DETROIT -- General Motors Co. will add a third shift to its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, when it starts production of the Chevrolet Cruze, according to two sources familiar with the plan.
The Cruze small car arrives at dealerships in the third quarter.
The move would make the Lordstown plant the sixth of GM’s 16 North American factories to operate at more than what is typically known as 100 percent capacity: two standard shifts, five days a week.
GM said today that North American President Mark Reuss will make a production announcement at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the Lordstown plant.
That factory currently makes the Chevrolet Cobalt, with production scheduled to end in June. The plant was running on three shifts during the summer of 2008, when gasoline priced at more than $4 a gallon boosted small-car sales. But production had dropped to one shift by the following spring as gasoline prices plunged and the U.S. economy fell further into recession. GM added a second shift in the fall of 2009 as U.S. light-vehicle demand lifted from six months of 27-year lows.
Since then, GM has ramped up production at three other plants. Factories in Ingersoll, Ontario, and Kansas City, Kan., are running three shifts, and GM’s SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, is running 20 hours a day, five days a week. GM has said it will implement third shifts this spring at plants in Delta Township, Mich., and Fort Wayne, Ind.
In January, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said he expected annual production of the Cruze to exceed 200,000 units.