CHICAGO Elio Motors Inc.
plans to spend more than $100 million to retool General Motors
Co.s plant in Shreveport, La., which closed last summer
after years of making midsize pickups.
Elio Motors will make enclosed,
three-wheeled vehicles that are able to attain more than 80
miles per gallon on the highway. With an estimated sticker
price of $6,800, Elios vehicles will be positioned as a
low-cost alternative to four-wheeled vehicles.
Elio Motors will occupy about 1
million square feet of the more than 3-million-square-foot
plant. An industrial developer will lease the rest to other
Elio Motors expects to begin
commercial production in mid-2014, and plans to hire 1,500
people by late 2015.
"After the loss of GM, we (told)
the people of northwest Louisiana we would pursue possible
alternative uses for the old GM facility ... that would create
new job opportunities," Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a
Elio Motors is buying the GM
plant from the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental
Response (Racer) Trust, created by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court
settlement agreement to redevelop former GM sites.
"Shreveport will be the perfect
home for Elio Motors," president and chief executive officer
Paul Elio said.
The company won an economic
incentive package from the state, including performance-based
payroll rebates and industrial tax exemptions.
"The plant is in fantastic
shape. The equipment is top-notch and ready to go now. Vehicles
were being built here just a few months ago. That saves us a
tremendous amount of capital right up front," Elio said.
Retooling will begin when the
real estate sale closes, to be followed shortly thereafter by
the production of prototypes.