General Motors Co. today announces a third shift will be added to its Lordstown, OH, assembly plant to accommodate production of the ’11 Chevrolet Cruze.

The auto maker invested $350 million to retool the plant for Cruze production, which is scheduled to begin in the third quarter.

Renovations included the construction of a new body shop and the addition of more than 800 new robotic systems.

The move boosts Lordstown’s workforce from 3,300 to 4,500, which is expected to generate $47 million in additional payroll, $470,000 in local income taxes and $1.4 million in state income tax, GM says.

Cruze production at Lordstown will be supported by a handful of Ohio-based GM facilities, including its foundry in Defiance, OH, which will build engine blocks; Parma, OH, stamping facility; and Toledo powertrain plant, which will supply transmissions.

“(The) Cruze is a perfect example of how GM’s turnaround is focused on the right products at the right time,” Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, says in a statement. “This is a global car already kicking goals in 60 international markets.” He says GM expects the Cruze to be a “hot seller” in North America.

The Cruze is slightly larger than the current Chevy Cobalt and will include more content and higher-quality materials, as well as an optional 1.4L turbocharged 4-cyl. engine with variable-valve timing.

The Cruze is expected to compete more equally against similar models from foreign rivals, such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Last year, the Cobalt accounted for 104,724 units, while the Corolla/Matrix sold 296,874 and the Civic delivered 259,722, according to Ward’s data.