GM Closes Sale Of Lordstown Plant To EV Startup — New Production Slated For Late 2020

Lordstown Motor Corp. took control of the plant Thursday

GM Closes Sale Of Lordstown Plant To EV Startup
[Photo: General Motors]

GM shut down the Ohio plant in March.

After tumultuous negotiations between General Motors and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union, including a 40-day strike, the company announced its sale of the Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio to EV truck manufacturer Lordstown Motors Corp.

The 6.2 million-square-foot complex opened in 1966, and built several of Chevrolet’s compact cars throughout its 53-year life. When it closed on March 6, the plant was manufacturing the Chevrolet Cruze. GM entered talks to sell the plant to Workhorse Group — a decision that drew ire from several parties, from the plant’s former workers to President Donald Trump. At the time, he said of GM’s decision to sell the plant:

Ultimately, the plant’s fate rested on General Motors’ negotiations with the UAW. The inion sued the automaker after its November 2018 decision to close the plant for violating the terms of its previous contract, which expired in September. More than 48,000 workers went on strike on September 16, in an effort to bargain for a better four-year contract with the automaker. Employees at the Lordstown plant hoped that the UAW negotiations could save their jobs, but the plant ultimately fell victim to the ratified deal in late October. GM also closed two other plants in Michigan and Maryland, but did keep the Detroit-Hamtramck facility open.

GM Closes Sale Of Lordstown Plant To EV Startup
A rendering of the upcoming Endurance electric pickup. [Photo: Lordstown Motor Corp.]

New Lordstown ownership

Of the sale, the company announced Friday that it was “committed to future investment and job growth in Ohio and we believe 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.” Workhorse Group holds a 10 percent stake in LMC, and will license components featuring its own technology to the company for its electric truck. According to a Detroit News report, it will also transfer 6,000 pre-orders for the Workhorse W-15 pickup to Lordstown Motors.

The Lordstown assembly plant. [Photo: General Motors]

The Endurance electric pickup is scheduled to go into production in late 2020. The Lordstown plant, now in LMC’s control, plans to initially hire 400 workers, with former Tesla manufacturing director Rich Schmidt as Lordstown’s chief production officer. The company has not yet opened discussions with the UAW, though CEO Steve Burns wants a UAW workforce to build the trucks. He also said he wants the plant to be “an electric epicenter of the Midwest.”

If LMC does meet its 2020 production target, it will face tough competition from the likes of Tesla, Rivian, Ford, General Motors as well as several other EV startups.