GM offloads idle Ohio assembly plant, new owners to convert facility to electric car manufacturing hub

UNITED STATES – General Motors Co has confirmed that it has sold its shuttered Lordstown Assembly plant in Ohio to Lordstown Motors Corp, a start-up that has an ambitious plan to begin building electric pickup trucks by the end of 2020.

General Motors revealed its plan to stop operations at the Ohio facility in November 2018, a move that made the future of the plant uncertain sending anxiety among workers and drawing a lot of criticism from the country’s political class.

Operations at the 6.2-million-square-foot Lordstown plant the facilities grind to a stop in March this year, rendering many of its workers jobless and drawing the attention of President Donald Trump who responded by assuring workers that factory jobs were not leaving.

Lordstown Motors Corp has been working on the engineering of the new truck called Endurance and hired Rich Schmidt, a former director of manufacturing at Tesla Inc, to be its chief production officer.

Steve Burns, Lordstown Motors Corp’s CEO, said the company has been working on engineering the new truck for the last six months but acknowledged the timetable is “aggressive.”

He however noted that the company has the advantage that the Ohio plant is “fully intact, still warm,” adding that he hopes to have pre-production prototypes coming out of the assembly line by April.

Burns who is a former Workhorse CEO also revealed that the company plans to start production by November 2020 with an initial workforce of about 400 hourly workers.

GM said during the announcement of the factory’s sale that it believes “LMC’s plan to launch the Endurance electric pickup has the potential to create a significant number of jobs and help the Lordstown area grow into a manufacturing hub for electrification.”

The purchase price was not disclosed, but Reuters reported that reliable sources close to GM said that it was similar to EV start-up Rivian Automotive LLC’s 2017 acquisition of a former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, for US$16 million.

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