Potential sale of shuttered GM plant clouded

The fate of a shuttered General Motors plant in Ohio remains very much up in the air even after a tweet from President Donald Trump heralded the potential sale of a factory he has shown an intense interest in saving.

What the potential deal does signal is the likely end of a half-century of car manufacturing for GM at its factory near Youngstown and continued uncertainty for a battered Rust Belt community that has seen plenty of empty promises.

GM confirmed this past week that it's negotiating the sale of its massive assembly plant in Lordstown, where production ended in March as part of a major restructuring for the automaker.

Workhorse has poured most of its money into research and development, with limited sales, losing $36.5 million last year. It warned in its most recent quarterly filing that it didn't have enough money to pay for its operations through the first half of this year and needed additional financing to stay afloat.

GM spokesman Jim Cain said it was too early to tell whether the automaker would be one of them. GM sees the startup as a way to preserve the Lordstown plant and thinks Workhorse has the technology and a product to build there, Cain said.

Trump has repeatedly called on GM to find another owner or reopen the plant, which is in an area of the state that will be important to him in the 2020 election and where he has promised a revival of manufacturing jobs.

Some GM workers in Lordstown who have been holding out hope the automaker would reopen the factory with a new vehicle to build there were skeptical about the new plans.

Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who has called for GM to sell the plant if it doesn't intend to keep it running, said it was too early to celebrate because many details must still be worked out.

"If things are not in place for this to happen," the governor said, "this would be very cruel to the workers and the people in Lordstown and the Mahoning Valley."