LORDSTOWN - The General Motors Co. Lordstown Complex passed another milestone Thursday when the 300,000th Chevrolet Cruze rolled off the assembly line since production began in mid-July 2010 - and workers will work more overtime to keep up with demand.
The crystal claret - or deep reddish - car, which is headed for a Fort Worth, Tex., Chevrolet dealership, was built early Thursday morning on the third shift, complex spokesman Tom Mock said.
"That's quite an accomplishment," he said of the production total.
He added production "is really accelerating." Three ovetime shifts are scheduled for Oct. 22, subject to change, he said.
The plant aims to build about 1,200 cars over three shifts each day.
Even with strong production, workers aim for high quality, a union leader said.
"Three hundred thousand is a large number, but our members know quality comes before quantity. Whether it's 300,000 or one million, we want to make sure they're done right," said Dave Green, president of United Auto Workers Local 1714 of the Lordstown West Metal Center.
Jim Graham, president of Local 1112 at the Lordstown East assembly plant, said the plant reached the 300,000 mark quickly because of three shifts, which were not always in effect when workers were building previous cars such as the Cobalt and Cavalier.
The Cruze, which has seen its field supply fall to 33 days at the current sales rate - about half of the 60 considered ideal - posted five straight months of 20,000 sales in the spring and summer.
It hit a high of 24,896 sales in June as rising gasoline prices made consumers more fuel-conscious. The car's highway miles per gallon is rated at 35 for the base LS automatic transmission to 42 for the manual transmission Eco model.
The complex, which employs about 4,500 hourly and salaried workers, has stepped up production, reaching 28,911 cars in August and 27,284 in September.