GM Lordstown

Pence: Workhorse Secures Funds to Buy GM Lordstown

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Vice President Mike Pence told reporters Tuesday that a group affiliated with Workhorse Group Inc. has raised enough capital to move forward with its plans to purchase the idle General Motors Lordstown plant.

According to a video posted by WEWS News 5 in Cleveland, Pence, while attending a groundbreaking ceremony for an automotive supplier near Columbus, said that the Trump administration is “very pleased that they stepped forward.”

On March 6, the Lordstown plant produced the final Chevrolet Cruze and about 1,500 workers lost their jobs. On May 8, President Donald Trump tweeted that Workhorse, a Cincinnati-based electric-vehicle manufacturer, had agreed to purchase the plant and build electric trucks at the 6 million-square-foot facility. 

“Workhorse, I learned just this week, secured financing to move forward to keep jobs in that community and we’re going to continue to look for ways to support that,” Pence told a group of reporters following the event. 

Under the proposal to GM, Workhorse would have a 5% interest in a new venture being assembled by the company’s founder and former CEO, Steve Burns. The name of the entity and potential other partners have not been identified as of yet.  It is estimated that the venture would need to raise $300 million to buy the plant.

“I put a call into Steve Burns last night and haven’t heard back,” said Lordstown Mayor Arno Hill. “I’ve heard so many rumblings and so many things that right now I’m just waiting to hear from the UAW and GM.” Hill, other public officials and the UAW would prefer that GM invest in Lordstown and award the plant another product to build instead of selling it.

Hill said he spoke with Burns about three weeks ago. Initially, Burns told the mayor he wanted to make an announcement soon, but Hill told him that it would be premature since talks between and GM and the UAW were just getting started.

“I said it would be best to hold off until he had more clarity to where the talks were going,” Hill said. “He thought that was a good idea.”

In June, Workhorse announced it had secured $25 million for research and development toward its next generation electric vehicles.  

Pence was in Lancaster Tuesday at a ceremony celebrating construction of a new plant operated by Magna International, which manufactures components for the automotive industry. A similar plant in Lordstown that provided seats for the Chevrolet Cruze closed after the final shift at the GM assembly plant was placed on layoff. 

That plant employed more than 300 people at one time. The new Lancaster plant is expected to employ about the same. 

“It’s important also to note that as Lordstown goes through that process and that change, we are still seeing investment like we are celebrating here in Fairfield County,” Pence said. “General Motors is still investing hundreds of millions of dollars in Ohio alone, creating all new jobs and to keep that momentum going, we really believe that completing the USMCA [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement] will absolutely be essential.”

“For the sake of Lordstown, for the sake of the new company Workhouse that will coming there. For the sake of Magna Seating Columbus, we have to get the USMCA done,” Pence continued. “But we will keep working hand and glove. One of the things I think American people admire about this president is he is fighting every day for the American jobs. When we got word about Lordstown, I was around when the president picked up the phone and called GM and let Mary Barra know that we wanted them to fund a solution for that community and we are encouraged about the progress but we are going to stay directly engaged.”

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.