Shreveport’s shuttered General Motors plant will soon be the home of start-up auto company Elio Motors Inc., Gov. Bobby Jindal’s office announced Thursday. The Phoenix-based “ultra-high mileage” car manufacturer acquired the plant under terms negotiated by a trust set up to redevelop former GM locations.
Elio Motors’ three-wheel, “ultra-high mileage” cars, available beginning in mid-2014, are available in seven colors, including sour apple, creamsicle, licorice and marshmallow.
According to the governor’s office, the Louisiana Department of Economic Development (LED) offered the company a 13 percent payroll rebate as well as an abatement of local property taxes on Elio’s new investment and additions to the plant site, both for up to 10 years. The Caddo Parish Commission is also expected to provide incentives.
Elio acquired the plant from the Revitalizing Auto Communities Environmental Response (RACER) Trust, an independent trust created by a bankruptcy settlement agreement to redevelop shuttered GM locations.
Local politicians from both sides of the aisle lauded the move, which will bring 1,500 jobs to the area over the next two years, each with an average salary of $47,000. The company also pledged to make a capital investment in excess of $100 million.
“This plant is very, very good for the area and for the people living in the area,” Senator Gregory Tarver, D-Shreveport, said of the project, funded by Elio and industrial developer Stuart Lichter.
“We are pleased to see a prominent business coming into the area and filling the gap left when GM closed,” State Rep. Jim Morris, R-Oil City, added, noting “Elio Motors will bring us much needed jobs and resources.”
Governor Jindal said the project, along with others recently announced, shows the state is living up to its commitment to pursue new projects in Northwest Louisiana after the loss of GM.
“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,” Jindal said.
With a retail cost of around $6,800, the first Elio is slated to roll off the assembly line in July 2014. Hiring will begin in the second quarter of 2014.
Developer Lichter highlighted the good terms of the deal, noting the fact that the plant and machinery are still in top-notch shape and can be reused by Elio saves them “a tremendous amount of capital.”
Renovation of the facility will begin soon with protoypes of the Elio cars arriving soon afterward. Although the cars cannot yet be purchased, those interested can reserve theirs today on the company’s website.