Elio Motors to Buy Former GM Plant in Shreveport, Expects to Employ 1,500 by end of 2015

Unique 3-Wheel Vehicles Will Be Manufactured at Facility


SHREVEPORT, La. — The RACER Trust today announced an agreement to sell the former General Motors Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant to Elio Motors, which will manufacture its line of three-wheeled vehicles at the facility in Caddo Parish, just southwest of Shreveport.

The company says it expects to begin commercial vehicle production in mid-2014, with significant hiring at the Shreveport facility to begin by the second quarter of 2014 and full employment to be reached in late 2015. Elio is expected to employ 1,500 people when it reaches full production.

“This is a watershed moment for the people of Northwest Louisiana, for Elio Motors and for the RACER Trust,” RACER Trustee Elliott P. Laws said. “With this investment, Elio Motors is declaring its belief in American manufacturing and in the quality of the local workforce. Our mission with the RACER Trust includes helping to bring renewed, locally supported economic vitality to former GM sites, and we’re very pleased to have taken this major step toward achieving that goal here in Caddo Parish. We thank Paul Elio, the Caddo Parish Commission, Governor Jindal and his team for making this accomplishment possible. This agreement is the product of a dedicated partnership of private and public leaders who were determined to bring new economic activity to this region.”

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said, “After the loss of GM, we made a commitment to the people of Northwest Louisiana that we would not only pursue possible alternative uses for the old GM facility, but we would also aggressively pursue new projects in the region that would create new job opportunities. From Benteler to Ronpak to Tiburon, we have kept our commitment, and Elio is the latest example of a company that is investing here because of Louisiana’s strong business climate and world-class workforce. We look forward to partnering with them to secure job-creating tenants in the remaining space that is expected to be made available at the former GM facility.”

Elio Motors will manufacture its distinctive three-wheeled vehicles in the former GM Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant, a 1.8 million-square-foot facility that was built in 1981 and most recently expanded in 2002. The property also includes a 1.5 million-square foot facility that GM used as a paint shop; an on-site powerhouse and wastewater treatment facility; a rail spur; and 530 acres of land.

Elio said it expects to use about 1 million square feet for its manufacturing operations.

Though the Elio’s design is unique, the vehicles will be manufactured using 100 percent existing, reliable technology that is proven in vehicle manufacturing.

“We are extremely pleased and excited to be part of the Shreveport community with all that it has to offer and feel that Shreveport will be the perfect home for Elio Motors,” said Paul Elio, CEO of Elio Motors. “We want to thank Bruce Rasher and the team at RACER Trust, Caddo Parish and Governor Jindal and his economic development group for sharing the passion for creating high-quality American jobs and for making our dream possible. There were three driving factors in the purchase of the plant: The business-friendly economic environment; the quality of the local experienced workforce; and our unwavering commitment to build Elio vehicles in America, with American workers. We can’t wait to begin our journey in Louisiana.”

“Today’s announcement comes as welcome news,” said Jay Williams, Executive Director at the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers. “The collaborative efforts of Caddo Parish, the State of Louisiana, RACER Trust and, most importantly, their private partners will assist this community in moving forward. Returning the property to productive use will also yield significant economic benefits to the region, and can serve as a model approach for other similarly situated communities across the country. The President’s commitment to rebuilding American manufacturing communities continues.”

“This is an exciting and important economic opportunity for the Shreveport area,” U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu said. “ I have long been a supporter of this plant and was very happy to work with local officials to help make this deal a reality. Bringing an estimated 1,500 direct jobs to the region and more than 2,500 jobs total, this is an important boost to our local economy and the hardworking people in our region. I look forward to continuing to work with our local officials and business leaders to continue this success.”

“It’s certainly welcome news that Elio Motors is choosing Shreveport to create 1,500 jobs, and helping put many of Louisiana’s highly skilled and reliable auto manufacturing workforce to work,” U.S. Senator David Vitter said.

“I wish I could join you all in person to celebrate this important announcement,” said Congressman John Fleming, whose district includes the Shreveport facility. “I’m always grateful for the entrepreneurs who make American manufacturing great, and Elio Motors is bringing that innovative spirit to Shreveport. Louisiana Economic Development, Elio Motors, and the Caddo Parish officials who worked to make this project possible are to be highly commended for bringing life to the former GM plant and for offering new career opportunities for the people in our area. Well done.” 

“We are delighted and very proud Elio Motors will manufacture their new vehicle in Caddo Parish,” said Michael Thibodeaux, President of the Caddo Parish Commission. “This is a testament to the spirit of our community and the determination of our leaders who wouldn’t give up on this great facility that once provided the livelihood for so many of our neighbors. We look forward to welcoming the Elio team to our community.”

Elio Motors will receive an incentive package from Louisiana Economic Development. The Caddo Parish Commission also has pledged to work in good faith to undertake financing and support of this project.

Terms of the sale agreement were not disclosed. Closing is anticipated in the spring.

Production at the Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant ceased on August 28, 2012. GM produced more than 4.8 million vehicles, mostly light-duty pickup trucks, at the facility, which was among the properties the former General Motors Corp. relinquished as part of its 2009 bankruptcy proceedings. The “new” General Motors had continued operations at the Shreveport plant under a lease with the RACER Trust, which was created by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in 2011 to take ownership of properties at 89 former GM locations in 14 states.

The Shreveport Assembly and Stamping Plant will be the 25th former General Motors property sold since the RACER Trust was established in March 2011. Total sales proceeds thus far have exceeded $27 million.

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About RACER Trust: The RACER (Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response) Trust was created to clean up and position for redevelopment properties and other facilities owned by the former General Motors Corp. before its 2009 bankruptcy. RACER is one of the largest holders of industrial property in the United States and is the largest environmental response and remediation trust in U.S. history. When the Trust was formed, it owned properties at 89 locations in 14 states, principally in the Midwest and Northeast. The Trust, which is independent, was created by a settlement agreement in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court between the U.S. Government, the 14 states where the former GM properties are located, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, which owns land adjoining one of the properties in Upstate New York.

About Elio Motors: Founded by car enthusiast Paul Elio in 2008, Elio Motors Inc. represents a revolutionary approach to manufacturing an ultra-high-mileage vehicle. The three-wheeled Elio will attain a highway mileage rating of more than 80 mpg while providing the comfort of power windows and air conditioning, accompanied by the safety of multiple air bags and an aerodynamic, enclosed vehicle body. Elio’s first manufacturing site will be in Shreveport, La., with plans for the first production vehicle to roll off assembly lines in 2014 and significant production, sales and distribution of the Elio during the next two years. For more information, visit www.eliomotors.com.