Will Caddo Parish Demolish the Elio Motors Factory?


GM Shreveport Plant

It looked like the would-be carmakers at Elio Motors scored a slam-dunk victory a few weeks ago, when Caddo parish commissioners voted 11:1 in favor of using $7.5 million of taxpayer money to fund the purchase of the old GM Shreveport assembly plant. At first. Reports out of Caddo parish in Louisiana this week, however, might indicate that the 11:1 vote was less a comment on the commission’s faith in Elio’s 3-wheeled, Geo Metro-powered commuter and more a smart bet on copper futures.

Caddo Parish District 4 Commissioner Matthew Linn says the assembly plant purchase was motivated by a RACER Trust (aka “old GM”) deadline. “What RACER Trust did was they threatened us to tear down the building for scrap value,” explains Linn. According to Linn, RACER Trust made it clear that demolishing the facility was indeed a possibility if the commission didn’t sign on the dotted line when they did. “We believed them.”

In a local, KSLA news interview, Linn described the $7.5 million dollar purchase of the plant as a good deal. “Scrap value on the building was, two months ago, eight million forty thousand (dollars), and the price of copper has skyrocketed since then. So, it’s worth more than that now.”

The Caddo parish commission has handed operational control of the plant not to Elio Motors, as initially believed, but to Industrial Realty Group, IRG, and its president Stuart Lichter. IRG has a proven track record with GM plants, and its website touts the company’s ability to “manage all aspects of the real estate process, from acquisition through development, asset management and disposition.”

IRG will be charged with managing the entire Shreveport commercial complex, and intends to find other companies to lease the remaining space at the facility as a “first priority”. Elio Motors, for its part, will have a portion of the commercial space “reserved” for 30 mothns, while Elio Motors’ business plan unfolds and, it should be said, the price of scrap copper on the open market continues to climb. It’s also worth noting that, if Elio raises enough funding to follow through with its business plan, the Caddo parish agreement with IRG would see the real estate company investing $7.5 million into Elio.

As I read that, IRG is betting $7.5 million against Elio Motors getting their act together in the next 30 months. Still, the big winners here are – hopefully! – the people of Caddo parish, who should see a solid return on their 7.5 million tax-dollars, regardless of what happens with Elio, IRG, or RACER Trust. Good on them!


Source | Photos: IRG, KSLA News, NOLA.com.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • For-real

    What is your hang-up with Eliomotors? This is close to a maladaptive obsession.

    • Hang up? You do realize this is news, right? Pretty much anything that happens involving old GM, tax dollars, DOE loans, and a car thing being marketed as a high-mpg vehicle set to change the face of American motoring is a big deal, and failing to cover every possible angle would be- well, I’d call it bad.

      If you don’t like what the numbers say, what the Caddo commissioners say, or what the parish really plans to do with the plant, then take it up with them.

      • Paul Kuehnel

        Although Mr. Borras and I don’t see many things the same way, I actually like the “news” updates. When I sift through his words of wishful Elio demise, there is something new said. At very least, I can research from there if I want. I wish anything! new would appear in the Google News (where I am linking from) aside from the moronic 10 minute fluff pieces by TV stations running out to an Elio meet and greet and reading off the press release. Starting any new car company is nearly impossible today. There will be alot more creative means to an end before this is all over…or production starts. So thanks for any kind of update Mr. Borras

        • We don’t have to agree to both realize that, however Elio’s drama unfolds, it will impact a whole LOT of people.

  • C Wilson

    How these articles are written, it sounds like Borras is trying to get revenge from Elio for stealing his GI Joe action figures as a kid. In his articles, he has a valid point, but it is hard to find in all the whining.

    • GJPinks

      It wasn’t GI Joe, it was his collectors set of Smurfs.

      • You guys are both wrong, it was my limited-edition Vespa Barbie that came out when they introduced the ET bikes! That said, bitching and whining is what I do best. Thanks for noticing.


  • Matt Silver

    The author Joe is a paid for pump by GM, Ford, etc. IMO. Don’t listen to even ONE word he says because it is total BS. There will be others that follow him. This is the sad BS type of country we live in. Paid pumps.

    • The commenter Matt Silver is a paranoid nutjob. Read EVERY word this conspiracy believer posts, because it is hysterical!

      I’m sure he’ll be willing to pump you for free on his way out of the country, too, if the tone of his comment is to be believed. LOL!

  • jojo

    Monroe has a smaller old GM plant not being used maybe Elio could start there.

    • kaonut

      It would be a real waste to scrap a perfectly good car plant right when the automotive industry is picking up steam.

      • I agree with that, but the question of whether or not the plant is profitable is an issue. In its heyday, the plant produced 300,000 vehicles per year, but was still shuttered. Meanwhile, Ford is importing vans from Turkey and Chevys are being built in Korea.

    • The question is whether or not the people of Monroe are willing to put money into Elio’s company. Maybe he figured Shreveport’s residents would be either more able to gamble on him, or more willing to. Regardless, it’s good to know that, for once, it doesn’t look like the people of Louisiana will be the ones getting the shaft.

  • Kent

    It sounds like IRG is a betting $7.5M on ELIO succeeding, not against ELIO as the article states. Jo does sound like she is PMSing a little.

    • Roger Eller

      It would also appear that Jo didn’t complete his journalistic research before speculating what Stuart Lichter, President of IRG intends to do with the GM plant. Look at Elio Motors board of directors, and you will find none other than Mr. Stuart Lichter.

  • Olivia Heartelly

    I for one praise the organization for attempting to present another and inventive product to the industry. I would love to have one and for the value they are asking it is cheaper than a cruiser with all the security and comfort of an auto.

  • Lex

    Ain’t going to happen. The big three B3 mafia will shut him down through
    the politicians, and their twat hacks like borrass. The only way anything like this will be built, is when
    B3 CEO’s and their major shareholders end up dead.

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