Elio Motors will invest more than $100 million to assemble and manufacture 3-wheel vehicles at the former General Motors plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, creating an estimated 1,500 jobs by late 2015.
Its facility will occupy approximately 1-million square feet of the more than 3-million square foot former GM plant site. Industrial developer Stuart Lichter, who has acquired other former GM sites, will buy the 530-acre Shreveport site in conjunction with Elio Motors and lease portions of the site to other tenants.
Elio is purchasing the GM plant from the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response Trust, known as the RACER Trust. RACER is an independent trust created by a U.S. Bankruptcy Court settlement agreement to redevelop former GM locations.
Louisiana economic development officials said the firm will produce enclosed, three-wheeled vehicles capable of attaining a highway mileage rating of more than 80 mpg. Targeting a retail cost of $6,800, the company will position the Elio vehicle as a cost-effective alternative to four-wheeled autos. The Elio will be equipped with three airbags, power windows and air conditioning as standard features, company officials said. Models will be available with automatic or manual transmission.
“We are extremely pleased and excited to be part of the Shreveport community, and we feel that Shreveport will be the perfect home for Elio Motors,” said Elio Motors President and CEO Paul Elio. “We purchased the plant in Shreveport because of 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.”
“This is a watershed moment for the people of Northwest Louisiana, for Elio Motors and for the RACER Trust,” said RACER Trustee Elliott P. Laws. “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."
Gov. 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.”
As an incentive Louisiana Economic Development provided Elio Motors with incentive package that includes the new Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive and LED FastStart, the state’s workforce development program.
The Competitive Projects Payroll Incentive will provide annual, performance-based payroll rebates of 13 percent for each qualifying job for the first 10 years of operations; these rebates will be provided following the completion of each project year after actual payroll for each year is verified. In addition, the company is expected to utilize Louisiana’s Industrial Tax Exemption Program incentive. The Caddo Parish Commission also is negotiating potential incentives to support Elio’s redevelopment of the former GM site.