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GM to invest $700 million and create 450 jobs in Ohio as it negotiates sale of Lordstown plant

Key Points
  • General Motors said it is investing $700 million and creating about 450 new manufacturing jobs in Ohio.
  • The automaker also said it is in talks with electric truckmaker Workhorse Group to sell its Lordstown, Ohio plant. 
GM workers rally outside the GM Lordstown plant on March 6, 2019 in Lordstown, Ohio. The sprawling facility was idled today after more than 50 years of producing cars and other vehicles.
Jeff Swensen | Getty Images

General Motors said Wednesday it's investing $700 million and creating about 450 new manufacturing jobs in Ohio as it negotiates the sale of its Lorsdtown, Ohio, factory to electric truckmaker Workhorse Group.

"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."

The company said the new jobs its creating will be at its Toledo, Parma and Moraine facilities in Ohio.

President Donald Trump preempted the automaker's announcement over Twitter about an hour beforehand, thanking Barra for selling the plant to Workhorse and reinvesting money in other facilities in Ohio. GM's later said it was in "discussions" with Workhorse to buy the plant, but it didn't confirm that a sale has been agreed to yet.

"GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO!" Trump tweeted Wednesday.

Workhorse is a Loveland, Ohio-based automaker that specializes in manufacturing electric vehicles. If the sale goes through, it would be run by a newly formed affiliate that would be partially owned by Workhorse, executives said.

"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 a statement. Company founder Steve Burns added that if Workhorse purchases the plant, the company will focus on building a commercial electric pickup truck.

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.

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General Motors 'in discussions' to sell Lordstown complex

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.

The UAW said in a statement that it will "monitor the situation" around the Lordstown plant and will determine the course of action that will best benefit members. Its lawsuit against GM, which claims its existing contract prohibits GM from idling plants, is still pending.

"The UAW's position is unequivocal: General Motors should assign a product to the Lordstown facility and continue operating it," the UAW said in a statement.