DETROIT -- The Chevrolet Cruze has been a home run for General Motors, cracking the list of Top 10 sellers and putting together a string of months as the No. 1 compact.
So it could have been seen as jarring news late last month when GM idled the Cruze plant in Lordstown, Ohio, for a week to tamp down mounting inventory.
But the swift decision to curb production of GM's hottest car offers a window into the new General Motors. In sharp contrast to the overproduction and profit-sucking discounts that marked GM before its 2009 bankruptcy, GM's top executives are managing for higher prices, better residual values and bigger margins.
"In the past, we'd blow through those production schedules and keep [the plants] on" and then use heavy incentives to move the metal, says GM North America President Mark Reuss.
The new approach signals a different kind of company for Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1714, which represents workers at GM's stamping plant in Lordstown.
"I remember not long ago when we'd have a 150-day supply and they'd have us working Saturdays," Green says. "Even our membership recognizes that this isn't the same GM."
In the new GM, the reduced legacy costs and lower operating costs have killed the incentive to overproduce just to generate revenue at any cost.