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GM adds week of production in Ohio to meet Cruze demand

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By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co. has added a week of production at its Chevrolet Cruze factory in Lordstown, Ohio, this month to meet growing U.S. demand for the compact car, a spokeswoman for the largest U.S. automaker said on Tuesday.

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The Lordstown Assembly plant was originally scheduled to be closed the week of August 26, United Auto Workers Local 1112 said on its website. Now, workers will continue to assemble the cars "as normal" that week, the union local said.

"Sales have been brisk," said GM spokesman Annalisa Bluhm. "We didn't want to lose momentum so we decided to abstain from taking the week off."

U.S. sales of the Cruze have risen 24 percent during the first seven months of 2013, better than the 9 percent sales jump for GM overall. In July, Cruze sales shot up 70 percent.

GM ended July with about a 50-day supply of the Cruze, less than the company's 68-day supply for its overall lineup, GM executives said earlier this month.

The current generation Cruze has been assembled at Lordstown since September 2010. The Cruze was first introduced in 2009, the same year GM emerged from bankruptcy protection.

The global financial crisis forced GM as well as its U.S. rivals Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group LLC to close several plants. Now, U.S. automakers have running their U.S. factories around the clock to satisfy rising demand.

A UAW official could not be immediately reached for comment. UAW Local 1112 is one of two locals that represent workers at the Lordstown plant, part of a complex that employs about 4,500 hourly and salaried workers.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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