Elio Motors will use a former General Motors assembly plant near Shreveport, Louisiana to build three-wheeled vehicles it claims will achieve over 80 miles on a gallon of petrol.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed by Elio and Racer Trust which owns properties GM disposed of in its bankruptcy. The deal is expected to close in the spring, Reuters reported.
Elio said it expected to begin commercial vehicle production in mid-2014 with “significant hiring” at the plant to begin by the second quarter of that year and full employment of 1,500 people reached in late 2015. Louisiana state officials separately told Reuters Elio would begin renovating the plant early this year.
Elio said its car would achieve a highway mileage rating of more 80 miles per gallon. The Louisiana officials said Elio was targeting a retail price of US$6,800 for the car, which will be equipped with three airbags, power windows and air conditioning.
The Elio jobs will pay an average annual salary of $47,700, plus benefits, and the company will make a capital investment of $100m, Louisiana officials said.
Reuters noted that the Shreveport plant would be the 25th former GM property sold since the Racer Trust was established in March 2011, raising over $27m. The trust was charged with selling the 89 locations in 14 states that GM left behind following its 2009 bankruptcy and $50bn taxpayer bailout.
Production at the former GM plant ceased last August. GM had continued work at the plant under a lease with Racer Trust, officially known as the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust.
Elio, founded in 2008, will build its three-wheeled vehicles in the 1.8m sq ft factory that was built in 1981 and most recently expanded in 2002. The property also includes a paint shop, powerhouse and wastewater treatment facility, rail spur and 530 acres of land.
Elio said it expected to use about 1m of the over 3m sq ft available for its manufacturing operations.
Industrial developer Stuart Lichter, who has acquired other former GM sites, will buy the 530-acre Shreveport site in conjunction with Elio and lease portions to other tenants, state officials told Reuters. Lichter is president of Los Angeles-based Industrial Realty Group.
Elio will receive an incentive package from Louisiana Economic Development, Louisiana officials said. The Caddo Parish Commission also is negotiating potential incentives.