Cleveland, Ohio – General Motors, a company that has drawn extreme criticism from President Donald Trump and the United Auto Workers (UAW) for its decision to close its Chevy Cruze plant in Lordstown, Ohio, is in talks to sell that facility to commercial truck maker Workhorse LLC.
A finalist to provide new postal vehicles and a company that has supplied electric delivery trucks to UPS and other shipping companies, Cincinnati, Ohio-based Workhorse’s offices are about 3 hours from the Northeast Ohio Lordstown plant.
“This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse’s role in the electric vehicle (EV) community,” Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes says. He adds that if the deal succeeds, the first vehicle would be a commercial electric pickup.
Since November 2018, GM has been in discussions with the UAW regarding Lordstown’s future. The union’s contract with the automaker doesn’t allow it to officially close or sell the site during the contract’s term – officially, the plant is still open but with no product to produce. In July 2019, the union and GM will negotiate a new contract.
UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, director of the UAW-GM Department, says the union still wants GM to put a new product in the plant and will continue its lawsuit protesting the closing of Lordstown and three other U.S. sites.
Still, Dittes left open the possibility of non-GM ownership, saying “We will monitor this situation as it develops to determine what course of action will most benefit UAW-represented workers at General Motors.”
GM CEO Mary Bara says the automaker continues to invest in Ohio at plants in Toledo, Parma, and Moraine, and it sees the sale of Lordstown to Workhorse “a potential win-win for everyone. Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 18 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.