It was a busy day in Ohio on Wednesday. While President Obama was speaking on the economy and fall elections in suburban Cleveland, about 50 miles east General Motors officials were unveiling the first Chevrolet Cruze small cars to roll off the assembly line in Lordstown.

Fittingly, the first three models to make their debut were red, white and blue, signaling the rebirth of the Detroit automakers' entry into the compact car segment.

"The Cruze is the finest compact car GM has ever made, period," GM North America President Mark Reuss, told a crowd estimated by GM at about 2,000, according to The Detroit News.

Starting at Under $17,000

GM has placed big hopes on the new Cruze, which replaces the underwhelming Chevrolet Cobalt, a model that had a hard time competing with the likes of Toyota Motor's (TM) Corolla and Ford Motor's (F) Focus, new versions of which are due in coming months.

The new Cruze arrives in dealer showrooms this month with sticker prices starting at just under $17,000 for base models.

In addition to reviving GM's image, the Cruze is an important piece of the automaker's vehicle sales mix. With the ability to achieve 36 mpg on the highway, the Cruze can help boost the company's overall corporate average fuel economy, offsetting less fuel efficient trucks and large SUVs.

A even more gas-stingy Cruze model goes on sale in November. Called the Cruze Eco, it has a manual transmission capable of giving the car 40 mpg on the highway through the use of light-weight materials and other enhancements, GM officials have said.

While stressing gas mileage, GM is also promoting upscale options found standard in the Cruze, such as an upgraded interior and power windows, as well as safety features that include 10 air bags and antilock brakes.

Though GM hopes the Cruze will compete head-to-head with the Corolla as well as Honda Motor's (HMC) Civic -- two of the most popular compact cars in the U.S. market, the automaker hasn't yet released sales goals. While Toyota and Honda recorded about 20% of their U.S. sales volume from small cars last year, GM saw less than half that percentage.

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Stacey

Half of Toyota cars are built solely in Japan. Oh no, some cars are built in Mexico "I hate GM now." Come on, support America and buy an American car. Sorry American company's can't afford to build cars/trucks solely here anymore since they can't afford to since foreign cars are produced cheaper than American made cars because of: 1)cheaper wages 2) no union wages= cheaper to mass-produce. If you go to an auto store in the u.s and have a foreign made car, yes it may be cheaper to buy but look at your repair bill. How much does an oil change for a volkswagon cost compared to a ford?

September 11 2010 at 10:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Stacey's comment
themanindbox

I have 230K miles on my corolla, it costs me about 20 bucks an oil change, i couldnt tell you how much parts are since it has never broken.

September 13 2010 at 1:31 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Kirk

lets stop bashing gm buy a car or truck help or economy not japan. have bin a gm customer for over thirty years bought over thirty cars or trucks. have bin elinded with a family owned dealer that has never let me down! THE PEOPLE THAT COMPLAIN DO THEY REALY TAKE CARE OF THERE CARS!!

September 10 2010 at 5:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Kirk's comment
themanindbox

230K on a corolla never fixed anything. 88K on a 99 deville caught fire on the highway. Yep i take care of my cars, the GM car was crap. Also had a 79 Monte carlo... Tranny died at 176K miles, but the motor ran till i sold it in 1992. Nothing else worked, Power windows motors died, the instument lights died, it leaked oil, burned oil... headliner sagged, interior seperated, Rust issues, Paint faded. Motor was a Champ. but at that point if nothing else works, it tells me that it was crap. The corolla has 230K+ Doesnt leak, burn anything, all power everything still works and is original... The people who have solely owned american cars dont know what or how well a car can be built. The toyota's are just built better. I own a 03 Corolla and an 09 Mustang Roush, the mustang is by far flashier, faster, more fun to drive. It has 23K miles on it, and has had the clutch adjusted, headlight wiring replaced, windows regulator replaced, Piston rings replaced, and a few bulbs for headlights. The corolla has the original clutch, and the original bulbs. The american cars are nicer looking, and i took my part and bought one, but it will be my last.

September 13 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
driveyouround

Looks like another piece of junk! will probably have recalls too! when will Government Motors turn back to General Motors? that's when i will buy one again.

September 10 2010 at 4:10 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
rrss2lwb

Absolutely Tom, I couldn't agree more, so again, What happened?!?!? You know in the 60's Volvo came over to the US and reviewed all of the major auto manufacturing plants and took all of those GOOD ideas and designed a car (140 series) that changed the auto world. Here was a rather inexpensive, dependable car that was built like a Sherman Tank ( of which my father was an officer in). We are our own WORST enemy. We need to STOP outsourcing our work force and START making a SUPERIOR product again! Remember, "Cadillac, Standard of the World"? Since about 1966 this has NOT been the case. And I WILL NOT blame it all on the hourly guys. WHO in the *ell designed this trash to be built, You think the design came down from ON HIGH? All share blame in this FIASCO and we need to take stock and BUILD a better mouse trap. If we do, they will buy!

September 10 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rrss2lwb

All arguments aside, The worst cars that every were, in my book, were Ford car products. Their trucks were superior but the cars had much to be desired in the quality range. NOT SO anymore! I drove a Crown Vic 200something, and it was a GREAT car, It reminded me of the nice riding, handling, braking cars of the '60's. Not the rusty, mushy riding, overchromed trash of the 80's and 90's. I hope that GM can at least match this, if so they are on their way to greatness. If not, they need to say goodby as I have to Chrysler. THEY are the traitors in this deal. So long Tony. It's been good to know you.

September 10 2010 at 2:36 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
JAY

I seriously doubt that the cruze is any better than the nova or geo prism that were produced in fremont,CA. Instead of utilizing the unparalleled abilities of the NUMMI employees GM instead turned their back on a world class workforce & they will be paying the price for years to come. GM should actually be an acronym for General Mismanagement & for they way they have abandoned the american workforce, they deserve to fail!

September 10 2010 at 2:16 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
themanindbox

Tomozzy123: http://dayton.bizjournals.com/dayton/stories/2010/06/21/daily24.html http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/ten-most-american-cars/ Do you want me to continue to prove you wrong. I have a list of about 50 sites that all say that the toyota camry uses the most amount of american part of any car produced in the US. Thus the Toyota Camry is more american then any, GM, Ford, Mopar out there. Sad but true my friend.

September 10 2010 at 2:12 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
rrss2lwb

Blind adherence to orthodoxy is what the Muslims believe in. I say, if your product can't compete in the marketplace it should not longer exist. Guess that is what happened to GM and Chrysler. It isn't bashing, it is the truth according to the rule of the market. The people of America spoke with their wallets and GM and Chrysler were relegated to the scrap heap. LOUD AND CLEAR!

September 10 2010 at 2:00 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to rrss2lwb's comment
Rhett

I hope the Chinese consumers don't bad mouth the Chevys and Fords being built in China like some do here in the U.S. about foreign cars!

September 10 2010 at 1:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
ohmajean

THESE AUTO MAKERS NEED TO HIRE SOME REAL DESIGNERS. THE CURRENT ONES ARE DISGUSTING.

September 10 2010 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply