White House Op-Ed: Lordstown Motors’ Endurance ‘Stars’ on the South Lawn
UPDATED Editor’s Note: The White House press office reached out to The Business Journal and requested that we publish this op-ed. An incorrect statement in the original version of the op-ed subsequently was corrected by the White House. Accordingly, a Fact Check Editor’s Note was deleted from the original version of this post.
By Peter Navarro
Assistant to President Trump for Trade and Manufacturing Policy
WASHINGTON — The star of the White House show on the South Lawn Monday was a beautiful and muscular all-electric Endurance pickup truck, manufactured by Lordstown Motors. This was not the end of the journey for this truck, but rather the beginning of a beautiful renaissance for a Ohio factory that had fallen on the hardest of times after a precipitous decision by General Motors to shutter the plant.
It was a dark day back in November 2018 when, after 52 years of producing more than 16 million vehicles, GM announced it would shut down its assembly plant for the Chevy Cruze. More than half of the plant’s 1,300 workers were laid off four months later, at a cost over time of billions of dollars to the Ohio economy.
Enter President Donald J Trump. He quickly assembled a White House team to work closely with GM’s top executives and Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) on a new vision for Lordstown and the Mahoning Valley. This all-electric vision has two main components.
First, just outside the perimeter of the original Lordstown assembly plant, GM and the South Korean company LG chemical have entered into a joint venture to manufacture electric vehicle (EV) batteries.
This venture is critical to GM’s vision for an all-EV future by the year 2027. The GM-LG three-million square foot battery factory itself involves more than $2 billion of investment, currently employs 300 construction workers, and through planned expansions, may ultimately employ 2,200 workers.
In a great roll forward, the Endurance features four separate “engines” in each of its four tires. It will be the first truly “four-wheel-drive” pickup truck in the world. And when you pop the hood, you get a pleasant surprise – it’s all storage space.
Currently, Lordstown Motors has 200 full-time employees and 400 additional contractors. As it moves to full production, this will convert to 600 full-time employees. Over time, as production increases, so too will the number of jobs.
What made this project ultimately work was the close cooperation between GM and Lordstown Motors. GM has not only provided Lordstown Motors with equipment, expertise, and space inside the original factory footprint. It has also provided financial assistance and is an equity partner.
That President Trump helped catalyze this Lordstown renaissance speaks directly to his careful attention to detail when it comes to creating good-paying manufacturing jobs for the men and women of America who work with their hands. Projects like these will benefit more broadly from other Trump trade policies that have targeting the auto industry.
Second, inside the perimeter of the original GM factory, Lordstown Motors will produce the state-of-the-art EV pickup truck it has dubbed the Endurance. It was the prototype of this truck that was on display on the South lawn of the White House on Monday; and it is a thing of elegantly simple technical beauty.
For example, the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which entered into full force on July 1, 2020,v will ensure that at least three-quarters of autos and trucks qualifying for tariff benefits will be made in North America — and much of this production will be made in the USA because of tough labor and environmental provisions imposed on Mexico.vi,vii
Similarly, President Trump renegotiated a deeply flawed South Korean trade deal that would have eliminated United States tariffs on pickups in 2021. That deadline has been extended to 2041 – and that means more jobs for Lordstown for decades to come.
Pictured at top: President Donald J. Trump, joined by Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns, tours a Lordstown Motors 2021 Endurance Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)
Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.