LORDSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – General Motors confirmed that it is “in discussions” with Workhorse Group, Inc. to sell its Lordstown plant to the company.
President Donald Trump first broke the news of the deal on Wednesday via Twitter. He tweeted that the company plans to build electric trucks at the plant.
After the tweet, GM released the following statement:
The move has the potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant. Upon final agreement, the entity, led by Workhorse founder Steve Burns, would acquire the facility. Workhorse would hold a minority interest in the new entity.
We couldn’t immediately reach officials at Workhorse, but the United Auto Workers union does not appear to support the plan. UAW’s vice president released a statement after the announcement, saying GM needs to assign a product to the plant and continue operations there.
GM Lordstown idled the plant on March 6 when the last Cruze rolled off the assembly line as it switched its focus to trucks and SUVs.
Trump credited Ohio’s governor and Senator Rob Portman for working with him in the deal to bring a new company to the plant.
Cincinnati-based Workhorse designs and builds high-performance battery-electric vehicles including trucks, aircraft and drones.
Workhorse’s SureFly Octocopter — a personal helicopter — was featured at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
The company has reported declining sales in recent years, however.
Workhorse reported a net loss of $36.5 million in 2018. Sales for the year were $763,000 — down from $10 million in 2017.
The company cited a decrease in the volume of trucks delivered.
During the first quarter of 2019, Workhorse reported a net loss of $6.3 million.
Workhorse’s CEO said the company is transitioning from a development-oriented organization to a production-focused electric vehicle manufacturer.
Meanwhile, local leaders say they’re optimistic for the plant’s future and what Workhorse could do for the area.
Sen. Portman released the following statement:
“My message to GM all along has been either to bring a new GM vehicle to the plant or to find a partner that will use this world-class facility so people can get back to work. I look forward to hearing more from Workhorse about its plans to bring jobs to Lordstown, and I’m hopeful that this news will benefit the workers there.
I want to thank President Trump for his help in finding a positive solution for Lordstown. I will continue to work with GM, the UAW, and other key stakeholders on this matter in the coming weeks and months.”
Trump also tweeted of GM’s plans to invest in Ohio facilities, saying, “GM will also be spending $700,000,000 in Ohio in 3 separate locations, creating another 450 jobs. I have been working nicely with GM to get this done,” he tweeted.
Wednesday’s announcement came just after GM and the Canadian Auto Workers Union reached a deal to save 300 jobs at an Ontario factory that is slated to close by the end of this year.