General Motors' potential sale of Lordstown Assembly to Workhorse Group Inc. for production of electric vehicles was hailed as "great news for Ohio" by President Donald Trump, but not everyone was celebrating.
While a deal, which remains far from complete, would keep jobs at the massive factory, the staffing would be a fraction of GM's 1,400 hourly workers on one shift — down from three shifts with 4,500 people three years ago.
There are several things that could fall through with the deal and many unknowns about Workhorse's plans for the plant. There also is little information so far about an affiliated third party, led by former Workhorse CEO Steve Burns, that would actually buy the factory.
Lordstown Assembly, at 6.2 million square feet, has a maximum capacity of 410,000 units, according to LMC Automotive — a massive order to fill for a cash-strapped company such as Workhorse, which this week reported first-quarter sales of $364,000.
"We've been paying attention to what they're up to. Obviously, they're an extremely small player and there are a lot of questions," said Jeff Schuster, president of global forecasting for LMC Automotive. "It's a big wild card, really. This legitimizes it a little bit further but it's a big unknown."
GM in March idled Lordstown, which had been producing the Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan, as part of a massive restructuring to reduce North American capacity.