Sick of winning yet? General Motors has announced they will invest $700 Million in Ohio and hire 450 workers, as they shuffle around manufacturing operations. They’ll be selling an idle plant to Workhorse Inc., a company that builds electric trucks, and reinvesting in plants in three other towns in Ohio.
Under pressure from President Donald Trump, General Motors Co said on Wednesday it was in talks to sell an idled northeast Ohio plant to a cash-strapped electric truck-building company.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker also said it would invest $700 million in three other plants in Ohio – a state important to Trump’s re-election chances in 2020 – and maintain some operations at a Canadian factory that had been slated to close by year end.
Workhorse and a newly formed entity, in which Workhorse holds a minority stake, would initially employ “hundreds” at the plant building a commercial electric pickup truck, Workhorse officials said. As recently as 2016, GM employed 4,500 people at the plant and in March cut the final 1,500 jobs when production of the slow-selling Chevrolet Cruze ended.
Of the 2,800 hourly employees affected by the plans to end production at the four U.S. plants, 1,350 have accepted transfers to other GM plants, the company said. At Lordstown, about half of those employed when production ended have transferred elsewhere.
GM also said on Wednesday it will invest $700 million and add 450 jobs at its Toledo, Parma and Moraine, Ohio, operations. “Great news for Ohio,” Trump tweeted.
“This potential agreement … will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse’s role in the EV community,” Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said in the GM statement, referring to electric vehicles.
Workhorse shares jumped 190 percent to $2.45 on the news, while GM’s shares were almost unchanged, down 5 cents at $38.48 in late afternoon.
As mainstream media tries to “blame” Trump for the failure of the Chevy Cruze, which used to be made in the Lordstown plant, even CNBC conceded that Trump’s pressure on GM led to the new investment:
“The U.S. economy and our core business are strong, so we can expand our commitment to U.S. manufacturing and Ohio and create job opportunities for our employees,” said GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement Wednesday. “We also expect to bring more jobs to the U.S. over time in support of the expected provisions of the USMCA.”
Preparing the Lordstown plant for production could begin immediately once the sale is complete, GM said in a statement.
GM in March shuttered its Lordstown plant, which built more than 16 million new vehicles over 50 years, to refocus its production on more the profitable trucks and SUVs Americans prefer today. Barra is phasing out most sedans and compact cars to ramp up production of utility vehicles and invest more in autonomous driving and electric vehicles.
By the end of this year, the company will have closed five production plants across the U.S. and Canada as part of its plan announced last year to cut 14,000 jobs.
Trump previously criticized GM’s decision to sell the plant, putting pressure on the company to resume operations. In November, he threatened to cut subsidies to the automaker after it announced it planned to slash production.
After the Lordstown facility closed in March, Trump said Barra “blamed” the United Auto Workers union, or UAW, which represents workers at the plant, for its closure.
“I don’t care, I just want it open!” Trump tweeted in March.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2019