General Motors Lordstown plant officially sold to electric truck startup

The GM Lordstown plant is shown

The GM Lordstown plant is shown

General Motors is selling a massive assembly plant it shut down earlier this year in OH, a closing that drew threats and scolding from President Donald Trump, to a newly formed company that said Thursday it intends to begin making electric trucks by late 2020.

The fate of the northeastern OH plant has become a lightning rod in the 2020 presidential election after GM announced in November 2018 its planned closure, drawing condemnation from U.S. President Donald Trump and many U.S. lawmakers.

Terms of the deal with Lordstown Motors Corp., which was created to buy the GM plant, weren't disclosed. Workhorse shares jumped 22% on the news.

Trump took a particular interest in the Lordstown plant, which sits in an area of OH that will be important to him in the 2020 election and is where he promised supporters at a rally that manufacturing jobs are coming back to the Midwest. Democrats seized on the development as a symbol of unfulfilled promises made to voters in a key battleground state.

Speculation on the plant's future had centred on Workhorse since Trump happily tweeted last May that the company was in talks to buy the huge facility. But both companies are on shaky financial footing, with Workhorse totaling just $6,000 of revenue during its latest quarter.

GM is not investing in the venture. "We have to stand up an auto company".

Workhorse Group is meanwhile among the bidders for a lucrative contract to make plug-in mail trucks for the U.S. Postal Service. Workhorse is related to LMC and the former will share intellectual property and electric-drive systems, he told Bloomberg in an interview Thursday (the link was down at the time this article was published).

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Burns declined to say how much money the company has raised but said they have raised enough to hire the management team and engineers and acquire the factory.

Lordstown Motors plans to build electric pickup trucks and delivery trucks.

Burns hopes to have pre-production prototypes coming of the assembly line by April and start production by November 2020 with 400 hourly workers to start. He wants experienced vehicle assemblers to build the trucks.

"We're essentially reinventing electric vehicles", Burns said. The only moving parts on this truck are the wheels. For your security, we've sent a confirmation email to the address you entered.

The UAW opposed the Lordstown plant sale because of the risk involved. In addition to being wary of tying its fortunes to a cash-strapped startup, future demand for electric vehicles is uncertain.

Burns said he's hired a team of veterans from GM, Ford Motor Co. and Fisker's successor company, Karma Automotive LLC.

GM had employed 4,500 people at the factory near Youngstown just two years ago before it began cutting production and eventually in March ended more than 50 years of auto manufacturing there, part of a major restructuring plan.

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