GM has been building cars at its factory in Lordstown, Ohio, for half a century. That facility was the site of a bitter dispute between the company and the UAW when GM installed some of the first industrial robots to help make the ill-fated Chevy Vega.
The high water mark for the factory occurred in 2014 when 4,500 workers built 273,000 vehicles there. When GM elected to shutter the factory earlier this year, 1,500 workers lost their jobs.
On May 8, GM CEO Mary Barra told the press her company is in talks about selling the Lordstown factory to electric truck manufacturer Workhorse. “We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone,” she said, according to Forbes. “Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”
Workhorse founder Steve Burns says the plan is for his company to purchase the factory and hold a minority stake in a new venture. It remains unclear at this time who would own the rest of the new enterprise. But until that situation does get clarified, there will be speculation that GM may be the majority stakeholder.
Rivian recently walked away from a link-up with GM, only to have Ford make a $500 million investment in it a short time later. GM can ill afford to have Ford get an electric pickup truck to market before it does.
Workhorse has been working on hybrid and battery electric trucks for several years and has its W-15 electric pickup truck teed up and ready to go into production later this year. It also has electric delivery vans in production, a market segment that could GM could be very interested in.
Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes says, “This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse’s role in the EV community.” When we find out what the details of the “potential agreement” are, we will share them with you.
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