Is there new life at Lordstown?

No question, it’s not been the best imaginable month for General Motors in terms of good-neighborly public relations. The massive, historic assembly plant at Lordstown, Ohio, ceased operations after its final vehicle, a 2019 Chevrolet Cruze LS, rolled off the line, leaving hundreds of employees who had toiled in the 6.2 million-square-foot factory uncertain about their futures. Lordstown was perhaps best known for producing the ill-starred Chevrolet Vega beginning in late 1970, but the plant successfully built numerous other GM vehicles over the decades.

The workforce at Lordstown has endured nervousness about its future ever since the final Cruze was built in March. Several hundred Lordstown workers have since successfully applied for transfers to other GM plants including Flint, Michigan, and Spring Hill, Tennessee. This week came some more locally positive news: GM disclosed that it’s now in talks to sell the entire Lordstown complex to the Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group, Inc., a manufacturer of electric vehicles and propulsion systems. GM reported it could lead to “significant” numbers of Workhorse hires at Lordstown, although exact numbers were not discussed in GM’s media announcement. On a more precise positive note, GM said it’s creating more than 450 new manufacturing jobs at its facilities in Moraine, Parma and Toledo, Ohio, where the new employees will work at building diesel engines for pickups, metal stamping and laser-cell welding of body components and development of a new 10-speed automatic transmission for trucks and SUVs, respectively.

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