General Motors is aiming to sell a recently shuttered car factory in Ohio to a maker of electric trucks, news that President Trump touted on Twitter on Wednesday.
G.M. said in a statement that it was in discussions to sell the plant in Lordstown to a new business partly owned by the electric-truck maker, the Workhorse Group, and headed by that company’s founder and former chief executive. Workhorse would use the plant to produce electric pickup trucks.
G.M. said the deal had the potential to bring “significant” production and assembly jobs to the plant. The number, however, would likely be far fewer than the 1,200 who previously worked there given Workhorse’s size and output.
“We remain committed to growing manufacturing jobs in the U.S., including in Ohio, and we see this development as a potential win-win for everyone,” said Mary T. Barra, G.M.’s chairwoman and chief executive, said in the statement. “Workhorse has innovative technologies that could help preserve Lordstown’s more than 50-year tradition of vehicle assembly work.”
Workhorse, a small company based near Cincinnati, makes battery-powered pickup trucks, delivery vans, drones and aircraft. Steve Burns, who founded Workhorse and stepped down as chief executive in February, will lead the business entity that acquires the Lordstown plant.
Hours before G.M. issued its statement, Mr. Trump hailed the news on Twitter.
“GREAT NEWS FOR OHIO! Just spoke to Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, who informed me that, subject to a UAW agreement etc., GM will be selling their beautiful Lordstown Plant to Workhorse, where they plan to build Electric Trucks,” Mr. Trump said on Twitter, referring to the United Automobile Workers union.
The president added that General Motors planned to invest $700 million elsewhere in Ohio, a figure later confirmed by G.M. The company said the investment would come in three cities — Toledo, Parma and Moraine — creating about 450 manufacturing jobs.
Mr. Trump has criticized the automaker for stopping production the Lordstown plant. In March, he demanded that G.M. reopen the factory or sell it “to a company who will open it up fast!”
During the 2016 election campaign, Mr. Trump promised to increase automotive jobs in the United States. Ohio, a state he carried, has been hit hard by the loss of manufacturing jobs.
In halting the Lordstown plant’s output of the Chevrolet Cruze — G.M. said the factory had been “unallocated” — the company eliminated 1,200 jobs. Some 450 workers had been transferred to other G.M. factories as of last month. Sales of the Cruze have dwindled over the last few years as consumers gravitated away from small cars in favor of trucks and sport utility vehicles. Fiat Chrysler stopped making midsize sedans and small cars in response to trend. G.M. and Ford are making similar changes.
G.M. said it was discussing its Lordstown plans with the U.A.W. The union on Wednesday called on the company to resume operations at the Ohio plant. “General Motors should assign a product to the Lordstown facility and continue operating it,” Terry Dittes, the union’s vice president, said in a statement.
G.M. and the U.A.W. are scheduled to start talks on a new labor contract in July. Automakers have in the past agreed to plant commitments in exchange for cost reductions from the union.
Workhorse is a small company, employing 98 full-time employees and reporting just $364,000 in revenue in the first quarter, according to recent financial reports. The company was founded in 1998 to take over production of delivery vans that G.M. had dropped from its lineup. Workhorse was acquired by Navistar in 2005 and began producing electric vans. Navistar later sold Workhorse to AMP Holding, which changed its name to Workhorse Group after the acquisition.
The company’s customers include UPS and FedEx, and it has several thousand orders for its electric trucks. It is hoping to win a contract to supply delivery vehicles to the United States Postal Service.
But Workhorse has struggled financially while preparing to increase production. In January it borrowed $35 million from a hedge fund, Marathon Asset Management.
Its stock was up about 90 percent on Wednesday afternoon.