First arriving in 2008, the Chevy Cruze was a big deal. Not only was it the direct replacement for the Chevy Cobalt also-ran, but it also was to turn GM’s luck around in the then-burgeoning mainstream compact car space. Cruze production ended roughly a decade later in the U.S. and Mexico in 2019.
The GM Lordstown assembly plant that produced the vehicle for the U.S. and Canada was shuttered and eventually sold to Lordstown Motors, while the GM Ramos Arizpe plant that made it for Mexico and some South American markets was switched over to produce the 2019 and newer Chevy Blazer crossover. GM subsequently went on to discontinue to the Cruze in almost all other markets where it was offered, including South Korea, China, Europe, and Australia – where it was sold as the Holden Cruze. Interestingly, while the Chevy Cruze is no longer available in the U.S., it’s still available in three international markets.
At present, the Chevy Cruze is made at one plant – the GM Alvear plant in Argentina. It’s officially sold in Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.
GM actually used the Chevy Cruze name prior to the release of the first-generation four-door sedan that launched in 2008; the nameplate was originally applied to a five-door hatchback based on the Suzuki Ignis. The Cruze name was later used for a new globally designed, developed, and manufactured four-door sedan, and was given the J300 designation internally at GM.
The start of Chevy Cruze production in Ohio was marked by statements from Mark Reuss, who at the time served as president of GM’s North American division. Under the body panels, the first-gen Chevy Cruze was based on the front-wheel drive GM Delta II platform. GM’s international talent played a significant role in the vehicle’s development, including GM Daewoo in South Korea, as well as the GM Opel division in Germany, itself sold off to PSA Peugeot-Citroen in 2017.
The vehicle went on to be sold as a four-door sedan, five-door hatchback, and five-door wagon, cradling a series of gasoline- and diesel-powered engines. GM introduced a refresh for the Chevy Cruze in 2012, while in the U.S., the refreshed North American Chevy Cruze was shown at the 2014 New York International Auto Show.
The second-generation Chevy Cruze hit the North American market for the 2016 model year, with the four-door sedan being joined by a five-door hatchback model for the first time in the U.S. Under the skin, the second-gen Chevy Cruze rides on the D2XX platform, cradling the turbocharged 1.4L I4 LE2 gasoline engine. A refresh was introduced for 2019.
Production of the second-gen Chevy Cruze ended in South Korea in 2018, and in North America in 2019. Production ended in China in 2020. Though the future doesn’t look all that bright for the Cruze, GM now fields some of the best-selling vehicles in the South American region with the Onix and Tracker, with the former effectively negativing the need for the Cruze.