LORDSTOWN, Ohio — The startup company hoping to bring automobile manufacturing back to Lordstown is offering a first look inside its newly-acquired facility.
Lordstown Motors on Thursday released the first in a planned series of videos filmed inside its electric truck plant, which it bought from General Motors late last year. The footage features founder and CEO Steve Burns talking about the history of autoworkers in the region, as well as his corporation's plans for the future.
"Lordstown, Ohio has got a long history of vehicle making," Burns said. "The people here are enduring. We've got the best of the best."
According to Burns, the company is hoping to build "the first electric pickup truck in the United States, and likely the world." That truck will be the 2020 Endurance, and officials claim it will cost less in the long run than Ford's popular F-150.
"This is for commercial users; they demand a very tough, robust vehicle," he said. "With a strong motor and computer basically watching each wheel every millisecond, you're going to get better traction out of this setup than any conventional vehicle could ever offer."
GM once employed more than 4,000 people at the 6.2 million-square-foot plant, which churned out over 16 million vehicles (mostly Chevrolets). However, citing a changing consumer climate, the company closed the plant down in March of last year, devastating the remaining 1,000-plus workers and igniting a firestorm from politicians across the aisle, including President Donald Trump.
This past November, following months of speculation and a settlement with the United Auto Workers union, GM sold the plant to Lordstown Motors. Ten percent of the new entity is owned by electric truck maker Workhorse Group, and GM lent $40 million of its own money to help get the startup off the ground. The corporation is also seeking a $200 million loan from the federal government.
While the progress of Lordstown Motors is welcome news, it's still currently a far cry from the village's GM peak, as only about 400 people are currently employed at the outset. Separately, though, GM plans to partner with LG Chem for a local electric vehicle battery plant, and corporate leaders say that will bring more than 1,000 more jobs to the region.
According to The Detroit News, Lordstown Motors will debut the Endurance truck this June at the North American International Auto Show, and will officially start production later in the year.