The final Chevrolet Cruze will roll off the assembly line in Ohio on Wednesday, pulling General Motors and the entire Detroit new-car industry out of the compact car market in the process.
Reuters reported that production is scheduled to end two days ahead of schedule. That means that on Thursday, GM's Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant near Youngstown will go quiet for the first time since 1966. GM last year announced plans to turn out the lights at five manufacturing facilities in North America, including car assembly plants in Ohio, Ontario, and Michigan.
The automaker is jettisoning passenger cars from as it reworks its lineup in favor of more profitable and popular crossover SUVs. The Cruze was the last traditional compact car to come from a Detroit automaker after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford dropped their Dodge Dart and Ford Focus models. Unlike its rivals, GM continues to build subcompacts, though the Chevy Spark and Sonic may not be around long.
The Buick LaCrosse full-size sedan and Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car went out of production last month at the Detroit-Hamtramck plant. The Cadillac CT6 and Chevrolet Impala full-size sedans will be built into early next year before being discontinued.
End of Cruze production comes days after the United Auto Workers union filed a lawsuit against GM in which it claims the automaker breached its labor agreement with the union. In the agreement, GM said it would not idle or shut down any production plants. However, GM was careful to not use either of those words when it announced it the affected U.S. plants would be "unallocated" for 2019. GM will now need to negotiate the final closure of the plants with the UAW in a new labor agreement this year. The current contract expires Sept. 14.