metal center in Parma, Ohio. The money would go toward tooling and equipment for the new Cruze.