Best known for manufacturing small electronic devices for companies around the world, Foxconn will soon be branching out to assemble automobiles in Ohio. On Wednesday, the Taiwanese Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (traded as Foxconn) closed on a deal with Lordstown Motors to purchase a 6.2 million-square-foot plant that used to belong to General Motors.
The $230 million deal leaves Foxconn with the facility and 400 Lordstown manufacturing employees it’s supposed to use to assemble the delayed Endurance pickup. Though the long-term plan is to use the plant to become a contract manufacturer akin to Magna Steyr, with an emphasis on all-electric vehicles.
The troubled Lordstown Motors has announced it will be selling its Ohio production facility to the Taiwanese Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn. But this is not a case of the prospective automaker offloading its assets so it can pay off its debts in full retreat. Instead, Lordstown has asserted this is a necessary partnership that will help guarantee it can still deliver the all-electric Endurance pickup truck.
Terms stipulate that Lordstown Motors will sell the sprawling factory to Foxconn for about $230 million. Two years ago, the site was purchased from General Motors for a very breezy $20 million after the Detroit-based manufacturer decided to abandon the Chevrolet Cruze. Foxconn will also be buying up $50 million worth of common stock and effectively take responsibility for production at Lordstown Assembly. However there is a laundry list of things that need to be done before pickup assembly is even an option.
If you weren’t aware, the sprawling General Motors assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio is no longer cranking out Chevy Cruzes. No plant is. And there’s now a strange “Lordstown Motors” sign adorning the complex, with some sort of crazy promise about building electric pickups? Wild.
The state of Ohio certainly took notice, recalling the economic development agreement it signed with the plant’s former owner more than a decade ago. Those public perks were dependent on GM continuing operations at the plant until a point many years in the future. Fork it over, Ohio recently told GM.
No, General Motors hasn’t snatched back its mothballed Lordstown, Ohio assembly plant and restarted production of the Chevrolet Cruze. Clearly, those angry letters from yours truly fell on deaf ears.
Instead, the plant’s new owner, Lordstown Motors, will reveal the model it hopes to build at the former GM site at this summer’s Detroit auto show. Before homegrown electric pickups can roll out of the plant, however, Lordstown first needs cash.
That’s where the feds come in.
That didn’t take long. With General Motors now in possession of a ratified four-year labor agreement, a plant the automaker closed down earlier this year, and one it had no intention of restoring to its past glory, is out of its hands.
Ohio’s Lordstown Assembly, which fell victim to dwindling passenger car sales (by the time of its closure, the facility was operating on one shift — down from three earlier in the Chevrolet Cruze’s life), has been sold to Lordstown Motors Corp., the automaker said Thursday.
As the UAW-GM strike closes out its fifth week, workers now hold the power of determining when it will end. Late Thursday, the UAW National General Motors Council recommended ratification of the tentative agreement forged a day earlier, tossing the ball into the workers’ court.
While the strike continues, some members claim they’ll reject the contract unless GM reopens mothballed assembly plants — an unlikely scenario, given that the suddenly thrifty automaker has already reversed course on the closure of Detroit-Hamtramck. That plant is now tapped for GM’s Ford-fighting electric pickup.
The General made more than two million Chevrolet Vegas during the car’s 1971-1977 run, and the numbers climb much higher if you include the Vega-derived Chevy Monza and its siblings. The Vega’s many quality problems and rapid cheap-subcompact depreciation led to nearly all of these cars disappearing from American roads well before the dawn of the 1990s, but I still find the occasional example during my junkyard travels. Here’s an early Vega two-door hatch that seemed to be in pretty good shape before it hit a large animal on an Arizona road a couple of years back.
Yesterday’s news that General Motors is in talks to sell its mothballed Lordstown assembly plant to an affiliate of Cincinnati’s Workhorse Group was met with surprise and no shortage of doubt.
For starters, the company ended last year with 98 employees. It’s still a fledgling startup, eager to sell a range-extended light duty pickup alongside its electric step vans, some of which have found a home with UPS. Workhorse is chasing larger game, however, throwing its hat in the ring for the U.S. Postal Service’s lucrative next-generation van contract. Most observers believe Workhorse’s acquisition of the Lordstown plant hinges on securing that contract.
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.
General Motors’ legal team has requested that the lawsuit filed by the United Automobile Workers, which claims that its decision to idle factories is in violation of an existing union agreement, be dismissed by a federal judge. The UAW alleges that GM sidestepped the collective bargaining agreement established in 2015 by closing plants prematurely. But the automaker has been careful to say that the facilities are being “unallocated,” claiming the union failed to adhere to the grievance arbitration procedure outlined in its contract — which forbids UAW from going to court until all other avenues have been exhausted.
The request came with a bundle of other motions, filed on March 21st, and included a request to transfer the case from Youngstown, Ohio (where the contentious Lordstown Assembly is located) to the eastern district of Michigan.
The last Chevrolet Cruze rolled out of Lordstown Assembly earlier this month, with the 53-year-old plant going dark two days later. Some laid-off workers are staying put, waiting to see if September contract talks hold any promise of a future in Lordstown.
While General Motors admits the United Auto Workers was willing to do its part to save the Lordstown Assembly Plant, details of that pact remained unknown. Now, a union official has shed light on some of the concessions the UAW agreed to.
Speaking against a very high-calibre backdrop at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, Ohio, President Donald Trump turned up the heat on General Motors to do something for the Lordstown-area economy. The automaker’s now-shuttered assembly plant, which entered “unallocated” status earlier this month, had been an economic driver in northeast Ohio since its opening in 1966.
Trump’s message to GM: Do something with the plant, or sell it to someone who will. While the automaker maintains that the status of its idled plants hinges on United Auto Workers labor negotiations, it does say it’s open to Lordstown Assembly offers. It’s already had some.
The president of a UAW local that represented General Motors workers at the now shuttered Lordstown Assembly plant isn’t happy knowing there was a chance that the mothballed facility could still be cranking out Chevrolet Cruzes.
Dave Green, president of UAW Local 1112, responded to reports in the Detroit Free Press and Youngstown Vindicator that a dealership mogul floated a plan to GM brass to purchase a massive order of Cruzes, thus allowing the plant to continue operating.
“If that deal was true, it could have kept 3,000 people working in Lordstown, plus all the parts suppliers on the side,” Green told Freep.
President Donald Trump weighed in on General Motors again this week. This time, the issue at hand was the fate of Lordstown Assembly — which was shuttered earlier this month as part of the automaker’s ongoing restructuring program.
“Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors about the Lordstown Ohio plant,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “I am not happy that it is closed when everything else in our Country is BOOMING. I asked her to sell it or do something quickly. She blamed the UAW Union — I don’t care, I just want it open!”
Barra’s take on just how much the United Automobile Workers are to blame is questionable, but the president’s position is not.
Canada’s autoworker union Unifor brought out the guy from Dune to protest a General Motors plant closure, but UAW went a few steps further. The American auto union hit GM with a lawsuit Tuesday, claiming the company’s decision to shutter three plants violates its 2015 collective bargaining agreement.
However, GM may have an out.
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