General Motors plans to sell its idled Lordstown plant in Ohio to Workhorse Group Inc., a little known electric truck and drone maker in the state, according to President Donald Trump.
Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he "just spoke" to GM CEO Mary Barra and "subject to a UAW agreement etc.," the Detroit automaker will sell the plant to "Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks."
GM confirmed in a later statement it is in "discussions" with Workhorse and an "affiliated, newly formed entity" to sell the plant.
“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,” Barra said in the statement. "Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”
Workhorse is based in Loveland, Ohio, near Cincinnati. Its chairman, Raymond Chess, spent 37 years at GM in a variety of roles that included "global product responsibility for all crossover vehicles," his company biography said.
"The move has the potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant," the GM statement said. "Upon final agreement, the entity, led by Workhorse founder Steve Burns, would acquire the facility. Workhorse would hold a minority interest in the new entity."
“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,” Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in the GM statement.
“The first vehicle we would plan to build if we were to purchase the Lordstown Complex would be a commercial electric pickup, blending Workhorse’s technology with Lordstown’s manufacturing expertise," Burns said in the statement.
It was unclear when the parties expect to complete negotiations.
"Upon final agreement with all parties, work could begin immediately to prepare the facility for new production," the statement said.
The UAW was unimpressed by the announcement, contending that GM instead should assign a new product to the facility.
“In response to General Motors’ announcement today, the UAW’s position is unequivocal: General Motors should assign a product to the Lordstown facility and continue operating it,” UAW Vice President Terry Dittes, director of the UAW-GM Department, said in a statement.