General Motors actually turned down a private offer to keep the Lordstown Ohio plant making Chevrolet Cruze compact cars, according to a new report.
The Chevy Cruze is dead. The last car rolled off the line at GM’s Lordstown plant on March 6th, 2019. With the last Cruze completed, 4,500 GM employees were out of work with no future vehicles to produce.
However, it didn’t have to be this way. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, General Motors executives actually turned down a private business proposal that would have kept the plant operating for several years.
The offer came from one Bernie Moreno, the owner of a large car dealership network with dozens of operations across the country. Moreno sells everything from Lotus sports cars to Rolls-Royce luxury cars to GMC pickups, but he was looking to get into more than just selling cars.
Moreno aspired to be the next Uber by creating his own fleet of ride-hailing service vehicles. To equip his fleet, Moreno offered to buy between 150,000 to 180,000 Chevrolet Cruzes straight from GM. Moreno would then create a software app and hire drivers around the globe to start offering transportation.
The offer came just after GM announced the discontinuation of the Cruze and closure of the Lordstown plant. This would have kept two shifts operating and saved 3,000 jobs, but when the plan went before the desk of GM CEO Mary Barra, she rejected the deal "after considering the economics of it.”
"We would consider any that are truly viable business opportunities," said GM spokesman Dan Flores. "To be clear, under the terms of the UAW-GM National Agreement, the ultimate future of the unallocated plants will be resolved between GM and the UAW."
GM offered no further comment other than to say they have already moved 1,000 employees to other plants across the US. Moreno declined to comment, citing a non-disclosure agreement.