WASHINGTON/TORONTO – General Motors Co. moved to solve two major political headaches on Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump announced the Detroit automaker will sell its Lordstown, Ohio, plant to a company to build electric trucks, while GM said it would maintain some operations at a Canadian plant.
The decision came after GM faced months of criticism over its plan announced in November to close five North American plants and cut 15,000 jobs. GM’s decision to close the small-car Ohio assembly plant in a key state in the 2020 election had already become fodder for several Democratic presidential candidates.
GM did not immediately comment but said it planned to make an announcement later in the day.
Trump, in a tweet, said the sale of the Ohio plant to Workhorse Group Inc. will require the approval of the United Auto Workers union. Trump said GM will invest $700 million in three other Ohio facilities and add 450 jobs. A person briefed on the matter said GM will make investments in its Toledo, Parma and Lorain operations.
Workhorse shares jumped nearly 70 percent on Trump’s tweet and were briefly halted. They were recently up about 40 percent. The UAW did not immediately comment.
Separately, GM and the largest union representing Canada’s auto workers have reached a deal to partly rescue an Ontario carmaking plant slated to close this year by turning it into a parts-making facility, the automaker said in a statement.
The transformation of GM’s Oshawa site, which would also be used to conduct advanced vehicle testing, would save 300 jobs and have “the potential to grow and generate significant additional jobs in the coming years, as the business attracts new customers,” the U.S. automaker said in a statement.
Unifor, which had fiercely opposed the shutting of the plant’s doors, had previously said the closure was contrary to a contract that stipulates there would be no plant closure.