General Motors will call a new “mini” car the Cruze. GM will unveil the car at the Paris Auto Show in September. It will go into production in 2010 in the U.S. as a 2011 model.
The automaker says the car, about 15-feet long, and powered by a new 1.4 liter turbo-charged engine that may exceed 40 mpg on the highway. If GM can pull off that mileage, it will surpass the standard gas, non-hybrid offerings on the market today from Honda and Toyota—Fit and Yaris. The Cruze will seat five snugly.
The car will be built in Lordstown, Ohio and displace the Chevy Cobalt being built there now. Until gas prices climbed, sending up demand for all small cars, the Cobalt was not considered a big success. And it is a design dud. Sure, Lordstown is on a third shift now making it. But it would be pretty tough not to be over-selling any small car today. There isn’t much equity in the Cobalt name.
I think Cruze is actually a much better name, and one that GM will hopefully stick with through multiple generations of the vehicle.