DETROIT -- In the past three weeks, General Motors' Chevrolet Cruze assembly plant has been down for one full week and most of another -- one shutdown planned and one not.
GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant remained idled today as the automaker worked to solve a supply problem that halted Cruze production on Monday afternoon, GM spokesman Tom Mock said.
GM continues to work on the problem but won't predict when production will resume, Mock said in an e-mail.
Meanwhile, the same parts issue has crimped production of the Buick Verano, which is built on the same compact platform as the Cruze.
GM is "still making some Veranos" at its Orion assembly plant in suburban Detroit but has "adjusted our model mix," spokeswoman Kim Carpenter said in an e-mail.
GM also idled the Lordstown plant for the entire week of Nov. 28 to adjust for a spike in Cruze supply following a cool-down in demand this fall.
Since its launch in September 2010, the Cruze has emerged as GM's top-selling car, with 215,057 U.S. unit sales this year through November. That makes it the No. 2 compact behind the Toyota Corolla, which sold 219,250 through November, including sales of the Matrix hatchback.
GM hasn't identified the part or parts causing the problem. But sources familiar with the situation cited a shortage of struts used in the cars' suspension systems.
Late Wednesday, GM said it had solved the parts shortage and production at Lordstown was scheduled to begin Thursday night. But on Thursday, GM reversed those plans, saying it's still trying to fix the problem.
About 4,500 employees work at GM's production and stamping plants in Lordstown.
In November, GM decided to adjust production after Cruze stocks shot up from a 33-day supply on Sept. 1 to 73 days on Nov. 1, according to the Automotive News Data Center. Inventory rose further last month, reaching an 88-day supply as of Dec. 1.
Steve Hurley, dealer principal at Stingray Chevrolet near Tampa, Fla., says his supply of the Cruze has thinned somewhat since the fall.
"They're still moving fast," Hurley says. "But I've still got a decent supply."