Trump: Electric Truck Maker to Buy GM's Lordstown Assembly

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

In a surprising turn of events, President Donald Trump broke a hot bit of news on Wednesday, tweeting that electric truck maker Workhorse Group has closed a deal to buy GM’s mothballed Lordstown Assembly plant, formerly home to the Chevrolet Cruze.

The news came by way of GM CEO Mary Barra, Trump said, and the automaker isn’t denying the plant sale.

Workhorse, you’ll recall, is the Cincinnati-based builder of an extended-range EV pickup — one TTAC’s Corey Lewis crawled all over back in September of 2017. Earlier that year, the company began taking fleet orders for its W-15 pickup, with the general public getting in on orders in January of 2018.

“GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO!” Trump said, laying out the news in two consecutive tweets.

“Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks. GM will also be spending $700,000,000 in Ohio…in 3 separate locations, creating another 450 jobs. I have been working nicely with GM to get this done. Thank you to Mary B, your GREAT Governor, and Senator Rob Portman. With all the car companies coming back, and much more, THE USA IS BOOMING!”

Lordstown Assembly built its last Cruze in March, ending a plant production run that started in 1966. Down to one shift at the time of the discontinuation, GM’s decision to “unallocate” the plant left 1,800 workers in search of jobs. Last month, group of 100 of workers finished building Cruze replacement parts.

While Workhorse is a small company, a GM spokesperson told NBC affiliate WKYC the automaker is “not disputing any info in the tweets.”

The company that Trump says is buying GM Lordstown had $763k in net sales in 2018, and a $36.5m net loss, according to its latest annual report.

— Jim Tankersley (@jimtankersley) May 8, 2019

The Workhorse W-15 is capable of driving 80 miles on electric power alone. Its platform is an in-house job, with range extended by the presence of a gasoline engine that acts as a generator. Payload is 2,200 pounds and towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, the company says, and pricing starts at $52,500 before applicable tax credits.

Total system horsepower is 460 hp.

Two electric motors, fed by a battery pack supplied by Panasonic, give the W-15 all-wheel drive capability, and the only bodystyle available for order is a crew cab with a 6.5-foot bed. Workhorse said early last year that the W-15 would enter full production in 2019.

As of publication time, General Motors had not officially announced the sale of Lordstown Assembly. We’ll get you word on that when it appears. Interestingly, the Workhorse website is down.

(Update: In a release, GM said “it is in discussions with Workhorse Group Inc. and an affiliated, newly formed entity to sell the company’s Lordstown Complex in Lordstown, Ohio. The move has the potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant. 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.”

Once a final agreement is reached, work could begin immediately to prepare the plant for electric pickup production, GM said.

The 450 Ohio jobs mentioned by Trump are manufacturing positions split between GM’s diesel engine-building DMAX plant in Moraine, Toledo Transmission (home of the 10-speed automatic), and Parma Metal Center, producer of stamped parts.)

[Images: Corey Lewis/TTAC, General Motors]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Eggsalad Eggsalad on May 08, 2019

    So this is like when Elio "bought" the Shreveport S-10 plant from GM and never built anything in it?

  • Seth1065 Seth1065 on May 08, 2019

    2 questions why does the UAW have a say? and does the plant have to stay Union? Their sales are tiny 736K at $44k a truck does not amount to much.

  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.
  • V8fairy Absolutely no, for the same reasons I would not have bought a German car in the late 1930's, and I am glad to see a number of other posters here share my moral scruples. Like EBFlex I try to avoid Chinese made goods as much as possible. The quality may also be iffy, but that is not my primary concern
  • Tsarcasm No, Japan only. Life costs by Rank:#1 - House (150k+)#2 - Education (30k+)#3 - Automobile (30k+) why waste hard earned money in inferior crap => Korean, Chinese, and American cars are trash. a toyota or honda will last twice as long.
  • Tassos In the 90s we hired a former PhD student and friend of mine, who 'worked' at GM "Research" labs, to come work for us as a 'temp' lecturer and get paid extra. He had no objection from GM, came during the day (around 2 PM), two hours drive round trip, plus the 1.5 hour lecture, twice weekly. (basically he goofed off two entire afternoons out of the five) He told me they gave him a different model new car every month, everything (even gas) paid. Instead of him paying parking, I told him to give me the cars and I drove them for those 90 mins, did my shopping etc. Almost ALL sucked, except the Eldo coupe with the Northstar. That was a nice engine with plenty of power (by 90s standards). One time they gave him the accursed Caddy Catera, which was as fun driving as having sex with a fish, AND to make it worse, the driver's door handle broke and my friend told me GM had to pay an arm and a leg to fix it, needed to replace almost the whole damned door!