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Startup Elio Motors Doesn't Get To Buy Ex-GM Plant After All


Elio Motors 84 mpg 3-wheeler [Image: Elio Motors]

Elio Motors 84 mpg 3-wheeler [Image: Elio Motors]

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Elio Motors’ tiny three-wheeled, 84-mpg vehicle already has a significant following, but before Elio can turn those fans into buyers, it needs to secure a place to build it.

Startup company Elio intends to build cars in a disused General Motor assembly plant in Shreveport, Louisiana, but over the past few weeks, that plant’s future has been up in the air.

The plant’s current owner, RACER Trust, reportedly threatened to bring in the wrecking ball, which led the Caddo Parish Commissioners to vote for a $7.5 million purchase of the former GM plant by the local government.

Elio Motors’ intended home is thus safe--but the startup does not own it.

According to KSLA News (via Gas2), Caddo Parish is just as interested in the plant’s scrap value as the RACER Trust.

A commissioner said the buildings’ steel and copper justified the amount of taxpayer money invested in saving the plant. Although Caddo Parish did not purchase the plant for the purpose of housing Elio Motors, the new situation does benefit the company.

In the short term, the plant will remain intact and Elio Motors will have a chance to put its business plan into action.

Industrial Realty Group (IRG), property developer that specializes in old GM plants, will take over management of the site. Elio Motors is to lease a third of the space in the plant to produce cars.

Under the agreement between IRG and Caddo Parish, Elio Motors will be guaranteed access to the plant for 30 months, and IRG will invest $7.5 million in the carmaker.

According to Elio’s financials, its 3-Wheeler is set to go on sale in 2014, so it could potentially make enough of a mark in that 30-month period to negotiate for a permanent home in Louisiana.

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