General Motors has responded to critics of its potential deal with electric and hybrid vehicle maker Workhorse, which has expressed interest in purchasing the now defunct Lordstown Assembly Complex in Ohio.
GM’s deal with Workhorse was first announced by US President Donald Trump last month, with Trump writing in a tweet that GM had agreed to sell the 6.2 million sq. ft. facility to Workhorse pending an agreement with the UAW.
Following the announcement, media pundits and industry experts expressed doubt over the Workhorse sale, as the company has less than 100 employees on its payroll and is reportedly in poor financial standing.
GM CEO Mary Barra has now hit back at those critics, however, saying GM properly researched Workhorse before entering discussions with the company and also adding that it had other companies to potentially sell the factory to.
“We remain thinking it’s a strong possibility and think people should focus on opportunity and maybe every now and then a little optimism wouldn’t hurt anyone,” Barra told Reuters in an interview.
Reuters also asked Barra if the Lordstown announcement was a PR stunt to save face after GM shuttered numerous US plants and laid off thousands of its employees, which she denied.
The UAW wants GM to keep Lordstown open and under its control – a topic that will be discussed during the UAW-GM labor talks this year. Barra was also in Washington today where she met with Ohio delegation members Rob Portman (R) and Sherrod Brown (D) to talk about the options for Lordstown.
Before production of the Chevrolet Cruze ended in March, the Lordstown Assembly site employed more than 1,600 workers. GM has transferred about 700 UAW workers from Lordstown to other US plants in its network.