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Chevy christens compact Cruze

Automotive News reports on the new Chevrolet Cruze.

Automotive News

DETROIT--Chevrolet's 2011 replacement for the Cobalt will be called the Cruze, General Motors confirmed last week.

GM also released new details about the compact, which is expected to get more than 40 mpg on the highway.

The production version will be revealed in October at the Paris Motor Show, GM spokeswoman Nancy Libby said. The car will be built at GM's Lordstown, Ohio, plant beginning in 2010. In Europe, the car will go on sale next spring.

The Cruze will be based on GM's Delta compact-car architecture and will use a new 1.4-liter global engine that GM developed and recently announced in Europe. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine will be used in several GM vehicles worldwide.

GM says the engine will be able to reach 120 to 140 hp. Sources say mileage could exceed 40 mpg. Libby said the engine will be built in Flint, Mich. Production of the Cruze in Lordstown is slated to start in the middle of 2010 as a 2011 model.

Libby said she sees the Cruze's main competitors as the Honda Civic, Volkswagen Jetta, Mazda3 and Ford Focus. The Cruze will be similar in size to the Cobalt, she said. The five-passenger Cruze will be about 15 feet long. "We're coming to market as a sedan," Libby said. "There's no news yet on any other variants that could be spun from that vehicle."

The Cobalt debuted in late 2004 as a 2005 model and has sold more than 200,000 vehicles annually. Through June, amid a spike in gasoline prices, Cobalt sales were up 18.5 percent to 114,250. In June alone, Cobalt sales rose 21.6 percent over June 2007.

The demand for the Cobalt has prompted GM to add a third shift at the Lordstown plant starting Aug. 4.

(Source: Automotive News)