When General Motors announced that it would be potentially selling its Lordstown plant to electric car start-up Workhorse Group Inc, there was a fair amount of head-scratching. The company is best for their W-15 range-extended pickup (which has been delayed) and electric vans. They are also known for the Surefly octocopter drone their former CEO Steve Burns is trying to sell.
Why the skepticism? Workhorse isn't looking so good on the financial sheets. Back in March, Trucks.com published a report talking about the various financial setbacks the company has been facing. From their story,
The news hasn't gotten any better in 2019. Their most recent financial statement to the SEC reveals the company has $2,847,936 of on-hand cash at the end of March. They also reported a net loss of $6,264,172.
"Workhorse appears to be a very slow-moving venture that has a lot of risk, and no massive amount of funding. Lordstown is a massive facility, and despite some investments over the years, I don't believe it would be easily converted to build electric pickups without substantial investment," said Jeff Schuster, an industry analyst for LMC Automotive to The Detroit News.
But Workhorse has a plan for this. Both the News and Trucks.com report that “newly formed entity” would be created and Workhorse would be a minority stakeholder. The entity "would own Lordstown and use Workhorse technology and intellectual property to build a vehicle." Where would the business get the capital to this is unclear. Workhorse spokesman Tom Colton declined to comment when asked about possible funding sources.
“There’s got to be some big contract behind this because Workhorse’s financials and forecasts just don’t merit a plant that makes 450,000 units a year,” said Kristin Dziczek, director of the labor and industry group for the Center for Automotive Research.
There is also the issue of utilizing all of that space that Lordstown offers - 6.2 million square feet. Analysis done by LMC says Workhorse would need to produce 410,000 trucks and vans per year to reach full capacity. At the moment, LMC forecasts Workhorse producing between 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles.
Again, Workhorse may have a solution. Here is GM Spokesman Jim Cain speaking to The Detroit News,
As mentioned earlier, Workhorse is one of the five finalists on building new trucks for the U.S. Postal Service. They are teamed up with VT Hackney - a company that builds specialized bodies for work trucks - Emergency services and Beverage trucks to give some examples. The contract is worth $6.3 billion. But Jalopnik reported yesterday that the post office truck would not be built in Lordstown.
As it stands, there are a lot of questions and unknowns about this possible deal.
Source: The Detroit News, Trucks.com
In a series of tweets today, Trump announced that General Motors will be selling their Lordstown plant to electric truck maker Workhorse. Lordstown was shut down in March of this year and formerly built the Chevrolet Cruze. The details of the plant sale have not yet been announced.
Workhorse is a Cincinnati based company who builds EV pickups with a built in range extender, similar in concept to the Chevrolet Volt. Workhorse's sole model is the W-15, capable of driving up to 80 miles on a charge before a gasoline powered range extender kicks in. It uses two motors to provide all-wheel drive. The only configuration available is an extended cab with 6.5 foot bed. They can tow up to 5,000 lbs and have a payload of 2,200 lbs. Pricing starts at $54,500 before tax credits.
Workhorse intends to start production for the retail market sometime in 2019. Fleet orders have already started.
GM is not denying any of the information in the tweets from Trump.
Update: General Motors has confirmed that talks are ongoing.