Lordstown Lost: General Motors Offloads Shuttered Chevy Cruze Plant

That didn’t take long. With General Motors now in possession of a ratified four-year labor agreement, a plant the automaker closed down earlier this year, and one it had no intention of restoring to its past glory, is out of its hands.

Ohio’s Lordstown Assembly, which fell victim to dwindling passenger car sales (by the time of its closure, the facility was operating on one shift — down from three earlier in the Chevrolet Cruze’s life), has been sold to Lordstown Motors Corp., the automaker said Thursday.

The move was long expected. Lordstown Motors comprises a combination of business partners, among them Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group — the fledgling builder of electric pickups. Workhorse and its partners hope to use the former GM facility to build a retail plug-in pickup, though Workhorse, which shares its tech know-how with Lordstown Motors, is in the running for the lucrative U.S. Postal Service replacement vehicle contract.

The former Lordstown Assembly would likely be the home of those vehicles if Workhorse wins the contract. It would also be home to some 6,000 W-15 electric pickup prototypes Workhorse received pre-orders for, Bloomberg reports. Those pre-orders will apparently be flipped over to Lordstown Motors, though it’s another plug-in pickup — dubbed Endurance — that LM hopes to put into production on a mass scale, targeting fleet buyers.

The big question mark hanging over the plant purchase and Lordstown Motors’ dreams concerns money. GM didn’t reveal the details of the plant sale, and just how much cash LM has to work with isn’t known.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, formerly head of Workhorse, said, “We are going to be fundraising for a while. We have to stand up an auto company.”

With money raised, Burns said he hopes to one day employ a number of UAW-affiliated GM workers laid off when the plant closed. Most remaining workers at Lordstown were transferred to other plants in the Midwest. In its tentative agreement, GM claimed the site would initially host 400 jobs, while a GM battery cell plant in the same region would eventually employ 1,000.

To build the Endurance, which Burns describes as having four electric motors, one at each wheel (meaning four-wheel drive), the company plans to tap the industry knowledge of a team containing members hailing from Ford, GM, and Karma Automotive. LM Chief Production Officer Rick Schmidt spent more than three years as Tesla’s manufacturing director.

“We’ve got a solid team and I’m confident in our fundraising efforts,” Burns said.

With Ford and GM both working on electric pickups, joined in that goal by Tesla and upstart (but better prepared than LM) Rivian, it’ll be interesting to see how quickly Lordstown Motors can put its plans into action. Readers at home can place bets.

shared from TTAC

Comments