Lordstown once built popular Chevrolet models like the GM Korea-designed Cruze

Lordstown once built popular Chevrolet models like the GM Korea-designed Cruze

General Motors said it was "in discussions with Cincinnati-based Workhorse Group and an affiliated, newly formed entity" to sell the Lordstown factory complex in Ohio.

The automake claimed the move had "potential to bring significant production and electric vehicle assembly jobs to the plant".

Upon final agreement, the entity, headed by Workhorse founder Steve Burns, would acquire the facility. Workhorse would hold a minority interest in the new entity.

"This potential agreement creates a positive outcome for all parties involved and will help solidify the leadership of Workhorse's role in the EV community," said CEO Duane Hughes.

Burns added: "The first vehicle we would plan to build if we were to purchase the Lordstown Complex would be a commercial electric pickup, blending Workhorse's technology with Lordstown's manufacturing expertise."

GM said it had been talking with the UAW since November 2018 "regarding the impact of changing market conditions on the Lordstown facility". These discussions would include this opportunity.

Lordstown Assembly was one of three North American plants which GM last November said would be "unallocated in 2019" - in other words not assigned anything to build.

In December, GM chief executive Mary Barra, having come under fire from under pressure from Ohio's two US senators and other lawmakers who wanted GM to shift production of a vehicle from Mexico or build electric vehicles at plant [president Trump also weighed in], vowed to keep an "open mind" about Lordstown but warned the automaker had excess capacity and did not suggest it was reconsidering the plan.

"I want to make sure that the workforce knows there are limitations and we do have an overcapacity across the country," Barra said. It would be "very costly" to shift production from Mexico of the new Chevrolet Blazer that was due to be launched imminently.

Trump had earlier told GM the company had "better" find a new vehicle to build at the plant in Ohio.

A week later General Motors reportedly was expecting to be able to offer new posts to about 2,700 of the 2,800 hourly employees affected by plans to halt production at the four US plants in 2019.

GM subsequently began cutting 4,000 white collar jobs in February this year.

In a statement on Thursday (9 May), Barra said: "We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the US, including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone.

"Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown's more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work."

Upon final agreement with all parties, work "could begin immediately to prepare the facility for new production", GM added.