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General Motors Holding Talks to Sell Lordstown Factory to Startup Workhorse

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【Summary】The Cincinnati-based Workhorse group that is positioned to manufacture electric pickup trucks could bring a shuttered factory back to light and some much-needed jobs.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    May 11, 2019 6:00 AM PT
General Motors Holding Talks to Sell Lordstown Factory to Startup Workhorse

Last November, General Motors made a shocking announcement that would see the American automaker close some of its factories and cut thousands of jobs in the U.S. The three facilities included the Oshawa Assembly plant, the Detroit-Hamtramck facility, and the Lordstown Assembly plant. The idea behind closing three factories and discontinuing six models was to free up some funds to pursue developing electric powertrains and autonomous vehicles.

Workhorse Looking To Buy GM's Lordstown Plant

While the news was bad for GM's employees and consumers interested in small cars, it sounds like the automaker is talking to Workhorse Group in regard to selling its Lordstown Assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. GM made an official announcement about the discussion earlier this week, claiming the move could bring significant jobs and production to the plant.

Workhorse is a Cincinnati-based startup that's focusing on manufacturing electric pickup trucks. The company made its first appearance in 2016. Since then, the electric company has announced a plug-in hybrid pickup truck called the W-15 and N-Gen electric delivery vans that it's currently testing in San Francisco.

Unfortunately, the sale gets a little tricky, as the factory won't exactly be sold to Workhorse. Instead, Workhorse's founder, Steve Burns, is leading an independent entity that would officially purchase the plant, while Workhorse would hold a minority interest.

"This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse's role in the EV community," said Duane Hughes, Workhorse's CEO.

A Commercial Electric Vehicle Is Already Planned

If Burns were to finalize the purchase of the Lordstown plant, he claims the first machine that would be built there would be a commercial vehicle. "The first vehicle we would plan to build if we were to purchase the Lordstown Complex would be a commercial electric pickup, blending Workhorse's technology with Lordstown's manufacturing expertise," Burns said.

As Forbes claims, GM's Lordstown facility is massive and was in charge of producing quite a large number of the Chevrolet Cruze. In 2018, the factory produced a total of 143,000 Cruze models. While that's a massive number, the facility's heyday was back in 2014 when the factory produced 273,000 vehicles. So the plant is capable of producing a large number of cars.

GM recently announced that it would develop an electric pickup truck, but the automaker, apparently, doesn't need the Lordstown plant to get the job done. Battery-powered pickups are the next big thing, and automakers, as well as other companies, are looking to be the first in the market to enter the scene. Ford partnered with Rivian to the tune of $500 million for an electric truck.

If the sale goes through, it will be good news for workers in Ohio and for consumers interested in an electric pickup. While GM is looking to offload the Lordstown plant, the automaker announced an investment of $300 million into its Michigan factory that's in charge of manufacturing the Chevrolet Bolt, as the automaker is looking to come out with a new EV in the near future. Cadillac is also planning to come out with its first all-electric car and SUV, too.

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