DETROIT Jan 3 Elio Motors has agreed to
purchase a former General Motors Co assembly plant near
Shreveport, Louisiana and will use it to build three-wheeled
vehicles that it says will get more than 80 miles on a gallon of
gasoline, the company said on Thursday.
Terms of the sale were not disclosed in a joint press
release from Elio and Racer Trust, which owns properties GM
disposed of in its bankruptcy. The deal is expected to close in
Elio said it expects 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 said in a
separate release that Elio will begin renovating the plant early
Elio said its car will achieve a highway mileage rating of
more 80 miles per gallon. Louisiana officials said Elio is
targeting a retail price of $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
$100 million, Louisiana officials said.
The Shreveport plant will be the 25th former GM property
sold since the Racer Trust was established in March 2011,
raising more than $27 million. The trust was charged with
selling the 89 locations in 14 states that GM left behind
following its 2009 bankruptcy and $50 billion taxpayer bailout.
Production at the former GM plant ceased in August 2012. 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 1.8 million-square-foot 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 expects to use about 1 million of the more than
3 million square feet available for its manufacturing
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 said. 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.