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Nixed Chevrolet Cruze deal reportedly could have kept Lordstown assembly plant alive

A private buyer envisioned an Uber-like Cruze ride-sharing fleet

According to reports from The Vindicator and the Detroit Free Press, General Motors turned down a private business proposal that could have potentially kept Chevrolet Cruze production at the Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant going for several years to come. Bernie Moreno, the owner of a car dealership conglomerate, had offered to buy 150,000 to 180,000 Cruzes as part of a plan to start his own ride-sharing company. The deal was nixed, and the Lordstown plant idled in early March.

As part of a restructuring, General Motors announced at the end of 2018 that it was shutting down operations at several production plants and cutting thousands of jobs. The Lordstown plant, which built the now-defunct Chevrolet Cruze, was one of the hardest-hit locations, as it has been an Ohio staple for decades. Although GM has found new jobs for some of the affected workers, the new positions mostly require major moves to new states or cities.

Moreno, who owns GM, Rolls-Royce, Lotus, and Mercedes-Benz dealerships, had a plan that could have kept all of the Ohio workers in Ohio. He reportedly met with GM in December 2018 and offered to buy the Cruzes throughout the next few years with the condition that the cars were built at Lordstown. The deal potentially could have kept two shifts at the plant going, but GM CEO Mary Barra and her team reportedly did not see it as a viable financial option. Moreno did not comment for either article.

For full details on the deal, Moreno's company, and how it was shut down, read the full reports on The Vindicator and the Detroit Free Press.

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