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What Would Lordstown Get in Workhorse?

Former General Motors Lordstown plant
The Lordstown plant offers ample space for electric vehicle production.

News about a possible buyer for the GM plant in Lordstown is generating a lot of interest in the Cincinnati company being mentioned as the purchaser. A Cincinnati business reporter tells us more about Workhorse

The Workhorse Group Incorporated grew out of electric vehicle maker AMP, which was founded in 2007. 

“It was founded by a person named Steve Burns," said Chris Wetterich, reporter and columnist with The Cincinnati Business Courier. "He was the CEO. He’s since left the company a few months ago."

Burns stepped down in February but was to remain as a consultant. The plans for Lordstown call for Burns to head up a newly formed entity. "Apparently he is going to take a major role in this Lordstown plan if it's going to take shape," Wetterich said.

Chris Wetterich is a reporter and columnist for The Cincinnati Business Courier

Wetterich describes Workhorse as a startup. "They're really a company that has spent a lot of money on research and development. They have a few contracts, most notably with United Parcel Service to provide electric trucks. And of course the delivery and logistics industry wants to find ways to cut costs and going to electric trucks could definitely save them some money. So that's kind of where they are. They've lost money the last couple of years. They're like a lot of electric car manufacturers, they're basically a startup company at this point still." 

Workhorse is making a couple different kinds of vehicles. 

"They’ve built some trucks for UPS, delivery trucks. They’re in line for a contract with the U.S. Postal Service which they would build a smaller truck and fleet of delivery vehicles for them. Then they do have, if you saw it on the street, you would say that looks kind of like a pickup truck. Then they're also developing kind of a combo truck and drone. The drone takes off from the truck and delivers the package to your house. Also looking at aviation and other kinds of drones. They’ve got a wide variety of things they’re looking at building."

How viable is Workhorse? Wetterich said it's hard to tell. 

"Their revenue was below $1 million in 2018. It looks to us like a startup company. It's a company spending a lot on research and development, losing a lot of money, which is not unusual in the startup field. The hope, of course, from investors is that it takes off in a big way and they make up their losses and then some. But it's hard to tell. It's not a company we've heard a whole lot about other than capital funding and the UPS contract."

But one tweet from President Trump and Wetterich said, "There’s a lot of interest in this company right now."

A Northeast Ohio native, Sarah Taylor graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio where she worked at her first NPR station, WMUB. She began her professional career at WCKY-AM in Cincinnati and spent two decades in television news, the bulk of them at WKBN in Youngstown (as Sarah Eisler). For the past three years, Sarah has taught a variety of courses in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State, where she is also pursuing a Master’s degree. Sarah and her husband Scott, have two children. They live in Tallmadge.