General Motors will invest in its Moraine plant and two other Ohio plants as it engages in talks to sell its Lordstown complex to a Loveland-based producer of electric trucks, the automaker and others said Wednesday.
A hoped-for 450 new Ohio jobs “is certainly good news,” Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said.
GM announced manufacturing investments in Ohio totaling some $700 million, expanding GM’s operations in Moraine, Toledo and Parma, creating approximately 450 new manufacturing jobs.
Some of those new jobs and a portion of that investment will go to the DMAX plant off Dryden Road in Moraine, GM spokesman Dan Flores said. He declined to precisely break down the jobs, but said most of the jobs will go to GM's Toledo plant.
Flores also said GM said is expanding diesel engine production at the DMAX plant for all-new heavy-duty pickups, which go on sale later this year.
Flores said Moraine-built DMAX engines will be an option for refreshed GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado models.
The Dryden Road plant has 670 hourly workers and nearly 130 salaried workers today, according to GM.
Regarding Lordstown, DeWine said it may be too soon to celebrate news about a possible rejuvenation of the plant, but he expressed guarded optimism about the way matters were headed.
A contract for trucks between Loveland-based Workhorse Group Inc. and the U.S. Postal Service is key to making a deal happen, as are negotiations with the United Auto Workers (UAW) which represented GM workers in Lordstown and is suing GM for a new vehicle to produce there.
The UAW said it is holding fast to its position that GM should assign a vehicle for regular production to Lordstown.
“A federal lawsuit filed by the UAW over the closing of the Lordstown, Baltimore and Warren facilities is still pending, and the UAW will continue its effort to protect the contractual rights of its members at these locations,” the union said in a release.
"This is a step, but we have a long way to go and things have to fall in place," DeWine said.
DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted hastily called a news conference after President Donald Trump’s tweets on the issue mid-day Wednesday.
“GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO!,” Trump tweeted. “Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks. GM will also be spending $700,000,000 in Ohio…”
A second tweet added: “….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!”
Workhorse Group makes electric pickups and drone software, according to its website.
Sen. Sherrod Brown said Trump’s tweet was the first he had heard of a deal.
“We saw the tweet, but you can’t cash a tweet,” he said, saying workers “need paychecks.”
He said Trump’s tweet raised “high expectations about how many jobs may be created…we want to know where they are and how much they will pay. We don’t know any more than you do at this point.”
GM announced last year that it would shutter or otherwise divert from future production five North American plants, including the Lordstown plant.
“I want to thank @realDonaldTrump for his help in bringing new production to #Lordstown,” tweeted Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “I’m hopeful we will see the #Lordstown plant humming again.”
Via tweet, Portman added that he was “optimistic” about the news.
“I’ve worked with Workhorse and look forward to further developments and news from @GM,” he tweeted.
Today, full-size trucks and SUVs are ascendant, and the Lordstown plant has been doomed by weak demand for sedans — such as the Lordstown-produced Chevrolet Cruze.
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